Annie backers all set for Aintree power play

Annie backers all set for Aintree power play
Annoe Power pictured with trainer Willie Mullins.

Annie Power can supplement her emotional and brilliant Cheltenham Festival victory with another major success in the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle.

Having only entered the Champion Hurdle reckoning after last year's winner and stable companion Faugheen suffered injury, the eight-year-old played the role of super-sub perfectly, dominating her rivals from the front and leaving the usually unflappable Ruby Walsh fighting back the tears.

She faces a number of the same rivals on her first visit to Merseyside, but is fancied to confirm her superiority.

While it has only been a shade over three weeks since her tremendous display at Prestbury Park, she comes here fresher than most having only had one previous run this season and that was no more than an exercise gallop against a couple of vastly inferior rivals at Punchestown.

My Tent Or Yours ran a fantastic race to finish second in the Champion Hurdle on his first start in almost two years and should also be fresh, but whether he will be as effective over this extra half-mile is questionable, whereas Annie Power will relish the extra distance.

Champion Hurdle third and fourth Nichols Canyon and The New One have both had tough enough seasons and it is hard to see them reversing Cheltenham form with Willie Mullins' brilliant mare.

Cue Card can atone for his costly exit in the Cheltenham Gold Cup with victory in the Betfred Bowl.

Cue Card.
Cue Card.

Colin Tizzard's star chaser was on the trail of a £1million bonus in the blue riband following tremendous displays in the Betfair Chase at Haydock and the King George VI Chase at Kempton, and he was certainly not done with when coming to grief three fences from the finish.

Whether he would have beaten the ultimately impressive Don Cossack we will never know, particularly with many suggesting before the Festival the famous hill at the end of a punishing three and a quarter miles could prove too much.

There are no such worries this time, with the flatter terrain sure to play to his strengths.

As long as his Gold Cup fall has not left a physical or mental mark, Cue Card looks difficult to oppose.

Garde La Victoire gets the nod in the first race of the three-day meeting, the Merseyrail Manifesto Novices' Chase.

Sent off co-favourite for the JLT at Cheltenham, he was far from out of it when he came down four out.

Rain will certainly not hinder his chance, quite the opposite in fact, as the more of a test it is the better.

Triumph Hurdle hero Ivanovich Gorbatov can follow up in the Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle, while On The Fringe can successfully defend his crown in the Crabbie's Fox Hunters' Chase.

Minella Present is fancied to go well in the Betfred Red Rum Handicap Chase on his first start since November.

Meanwhile, the Mullins-trained Augusta Kate, seventh when heavily backed for the Champion Bumper, should get back on the winning trail back against her own sex in the Goffs Nickel Coin Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

Emerging Talent rates the best bet at Taunton in the Porter Dodson Novices' Hurdle.

Hakam looks a solid pick to break his duck in the totewin Beat SP 2015 National Maiden Stakes at Chelmsford.

Two runs on turf last season showed he has ability and he was unlucky not to win on the last of those two starts at Newmarket, finding a gap difficult to come by when needed.

Presumably he has had one or two problems since that run in April, but he sets the standard on those efforts and should be hard to beat if sufficiently ready.

Hakam's rider Paul Hanagan can double up courtesy of Altarsheed for Richard Hannon in the totewin Beat SP Last 4 Nationals Handicap.

Hannon is among the winners already this season and the selection looked a reasonable project for handicaps heading into winter quarters after an easy win at Lingfield in September, having been five lengths behind leading Derby candidate Foundation on the first of his three juvenile starts.

Moonshine Ridge must be hard to beat in the totetrifecta Pick The 1, 2, 3 Handicap at Southwell.

Alan Swinbank's five-year-old acts particularly well on Fibresand and saw out a mile and three-quarters strongly at the Nottinghamshire circuit last week in an amateur riders' event.

He has a 6lb penalty but should relish this first try at two miles on the all-weather.

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