One of National Hunt racing’s most talented mares of the modern era, Annie Power, has been retired by her connections at the age of nine.
Her fans were eagerly anticipating a return to the racecourse last season but niggly injuries meant that this was never to materialise.
Although Willie Mullins and her owners Rich and Susannah Ricci did consider the possibility of taking her to France, they were happy to call time on what has been a stellar career.
A daughter of Shirrocco, she is currently in foal to Coolmore’s dual Derby-winner Camelot, with the foal expected in 2018.
Annie Power became the first mare for 22 years to land the Champion Hurdle last year. She followed this up with what turned out to be her final ever race with victory in the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle.
Yet, she will also be remembered for saving the bookmakers from a colossal drumming at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival when she fell at the last under Ruby Walsh with the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at her mercy.
Mullins said: “My favourite memory of her was when she landed running at the back of the last in the Champion Hurdle. After what had happened the year before I was able to enjoy her running up the hill on her own.
“She might have achieved a higher figure at Aintree, and in beating My Tent Or Yours so much easier there you could argue that was her best display, but just with everything that goes with Cheltenham I’d have been disappointed if we didn’t win one with her.”
Bred by Eamon Cleary, Annie Power began her career under rules with Jim Bolger, winning her first two bumpers without much fuss at Galway and Wexford.
Once switching to the care of the champion trainer, a winning sequence over hurdles began to gather momentum.
The Champion Hurdle has to be the highlight
She went on to win 15 of her 17 starts, with five of those wins coming at Grade 1 level over hurdles.
“At the beginning I bought her for fences, believe it or not, so if I’ve one regret it’s that we never saw her jump a fence because I think she’d have been brilliant,” added Mullins.
“She had so much size and scope about her it was always in my mind – but the Champion Hurdle has to be the highlight.”