Annie Power earmarked by Willie Mullins for Punchestown comeback

Mon 27 Feb 2017

Willie Mullins is aiming to get Annie Power back on track at the Punchestown Festival.

Ruled out of defending her Champion Hurdle crown with injury, Mullins has not given up hope of her making a fleeting appearance before the season is out and even mooted a possible trip to France with the nine-year-old mare.

However, the news is not so good for 2015 champion hurdler Faugheen, who, after missing the second half of last season, is less likely to be in action this campaign.

"Annie Power is riding out, Faugheen is not," said Mullins.

"She seems good and we're very pleased with how she's responding.

"I would say we'll aim for Punchestown with her. We could go to France, but let's get her back first before we make plans for her.

"I'm sure we'll see Faugheen again, whether it's this season or next season. I wouldn't have any reason to retire him.

"The problem he has now should be a maximum of 12 weeks (to recover).

"Hopefully we'll be getting him out early (next season)."

Another Mullins inmate to miss the Cheltenham Festival is the injured Min, who was second to Altior in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle last season and was due to run in the Arkle Trophy.

"Min is good, he just has a little stress fracture," said the County Carlow handler.

"He was probably the most disappointing one of them all as he was a good, sound horse and doing everything right.

"I thought he could (close the gap on Altior in the Arkle), but we'll get another opportunity to see that one.

"Min was a horse that improved hugely from last year."

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