Turf Talk: Annie Power looks the banker on Cheltenham day one

Annie Power on the gallops at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Annie Power on the gallops at Cheltenham Racecourse.
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ANNIE POWER is the day one banker at the Cheltenham Festival and don’t take my word for it –take Tony McCoy’s.

The bookies are braced for carnage tomorrow with Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh teaming up with five favourites including a big four who are all 7-4 or shorter.

The exciting Douvan gets the ball rolling at 6-4 in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ (1.30pm), followed by the trail-blazing Un De Sceaux who is 8-13 for the Arkle (2.05pm).

After a wide-open Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase, the unbeaten Faugheen is then 5-4 for the Champion Hurdle (3.20pm) but Annie Power saves the best bet until last at 4-6 for the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (4pm).

Put simply, the seven-year-old is proven to be a better horse than her opponents, none of whom are particularly unexposed. Racing off levels, she is rated 162, 12lbs higher than her closest-rated rival Glens Melody.

McCoy may have to give best to ‘Ruby Tuesday’ tomorrow when plenty of people will put the big four in an acca that pays around 14-1 at the best available odds, Do that and back them all individually is my advice as surely at least two or three of them will win. Or, if you want to go big on just one, make it Annie Power.

Asked what he would like to ride away from his own horses, McCoy said: “Annie Power is the biggest certainty, just purely for the reason that she is going into her race and could be well below her best and still win as she is rated well above everything else. She would be the easiest to steer round. Un De Sceaux (Arkle) would be the most thrilling ride, but Annie Power is the safest option.”

At bigger odds, the totally unexposed Qewy could run well in the Supreme at 14-1 while Wetherby winner Ned Stark looks a fair enough price at 8s for the three-mile handicap chase (2.40pm).

Bring on the Cheltenham roar!