Thursday 26th January 2017
Champion Hurdle winner Annie Power has been ruled out of March's Cheltenham Festival after suffering a leg injury.
The nine-year-old became the first mare in 22 years to win the Champion Hurdle at last year's festival, as she was ridden to victory by Ruby Walsh.
She followed that by winning the Aintree Hurdle in April, but has not competed since.
Trainer Willie Mullins had expected her to return at Punchestown on February 22 but announced the injury on Wednesday.
He told the Racing Post: "She is definitely out of Cheltenham and possibly the rest of the season, but it's too early to say."
Cornelius Lysaght, BBC horse racing correspondent
With her catchy name and a talent that earned victory in her first 10 races, Annie Power has become one of jump racing's great favourites.
And after two near-misses at successive Cheltenham Festivals, her Champion Hurdle victory there last March was widely acclaimed.
For Willie Mullins this represents another element to a challenging season. As well as losing 60 horses owned by the powerful Gigginstown House Stud operation and star chaser Vautour as a result of a freak accident at his Carlow stables, he's facing the strongest of challenges to his long-held training championship from Gordon Elliott.