Faugheen and Annie among nine entries for Mullins in festival showpiece
Faugheen and Annie Power are on track to run at the Cheltenham Festival, their trainer Willie Mullins said on Wednesday, although whether they run beforehand remains to be seen.
The duo are the pick of nine Mullins-trained entries – out of 28 in total – for the Stan James Champion Hurdle, though Annie Power is also joint-favourite for the Grade 1 mares' hurdle at the festival.
Faugheen and Annie Power have won the last two runnings of the Champion but neither has appeared this season, with Faugheen a best-priced 9-4 to regain his crown and Annie Power a 5-1 shot to defend the title.
The Rich Ricci-owned duo are both entered in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle on Sunday week, while Annie Power also has the option of a mares' hurdle at Punchestown next month.
Mullins said: "I've a nice team to choose from in the Champion Hurdle. Faugheen and Annie Power are still on course for Cheltenham.
Vroum Vroum Mag – winner of 11 of her 12 starts since joining Mullins – has also received a Champion Hurdle entry.
"Vroum Vroum Mag will probably have more options than any other horse at Cheltenham. She's very versatile," Mullins added.
"Ivan Grozny is entered in the Champion Hurdle trial at Haydock on Saturday but I've yet to make up my mind whether or not to let him take his chance. I'll decide closer to the weekend."
Yanworth, a 5-1 shot with sponsors Stan James, is the leading British hope according to bookmakers and one of 15 entries for the home team, five of which are trained by Nicky Henderson, with three hailing from Dan Skelton's yard. David Pipe has entered Supreme Novices' Hurdle favourite Moon Racer.