Annie Power presence fails to scare off Nicky Henderson

Annie Power may have been supplemented for the Stan James Champion Hurdle but Nicky Henderson still intends to run all five of his entrants in Tuesday’s feature race.

Annie Power presence fails to scare off Nicky Henderson

Henderson said My Tent Or Yours is likely to be ridden by Barry Geraghty, with Mark Walsh on the fellow JP McManus-owned runner, Hargam.

Owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede will be represented by Peace And Co and Top Notch, but retained jockey Daryl Jacob has yet to pledge allegiances.

Nico de Boinville is expected to get the leg-up on whichever horse Jacob does not ride.

Andrew Tinkler will partner the other Henderson contender, Sign Of A Victory, who wears the same Matt and Laura Morgan colours the jockey carried to victory on Call The Cops in the Pertemps Final last year.

“Everyone is just sitting on the fence at the moment because of the weather,” said Henderson, who has won the Champion Hurdle a joint-record five times.

“I’d imagine Barry will ride My Tent Or Yours, which means Mark Walsh would be on Hargam.

“Andrew Tinker will almost certainly ride Sign Of A Victory, but as for the other two, we’re still not sure.

“Daryl will come and have a sit on them. Top Notch was out (Wednesday morning) and worked well. He’d love the ground (soft) to stay as it is, really.

“The softer ground wouldn’t inconvenience Peace And Co too much but he still has one more piece of work to do.

“Basically, Daryl will probably leave it late until he has to decide.”

Along with ante-post favourite Annie Power, Lil Rockerfeller was also added to the field at at yesterday’s six-day stage.

Lil Rockerfeller’s trainer Neil King and his group of owners have decided to take their chance in the Champion Hurdle following the five-year-old’s recent success in the Grade Two National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell.

“We entered him in the Coral Cup and the World Hurdle, but handicaps are out now and he’s never run over three miles,” said King.

“I had a chat with the owners and they were excited by the idea, but we said we’d still head for the National Spirit as that had always been the plan.

“If he’d got beaten at Fontwell I’d have shot myself, but the manner of his victory was very impressive.

“He’s an improving, young horse and it’s so wide-open we have to have a go, also the yard is in such good form — from our last 11 runners we’ve had five winners and five seconds.

“Everyone tells you how hard it is for five-year-olds and by now I expected him to be running over three miles, but he just keeps on improving.”

The only horses taken out were the injured Willie Mullins duo of Faugheen and Arctic Fire and John Ferguson’s Purple Bay.

As well as Annie Power, Mullins could run Nichols Canyon and Sempre Medici, while Identity Thief for Henry de Bromhead adds to the Irish hand.

The home team is headed by The New One, having his third run in the race for Nigel Twiston-Davies.

Paul Nicholls’ Old Guard and Camping Ground for Robert Walford complete the 13-strong list.

Walford said of the latter: “It was a tough call between the two races (Champion Hurdle and World Hurdle) but you would probably be playing for second in the World Hurdle, whereas the Champion looks more open than in previous years.”

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox