WE often learn little from the post-racing schooling at Leopardstown on the second last Sunday before Cheltenham, but it was a horse who wasn't even present that made the headline news yesterday as Willie Mullins confirmed that, "at the moment", Annie Power will run in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
The debate of where the unbeaten mare will run at the Cheltenham Festival has been one of the main talking points surrounding the National Hunt season and she now looks set to go three miles for the first time and take on Big Buck's in the process. Mullins said: "All going well, Ruby (Walsh) is probably going to ride Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle, Quevega in the Mares Hurdle and Annie Power in the World Hurdle.
"I just had a good chat with my owners and, at the moment, that's the way it looks and I think we are all happy on that score."
Annie Power is unbeaten in 10 racecourse starts and is a winner over 2m4f around Cheltenham after landing a conditions event on soft ground there on New Year's Day and she was last seen at Doncaster at the end of January, winning over 2m.
Walsh rode both Champagne Fever and Ballycasey yesterday – ahead of their intended assignments in the Arkle and the RSA respectively – and, while the former impressed, the latter was a faller at the fourth-last fence.
"Ballycasey is okay – he gained a bit of experience I suppose!" Mullins said.
The trainer won the RSA Chase with Rule Supreme in 2004 and he too failed to complete when taking in a schooling session prior to that triumph.
"Rule Supreme unseated here and it wasn't an exhibition the day he came! I'm very happy with all of them here today. It went well and it was just an exercise to get a round of jumping in.
"Ballycasey was just going so well that he landed the far side of it and knuckled over on landing and he did his best to stand up. It was just an inexperienced horse's fall as he went along in between horses, I think. He just went back to jump the last fence then."
Mullins added: "Himself (Ballycasey) and Djakadam were upsides with David Casey on Boston Bob a half-a-length behind and he probably just got racing a bit early. Hopefully it'll be alright in the long run and that he's fine in the morning."
Of the Racing Post Arkle favourite, Champagne Fever, Mullins said: "Champagne Fever jumped from fence to fence and Ruby said he was absolutely brilliant and he was very, very pleased with him."
A decision on Gold Cup entry Boston Bob is yet to be made with the nine-year-old schooling over fences yesterday but also holding a World Hurdle entry, while Djakadam is another who is not certain to make the journey across.
"David (Casey) was happy with him. He missed a bit of time and he would have needed that badly and he will need two more good bits of work before we decide if we are going to go or not with him. We will see what he's like in the next nine days.
"Djakadam was sort of on my 'B' team because of his lack of experience and I'll have to have a chat with my owner and Ruby and see what else we have. My fear is that he could lack experience going over there, but I think he is a horse with a huge future. We have a lot of thinking to do about him."