Annie Power is among 20 remaining entries for the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival next Tuesday.
For only the second time since its inception in 2008, Quevega will not be lining up after she created history winning six in a row 12 months ago. In her retirement, Willie Mullins appears to have a ready-made replacement in Annie Power, second in the World Hurdle last season. Mullins is also likely to run Glens Melody, narrowly beaten by Quevega last year. Leading the home charge is Nicky Henderson’s Polly Peachum, with Harry Fry having left in Bitofapuzzle - although the Dorset handler has repeatedly stated she will only run if the ground is soft. Carole’s Spirit, Centasia, Little King Robin, L’Unique and her Alan King-trained stablemate The Pirate’s Queen all remain in the mix.
* New Year’s Night hit the bar at Wolverhampton a couple of weeks ago but can make amends in the Download The Coral App Handicap back at Dunstall Park on Friday.
The four-year-old is bred to be a champion as a son of Raven’s Pass out of a Classic winner in Nightime but he has not quite lived up to his breeding, winning just once in six low-key starts to date.
He banked a maiden success over an extended mile at this track last December after a run of fair efforts at Kempton, clearly enjoying the Tapeta surface as he triumphed by eight lengths.
The margin of victory was certainly impressive but his initial mark of 80 proved beyond him at Kempton next time when he could finish only seventh but he shaped a lot better back at this track recently. Dropped 2lb by the handicapper, he was beaten just a length
* Selections -
Ayr: 2.00 Baby Bach, 2.30 The Bishop, 3.05 Armillan, 3.40 Kumbeshwar, 4.10 Teddy Tee, 4.45 Ubaltique, 5.20 Higgs Boson.
Leicester: 2.10 Bebinn, 2.40 Cash And Go, 3.15 Etania, 3.50 The Skyfarmer, 4.25 Bravo Riquet, 5.00 Popaway.
Sandown: 2.20 Poker School, 2.50 Hedley Lamarr, 3.25 Howlongisafoot, 4.00 Lessons In Milan, 4.35 Pearls Legend, 5.10 Uranna.
Wolverhampton: 5.45 Give Us A Belle, 6.15 Tamarin, 6.45 Gabrial The Terror, 7.15 Suni Dancer, 7.45 NEW YEAR’S NIGHT (NAP), 8.15 Light Wave.
Double: New Year’s Night and Howlongisafoot.