She Got The Power!
Mares Champion Hurdle
Saturday’s card on the final day of Punchestown 2015 looks an absolute belter, featuring numerous stars of the jumps scene – one of whom is Annie Power, who bids to follow-up last year’s victory in the Mares Champion Hurdle over 2m2f (3.50).
Annie Has The Power
Willie Mullins’ 7yo has been a great servant to the yard over the past few seasons, landing her second Grade 1 in this race last year, before a belated reappearance at Cheltenham. It wasn’t to be a winning return, though, as having looked all over the winner when 4l clear at the last, she uncharacteristically fell.
Punters will be hoping that was a one-off, as she looked like her usual self prior to crashing down with Ruby Walsh, though some may point out that having won her first seven races over hurdles, she has now lost two of her last three. At odds of 1/5, there will be plenty putting her in doubles, trebles and accumulators, but others may be on the hunt for some each-way value.
Katie or Annie?
Kevin Prendergast’s, Katie T, could be the one that each-way backers turn to, as she was a Grade 3 winner last spring, before getting to within 10l of Annie Power in this race 12 months ago. There has been slight improvement since too, having won the valuable Boylesports Hurdle back in January, prior to a comfortable win on the Flat a few weeks ago.
Katie T has no questions to answer in terms of form, wellbeing and conditions, and while she will need to improve if beating a “back-to-form” Annie Power, she looks well priced at 7/1.
Big Priced Winner?
Elsewhere, Annie Power’s stablemate, Analifet (12/1), has a bit to find with the favourite as she is 21lb wrong at the weights, and is winless in six outings this season. Third to Dedigout in a Grade 2 a month ago (2m4f, soft), she is capable of making the frame if on song.
It’s hard to see beyond the main protagonists, with Jessica Harrington’s, Rock On The Moor (12/1), a winner of a decent 2m4f here in February, prior to being outclassed in a Grade 1 at Fairyhouse the best of the remainder. Others making up the numbers include Jennies Jewel (33/1), Pass The Time (66/1) and Kalane (66/1).
Annie Power is obviously the class act and most likely winner, but having lost two of her last three races, odds of 1/5 may not tempt some, so a forecast with Katie T could be the answer.