Annie Power produced a career best performance to win the Stan James Champion Hurdle, as memories of her final flight tumble in last year's Mares' Hurdle were well and truly put on the back burner, as a stunning display saw her down the brave My Tent Or Yours, as she became the first mare in 22 years to win the opening day showpiece.
Sent to the front from the flag fall, Ruby Walsh exuded confidence on the 5/2 favourite as she got into a fantastic rhythm over her hurdles, but having pulled a couple of lengths clear of My Tent Or Yours approaching the last hurdle, supporters of the Willie Mullins-trained starlet were holding their breath as she approached the final obstacle, but she made no mistake with a spring-heeled leap to put the race to bed.
The eight-year-old was propelled into the Champion Hurdle picture following the news that reigning champion Faugheen would not be able to take his chance in Rich Ricci's famous pink silks, but Annie Power showed why she was supplemented as she produced her finest performance on a racecourse to send the masses at Prestbury Park into exultation.
My Tent Or Yours ran an absolute stormer following a 703-day absence, but he was forced to take home the Champion Hurdle silver medal for the second time in his glittering career, while Nichols Canyon completed the top-three in a race dominated by the star mare, who broke the course record with a time of 3.45.10 in the process.
15:30 Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) 1.Annie Power - W Mullins - R Walsh - 5/2F 2.My Tent Or Yours - N Henderson - B Geraghty - 10/1 3.Nichols Canyon - W Mullins - P Townend - 15/2 12 Ran