Annie Power surges to Grade One success at Fairyhouse
ANNIE POWER stretched her unbeaten run to seven with a superb display in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final.
The Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old had beaten male opponents when running out a most impressive winner of a Grade Two at Naas in February, meaning she was the 4-11 favourite for a race which was this year given Grade One status.
Ruby Walsh settled her at the rear of the six-runner field for much of the two-and-a-half-mile journey, but she pulled her way to the front still full of running rounding the home bend.
Stable companion Glens Melody did her best to keep tabs on Annie Power in the straight, but was simply not in the same league as Walsh's mount stretched clear for a 12-length win.
She is being quoted as an 8/1 chance for next year's Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Mullins said: "She is what I said she could be, but I still don't know how good she is. She might go for the Grade One (mares' hurdle) at Punchestown.
"She's starting to show what she shows at home. She's a good mare and keeps improving. She could be anything. I don't know how much is left in the tank.
"She did it so easy. Ruby said she idled a bit in front. I didn't think two and a half miles would be a problem, but I didn't think it would bring about the improvement she showed.
"She could easily come back in trip. It looked a slow pace. The faster it got the better she got and the better her jumping got.
"I loved her the first day I saw Patrick (Mullins, son) ride her in a bumper. I was taken with her size and scope and she had a lovely pedigree. I thought she could go the whole way.
"I set about buying her. It took a bit of work to prise her off Jim Bolger, but he's not too interested in jumping so that made the job easier.
"Quevega is a lovely placid mare, but this mare acts more like a racemare and is more hyperactive."