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Annie Power still a good bet to win World Hurdle

With Willie Mullins as good as confirming Annie Power for the World Hurdle over the Champion Hurdle, it is no surprise that the mare has immediately shortened to favourite to win Cheltenham Thursday’s feature race.

Coral has promoted Annie Power above four-time World Hurdle victor Big Buck’s to the top of the market at 15/8 and this remains a worthy bet, given that Coral are offering the top industry price.

Meanwhile, with Coral also now going non-runner, money back on all 27 Cheltenham Festival races, if Annie Power doesn’t line up for the World Hurdle, all bets will be refunded.

If rating Annie Power out of 10, it is hard not to give full marks so far, given that she remains unbeaten in all 10 career starts under rules, which includes seven successive victories over hurdles.

She has hardly been sufficiently tested in these hurdles starts either, winning all by a minimum distance of three lengths.

If there is a concern, it is that Annie Power has yet to attempt 3m, but jockey Ruby Walsh believes that the increased trip shouldn’t pose a problem, given that “her pedigree is all stamina”.

Furthermore, the World Hurdle is a race that Mullins must be desperate to win for the first time, having saddled 15 runners in the last decade without success.

The tide may have turned in favour of the Irish at last year’s Festival too, with Solwhit’s victory the first for Ireland in the World Hurdle since 1995.