Power sets sail for Cheltenham

  • Last Updated: December 30 2013, 14:35 GMT

Annie Power is on the boat to Cheltenham from Ireland with a view to running at Cheltenham on Wednesday in the Dornan Engineering Hurdle.

Annie Power: Set to run at Cheltenham
Annie Power: Set to run at Cheltenham

The six year old is unbeaten in eight starts under Rules and comfortably dispatched Zarkandar at Ascot on her most recent outing. Among the possible opponents in the two and a half mile contest on New Year's Day are the exciting - and also unbeaten - More Of That as well as Zarkandar and former smart Flat stayer Whispering Gallery.

  • Profiles

Mullins, however, has every faith in his mare and is looking forward to the challenge telling At The Races: "We think she's very good, she'll probably have this run on Wednesday and that will tell us a lot. It will be good to have a spin around Cheltenham. She's done everything that she's been asked so far."

Annie Power also has an alternative entry for Sandown Park on Saturday.

It has been a typically busy Christmas period for Ireland's Champion Trainer and he expressed himself satisfied with the performances of Rubi Ball and Sir Des Champs in the Lexus Chase.

The pair finished third and fourth behind Bobs Worth but Rubi Ball, a smart performer in France, left behind a disappointing debut for the yard while the run was effectively Sir Des Champs' first of the season following his early departure in the John Durkan Memorial Chase.

"I was very pleased with Sir Des Champs and I'm hoping that he'll come on a lot," Mullins revealed.

"He has to get back up to last year's form. Bobs Worth has beaten him every way now and is going to be hard to peg back at Cheltenham, but there's a lot of water to go under the bridge before then and who knows what's going to happen.

"Rubi Ball probably needs more of a test of stamina and very soft ground. The Gold Cup is a possibility, he'll certainly get an entry in it. The Irish Hennessy would be somewhere to run but he looks like he's well capable of taking up an entry in any of those Grade One staying chases and he could get an entry in the Grand National," he added.

There is a wealth of talent at Mullins' yard and he is looking forward to seeing two of his inmates back in action at Punchestown on Tuesday in the Follow Punchestown on Facebook Hurdle.

"This ground is very heavy and Boston Bob will probably need that. Mourad is in the same race and the two of them are coming back from breaks. I want to get them back on the track and see what they're able to do and see which direction we're going to heading into the spring," he said.

Boston Bob won his first two starts over fences before falling in Grade One contests at Cheltenham and Punchestown and Mullins wasn't ruling out the possibility that the eight year old could remain over hurdles this season.

"His owner would be happy with that [the World Hurdle] and I'd be happy with that if we had one good enough to go there with a chance."

Mullins also had news of two more of the big names in the yard with the promising young novice Briar Hill and stable stalwart Quevega.

Quevega is on target to attempt to break Golden Miller's record of successive wins in the same contest in the OLBG Mares Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March and her trainer revealed that she is already back in work.

"We got Quevega in a week earlier and I've just started doing a little bit more work with her than we'd normally do with her because a lot of ours have come in so big and so strong this year," he said.

"We'll want to get stuck into her a bit quicker this year. When they get a bit older you need to do that as well."

Providing everything goes according to plan, she will be joined on the trip to Prestbury Park by Weatherbys Champion Bumper winner Briar Hill and Mullins believes that the promising youngster is right out of the top drawer.

"He is a real top-notcher," Mullins commented. "You saw that last year at Cheltenham and nothing has got near him over here in his couple of runs so far. Maybe he won't improve any more but if he does, he looks a really good horse."


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