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Friday 22 August 2014

Annie Power makes it 10-from-10 with facile Doncaster triumph

Keith Hamer

Published 25/01/2014 | 14:24

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Ruby Walsh riding Annie Power

Annie Power enhanced her Cheltenham Festival claims with an effortless win in the OLBG.com Doncaster Mares' Hurdle on Town Moor.

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The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old has the Champion Hurdle over two miles, the World Hurdle over three miles and even the OLBG Mares' race as potential options in March, and this was no more than a most impressive stroll.

Ruby Walsh set out to make every yard of the running on his only mount of the day and the giant mare gradually ground her rivals into submission.

While she was sent off at the prohibitive price of 1-6 favourite to oblige, she did have a smart rival in the shape of John Quinn's Cockney Sparrow, who had finished a three-length second in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle to My Tent Or Yours. However, she fell at the second-last.

Donald McCain's Doyly Carte was left in second but she was no match for Annie Power, who followed up wins at Ascot and Cheltenham this season in effortless style to take her career record to 10 out of 10, despite a minor blip at the last.

Walsh, who afforded himself a good look round on the run to the last, said: "She was a bit keen early on today but she travelled well all the way.

"You should never look because you know you've won and you get indecisive and that's what happened.

"She was very slick over her hurdles and she's just a very good mare. She's 10 from 10 and I'm glad to be riding her.

"Good horses aren't complicated, complicated ones don't tend to be good ones.

"If she's fit, sound healthy and well, the race (at Cheltenham) will pick itself. Getting there would be the big thing in my eyes."

Paddy Power left Annie Power unchanged at 7-2 for the World Hurdle and 7-1 for the Champion Hurdle.

RaceBets make her 3-1 to win any race at the Festival, with spokesman Joseph Burke saying: "Annie Power was tremendous at Doncaster again, showing her versatility as well as her class. She is a genuine prospect for the Champion Hurdle, Mares' Hurdle and the World Hurdle and while the former is surely the most likely option at this stage, plans still remain fluid, so we've tried to take some of the guesswork out of it for punters."

Djakadam completed a good few minutes for owner Rich Ricci and trainer Willie Mullins by winning the Boylesports Killiney Novice Chase at Leopardstown.

Just moments after star mare Annie Power stretched her unbeaten record to 10 at Doncaster, the five-year-old maintained his unbeaten record over fences by getting the better of Bright New Dawn.

Dessie Hughes' Bright New Dawn appeared to be holding the upper hand as the pair turned into the straight with Bryan Cooper less active in the saddle than Paul Townend.

However, as Djakadam (6-4 favourite) is only a five-year-old he was getting 11lb off his rivals and it told close home.

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