Annie Power to prove she’s out of this World

Annie Power versus Big Buck’s promises one of the great battles of the week in the Ladbrokes’ World Hurdle at Cheltenham this afternoon.

Four times the mighty Big Buck’s has won this race and it almost pains you to desert him.

But, like Hurricane Fly on Tuesday, time is not on his side and he faces a difficult task attempting to concede 7lbs and five years to the mare.

Big Buck’s has had his problems of late, but made a perfectly satisfactory return to racing at Cheltenham in January when a close third behind Knockara Beau and At Fishers Cross.

He tired somewhat from the back of the final flight, but that was perfectly understandable, following a long lay-off.

The 11-year-old has always been a tough, rugged customer and it is unlikely will go down without making a real fight of it.

But in Annie Power, however, he may be taking on something special and there is no disguising the confidence behind her in the Willie Mullins camp.

The bottom line is that she is ten from ten and we have to be with her, until knowing otherwise.

If there is a candidate capable of spoiling the party then it is surely the durable At Fishers Cross, if his jumping holds up.

Mullins can also supply the answer to the JLT Novices’ Chase with Felix Yonger, who will love the rapidly drying surface.

A superb jumper, he was found out by the testing conditions in January when beaten by Trifolium at Leopardstown.

But that bare form is rock solid, considering Trifolium ran a cracker behind Western Warhorse and Champagne Fever in the Arkle here on Tuesday.

The Ryanair Chase may be best left to the Paul Nicholls-trained Al Ferof, another who will enjoy the ground.

He was no match for Harry Topper in the heavy at Newbury last time, but loves this track, having won three times around here, including the 2011 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and 2012 Paddy Power Gold Cup.

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