Annie Power to return to full training after Christmas

Willie Mullins expects Annie Power to return to full training following the busy Christmas period after scans revealed her injuries were not as bad as first feared.

Annie Power to return to full training after Christmas

The top-class mare was declared to make her reappearance in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday, but was found to be lame on Friday and was immediately withdrawn from the Grade One contest.

The champion trainer feared the six-year-old could have suffered a possible stress fracture, which would have meant eight to 10 weeks box rest. Mullins said: “Annie (Power) will walk until Christmas and be checked again and then hopefully be back to full training.

“(There is) no fracture. Just a stress reaction.”

Owned by Rich Ricci, Annie Power lost her unbeaten record when second to More Of That in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, before bouncing back at Punchestown.

Mullins is hopeful she will return to Prestbury Park in March and has not ruled out giving her a prep run.

He said: “We hope to make it (to Cheltenham). If we can we will run before.”

Meanwhile Cheltenham Festival winner Spring Heeled is having his campaign built around the 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National.

The seven-year-old clinched the Kim Muir at the big meeting in March, a little under 24 hours before stable companion Lord Windermere claimed Gold Cup glory to give trainer Jim Culloty a Festival double from only two runners.

Culloty won the National in 2002 on Bindaree and believes Spring Heeled has all the right credentials – as long as the ground is not soft.

“He’s in brilliant order but he’s not a winter horse,” Culloty said.

“He ran in the Bet365 Gold Cup but it had rained and then we trained him for the Galway Plate where he finished fourth and arguably he should have been second but he was squeezed up on the final bend. He wouldn’t have beaten the winner (Road To Riches), but it was a good, solid run.

“We have set our stall out for the Grand National, that’s our main aim with him this year.

“He had a break after Galway but has been back in training now a few weeks. He’s in super order, he’ll possibly have a run over hurdles around February, he probably won’t run over fences until the National weights are out.

“I can see him as a National horse. He’s almost an idle type of horse which allows him to stay very well and he has that little bit of class that’s required.

“He’s very athletic over his obstacles but there is one key, he just will not act on soft ground.

“If it turns up soft in April we’ll just have to abandon our plan for another year but on good ground I can see him taking to it.”

* Tony Martin’s Bog Warrior has been handed top weight for the valuable Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown on December 27.

A total of €190,000 is on offer and Martin, who last won the money in 2007 with Newbay Prop has four other possibles with Sraid Padraig (11st), Gallant Oscar (10st 7lb), Wrong Turn (9st 9lb) and Living Next Door (10st 4lb) all entered. Gallant Oscar is one of three 12-1 co-favourites with the sponsors.

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