Annie Power (right) will miss the Cheltenham Festival, Willie Mullins saidPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Annie Power smashes Grade 2 rivals at Naas
Report: Naas, Sunday
Paddypower.com Novice Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m, 4yo+
THE Willie Mullins-trained Quevega may have ruled over the mares' division for the last five seasons but her successor may hail from the same yard after Annie Power confirmed the impression she has made in her five unbeaten starts to date by making it six from six in a Grade 2.
Bookmakers were keen to cut Annie Power for her two possible Cheltenham targets, the Supreme and the Neptune, but Mullins said she would swerve the festival.
"I don't know how good she is. I said I would find out today and I still don't know. She beat some serious horses out there on only her third run over hurdles. I would say we'll wait for Fairyhouse and Punchestown. She won't go to Cheltenham," he said.
The five-year-old was settled in third by Ruby Walsh, tailing the Tony McCoy-ridden favourite and pace-setter Defy Logic, and nothing much changed as the six runners hunted round.
Turning for home the big four - Annie Power, Defy Logic, Don Cossack and Moscow Mannon - began to pull clear and McCoy looked to have timed his kick for home to perfection, stealing a few lengths on his rivals off the home bend.
But Walsh was cruising in behind and, having pulled alongside between the last two flights, a superb jump at the last put the race to bed.
Annie Power went clear on the run in without ever coming under pressure, winning by three and a quarter lengths at 5-2 and cementing her status as one of the brightest novice prospects to come through in the mares' division in recent seasons.