Annie Power is out of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. She suffered a leg injury last night and Willie Mullins said his star mare will not be ready to defend her Champion Hurdle crown on March 14.
Mullins is not sure if Annie Power might be back in time to run at the Punchestown Festival in April, but he said the injury is unrelated to the one that kept her out of action for almost a year in 2014 and 2015.
Faugheen is now Mullins’ big Champion Hurdle hope and he is due to run at Leopardstown on Sunday.
This injury to Annie Power is the latest blow to Mullins in a season in which he has lost Vautour and the highly promising Avant Tout and also seen the Gigginstown horses taken out of his Closutton stable.
It is coincidental that he was weaned in a county where winning titles is less of a big deal than failure to do so. There are parallels, however, in Willie Mullins' quest for a tenth successive trainers' gong and Kilkenny's failed push for five in a row and so on.