UNBEATED mare Annie Power is set to take her chance in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham next week with Ruby Walsh riding, it was revealed last night.
The six-year-old also holds entries in the Stan James Champion Hurdle and the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle, and her target at Prestbury Park has been the subject of speculation for many weeks. But, speaking after racing at Leopardstown yesterday, trainer Willie Mullins outlined the big staying prize on Thursday week as the intended destination for the Rich Ricci-owned daughter of Shirocco.
Mullins said: “All being well and, if everything goes right, Ruby will probably ride Hurricane Fly in the Champion, Quevega in the mares’ race and Annie Power in the stayers’ [World Hurdle]. We’ve had a good chat with the owners and, at that the moment, that’s the way it looks, they are all happy.”
Annie Power’s three outings this season have all come in Britain, with Walsh’s partner recording victories at Ascot, Cheltenham and, most recently, at Doncaster.
One of the top performer at the weekend was Night In Milan and, while the Grimthorpe Chase winner might not even end up in the Crabbie’s Grand National in April, trainer Keith Reveley is unlikely to be too downhearted.
After all, the eight-year-old well and truly had his day in the early spring sunshine at Doncaster on Saturday with a bold jumping performance which helped him take top honours.
Back on a sound surface, he set out to make the running but had Golden Call for company for much of the three and a quarter miles. However, from the third last he was in front on his own and he jumped superbly in the hands of the trainer’s son, James, as he saw off Storm Survivor and Renard by five lengths and a short head.
Night In Milan needs more than 30 horses to come out to get a run in the Aintree showpiece but Reveley snr said: “Personally I’d like to see him in the Topham this year and National next year. “He’s such a brilliant jumper. His owner Richard Collins is keen for him to jump the Aintree fences so we’ll see.”
Leading National fancy Monbeg Dude made good late headway to finish a satisfactory fifth in the race. His trainer Michael Scudamore said: “The dream is still alive.”
It was a red-letter day for the Reveleys, with Victor Hewgo (4-5 fav) booking his ticket to Aintree by easily disposing of his two rivals in the Park Hill Hospital Novices’ Chase.
“He’s a lovely horse and we may as well have a go at the Grade One at Aintree we won with Cab On Target [in 1993],” said Reveley.
Clever Cookie provided trainer Peter Niven with the biggest win of his training career in the £1.25million Scoop6 Premier Kelso Hurdle, while Maggio sprang a minor surprise in the Best Odds Guaranteed At totepool.com Premier Chase.
A relatively low-key Sunday saw Pass The Hat throw his cap into the ring for the Irish Grand National when holding the challenge of Kylecrue to capture the Carrickmines Handicap Chase at Leopardstown. Trainer Arthur Moore also saddled the 9-2 favourite Home Farm, but he weakened into seventh place as his second-string obliged. Pass The Hat (6-1) got the verdict by a length in the hands of Robbie Colgan after a terrific tussle that saw the pair take the last together, with He’llberemembered third.
2:40 Callisto Light
3.45 Russian Ice
4.45 Two In The Pink
5.45 Ladies Dancing
1.45 Super Duplex
2.15 No Refund
2.50 Role Reversal
4.55 Tizlove Regardless
2.00 Lord Navits
2.30 Galway Jack
3.00 Cloud Creeper (nap)
3.35 Hi Candy
5.05 Blue Heron