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Dornan Engineering Hurdle 2m 4f 110y

  • (4yo+, 2m 4f 110y, Class 2, 3 runners)
  • Winner £15,640 2nd £4,620 3rd £2,310 4th £1,155 5th £578 6th £290
  • Going: Soft, Heavy in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 5m 28.20s
  • Off time: 15:05:33
  • Last Updated: January 2 2014, 11:49 GMT

Annie Power extended her unbeaten sequence to nine victories without having to break sweat as she cruised to victory in the Cheltenham mud.

Annie Power (right) sees off Zarkandar (left) at Cheltenham
Annie Power (right) sees off Zarkandar (left) at Cheltenham

With early leader Empire Levant running out of petrol going to the second-last flight, Annie Power was left in front with sole remaining rival Zarkandar on her quarters.

The runner-up tried to throw down a challenge to the 2/5 winner on the run-in, but when Ruby Walsh shuffled the reins and asked her to go on again, the response was immediate and she went on to score by eight lengths.

Long-term plans remain open for the winner, but Sky Bet were sufficiently impressed with the performance to cut her odds for the Stanjames.com Champion Hurdle to 6/1 and for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle to 8/1.

Walsh said: "She's a very good mare, and was entitled to improve from her first run back at Ascot.

"She handled the ground and jumped very well, apart from a minor hiccup at the last.

  • It was wet and windy at Cheltenham for racegoers...
  • ...and conditions were particularly testing for the horses
  • Aubusson provided a shock in the opener...
  • ...to the delight of his rider, Lizzie Kelly
  • Sam Twiston-Davies shows just how much mud was flying at headquarters...
  • ...as Mendip Express continued to impress under Will Biddick.
  • Oscar Whisky and Taquin Du Seuil renewed rivalries in the Dipper Chase...
  • ...but Oscar Whisky powered up the hill to take victory.
  • Return Spring (left) got the better of a tenacious battle with Quartz De Thaix (right)
  • Pickamus and Cedre Bleu chase Double Ross in the Fairlawne Handicap...
  • ...and Double Ross lands a second Cheltenham contest inside 18 days.
  • Zarkandar and Annie Power fought out the Dornan Engineering Hurdle...
  • ...but Ruby Walsh was all smiles as the mare retained her unbeaten record.
  • The clean silks tell the story. Modus truly dotted up in the finale.
All the best images from New Year's Day at Cheltenham.

"Although this ground isn't easy on the eye, it's a pleasure to ride in and she appeared to enjoy it.

"If you look back, all the best horses go in the soft, look at Denman, Hurricane Fly and Kauto Star, they all handled those conditions.

"She's nine from nine now, and that's not an easy record to achieve. But from day one she has never been anything but very good."

Walsh would not be drawn on a likely target for Annie Power back in Cheltenham in March.

He said: "This trip (two and a half miles) is not a bother for her, but where she will run at the Festival is a decision for Willie and Willie only."

Sky Bet spokesman Michael Shinners commented: "It's obviously hard to know which way connections will go with Annie Power, but I suspect how Big Buck's fares in the Cleeve Hurdle could have a bearing on things. She's also still got the option of the OLBG David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle too."

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