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Willie Mullins’ Champion Hurdle claims have been rocked by injury to long-time favourite Faugheen.

But the champion Irish trainer could have an able substitute with Annie Power now heading the market although she has another option at Cheltenham.

The mare made a faultless return to action at Punchestown winning at her first start since she fell at the last flight in the Mres’ Hurdle at the 2015 Cheltenham festival.

“I will have a chat with the owner (Rich Ricci) and see how she comes out of the race, and see how much more work we can get into her,” Mullins said.

“I don’t know which race she will go for, but we will keep all options open. We have a lot of training to do in the next four weeks.

“That was really like a schooling session, but it was what she needed rather than a race at the moment. We can step up her work now.

“I wouldn’t rule out the Champion Hurdle. It’s not often I miss an entry at Cheltenham, but we can get her supplemented.

“That could happen as the balls are bouncing a bit different today. We’ll see how she progresses.”

Stan James, the only firm not offering the ‘non-runner no bet’ concession on the Champion Hurdle, make Annie Power the 9-4 favourite for the two-mile showpiece ahead of stable companion Arctic Fire, second to Faugheen last year, at 3-1.

RaceBets were forced to cut Annie Power to 5-2 for the Champion after an initial 4-1 was swiftly taken.

The news of the potential shuffling of the Mullins pack has had major repercussions on other Festival markets, with Vroum Vroum Mag now a best-priced 7-4 favourite for the Mares’ Hurdle, with Annie Power now 3-1.

 
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