Willie Mullins’ sensational mare Annie Power could return to the track this year according to her trainer, but will it be in the UK or is she heading to France?
The nine-year-old is extremely popular amongst racing fans but hasn’t been seen for over a year now. Her last outing came in the 2016 Aintree Hurdle, a race in which she romped clear and won by an impressive 18 lengths from Nicky Henderson’s My Tent or Yours. It may only have been a small field but there were some impressive horses finishing behind the winner, including Nichols Canyon and the New One, who sadly crashed out of the race.
Previously, she’d been successful at the Cheltenham Festival, delighting racegoers by wrapping up the Champion Hurdle convincingly; an impressive feat considering the race hadn’t been won by a mare in any of the previous 21 runnings.
There was disappointment for fans and punters alike earlier this year when Willie Mullins confirmed his charge was skipping her commitments at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival and subsequently failed to appear at the Punchestown Festival. As a result, many feared she would not be seen on a race track again with speculation rife about her future.
Annie Power is “working away” and we still might see her on the track again, says trainer Willie Mullins: pic.twitter.com/DCgKOQ7FSP
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) May 9, 2017
Earlier this week, the champion trainer confirmed his star is “working away” and refused to rule out a return to the track in the near future.
However, he added that there “just no spark” at the moment.
Racing fans would relish the opportunity to see Annie Power on a UK racetrack for one final time but frustratingly, her trainer refused to go into the specific detail.
Mullins, who has had a memorable 2017 so far, suggested a trip across the channel might be a possibility stating: “If she sparked, she might go to France.” A race on the flat is another possibility for the popular mare although it is unlikely to be Ascot Gold Cup. There was a flurry of betting activity last week amid rumours of a possible appearance. This resulted in her being touted for the flat contest in late June, but the likelihood of her participation in this event appears to be remote.
Neither Annie Power nor stable companion Faugheen have been in action this calendar year; however, both are priced up in the ante-post betting for next year’s Champion Hurdle. Faugheen is currently 10/1 with Annie Power 16/1 in the betting and it may be worth taking a look at the latest offers including a £200 welcome bonus for new customers, which could help maximise returns on ante-post bets for the Cheltenham Festival 2018.
The former has been in training this month and Mullins is keen to improve his sharpness throughout the summer. “I’m wondering if we should just keep him going all season, canter away and maybe just give him a mini-break,” he told the media earlier this week.
It remains to be seen whether Mullins decides to give his mare one final hurrah on UK soil. An appearance would surely thrill and delight both national hunt and flat racing fans in equal measure but sadly, for now, Mullins remains coy about her future commitments.