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Punchestown

  • 15:45 Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Mares Champion Hurdle 2m 2f

  • (Grade 1) €100,000 added 4yo+ 5 ran
  • Winner €62,000 2nd €19,000 3rd €9,000 4th €3,000
  • Going: Good to Yielding
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 4m 24.50s
  • Off time: 15:46:43

Annie Power aiming for Punchestown prize

Last Updated: 02/05/14 1:38pm

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Annie Power: Aiming for Punchestown pot

Annie Power: Aiming for Punchestown pot

Annie Power aims to end her season on a high in Saturday's Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown after meeting with the first defeat of her career last month.

Willie Mullins' mare tackled three miles for the first time in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham as the trainer tried to keep his stars apart, with Hurricane Fly contesting the Champion Hurdle and Quevega winning the Mares' Hurdle.

Everything was going to plan as Ruby Walsh brought her to challenge At Fishers Cross at the final flight, but on her outside was another unbeaten youngster in Jonjo O'Neill's More Of That and he had too much for her up the hill.

She is back against her own sex tomorrow in what, on paper at least, appears a fairly straightforward task.

Mullins said: "She's fine. We worked her on Tuesday and I was very happy with her work."

Owner Rich Ricci came in for criticism in some quarters for not putting his foot down over Annie Power's Cheltenham target but he implied that she would only run where Ruby Walsh was available to ride her and it saved him having to make an awkward choice.

"A Grade One is a Grade One," said Ricci on At The Races.

"Part of the reason all my horses are with Willie is Ruby, I want him to ride them and as much as I love Paul (Townend), I want Ruby riding my horses.

"That means that if she had taken on Hurricane Fly or anything else in yard, it would have left Ruby in an awkward situation.

"I trust Willie and Ruby to come up with the best solution.

"I've always thought she would (jump a fence), but my wife would like her to remain over hurdles so we'll just have to see."

Mullins has also declared Glens Melody, who finished fourth in Thursday's Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle at Punchestown.

Florishwells D'Ete is a third runner for the yard.

Jennies Jewel and Katie T are the only other Irish runners, but Annie Power's main threat is likely to come from John Quinn's Cockney Sparrow.

She fell behind Annie Power at Doncaster earlier this season when looking beaten and met trouble in running at Cheltenham when only fifth behind Quevega.

However, she took a huge scalp on her latest start at Ayr when pouncing on Champion Hurdle runner-up My Tent Or Yours to win the Scottish Champion Hurdle.

"Whatever happens, she owes us absolutely nothing," said Quinn.

"People are telling us Annie Power is unbeatable so we'll just have to see what happens.

"She's already taken one big scalp this season.

"I've been very happy with her since Ayr and she's in good fettle so we may as well have a go."

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