ANNIE POWER will prove an easier prospect to get fit for her first run of the season at Cheltenham compared to her former illustrious stable-mate Quevega according to trainer Willie Mullins.
With the Mares Hurdle her target at the moment, Mullins will be looking to win the race for a seventh year in a row and suggested that should she meet with no more setbacks from now until Cheltenham that she could be in better shape than Quevega was going there to win.
"She's in great form and it's so far so good," Mullins said yesterday. "The difference between the two would be that I would have normally had Quevega ready a good while before the Festival but as I missed December with Annie Power she will have to keep doing everything right to get there in the position that I want her in."
He added; "Quevega was very laid back and Annie Power is much different - more like a typical racehorse I suppose.
"Any time you do work with Annie Power it is proper work whereas Quevega might work and need to work again a few days later but Annie Power can't afford to miss a day.
"There was times I would have taken the rugs off Quevega in Cheltenham and thought she looked a big and might need a run but if Annie Power doesn't miss another day I expect her to be bang on over there."
Despite wearing a hood at home lately, Mullins feels that Annie Power is unlikely to wear it at Cheltenham next month.
He also revealed that Saturday's win of reigning Champion Chase winner Sire De Grugy's at Chepstow was one of the only Cheltenham trial races that he would watch without having a runner in the race.
The champion trainer who is readying 50 of his own horses for Cheltenham, admitted that he "hates" watching racing reruns and "very seldom" watches races that he doesn't have runners in although he did catch the impressive performance of Sire De Grugy.
However, the trainer also insisted that the impressive display of Gary Moore's stable star wouldn't have any bearing on his own decision where to run Champagne Fever at Cheltenham and confirmed that a clash with Sire De Grugy and Sprinter Sacre in the Champion Chase remains most likely.
"I don't think Sire De Grugy's win is going to influence our decision," Mullins said.
"It'll be late on before we get down to decide which race Champagne Fever runs in but I imagine at the moment it looks more like the Champion Chase but whether we change our mind or not late on is another days work."
Mullins was unfortunately forced to rule Back In Focus out of Cheltenham following a freak accident yesterday morning just over a week after he made an encouraging return to action after almost two years on the sideline.
"Back In Focus got a fright in his box this morning and had an unfortunate run in with a door and is down in Fethard Equine Hospital where it looks like he has fractured a jaw and possibly more. It's a similar injury to the one suffered by Briar Hill in the fall at Cheltenham last year and I would imagine that he is very doubtful for Aintree too."