Willie Mullins' bid to win his fourth Champion Hurdle in six years suffered a blow when reigning champion Faugheen was ruled out with a minor injury to a suspensory ligament.
There were huge rumours that Annie Power was going to supplemented into this race as Faugheen's replacement.
Willie Mullins then announced that Arctic Fire has followed stablemate Faugheen out of the contest, he said "It looks like he has a little chip off a sesamoid bone which will need to be removed."
The Annie Power rumours gathered pace and right now now she is a 7/4 favourite to win the Champion Hurdle in 2016.
Nichols Canyon and Identity Thief are the main dangers, but it would be dangerous to rule out the British contenders after Faugheen's and Arctic Fire's absence.
Annie Power was fancied to be a Champion Hurdle horse two years ago but Willie Mullins already had Hurricane Fly in the race. He's not a fan of running his top horses against each other so with the injuries to Faugheen and Arctic Fire it seems perfect for her to line up this year. She's been beaten only twice, once when she was a faller in the Mares' Hurdle last year and the other in the World Hurdle the year before when she was just over a length behind More Of That. In normal circumstances being beaten twice at Festival would be concerning but not for this Mare. Annie Power had the race sewn up at last years Festival before falling at the last. Willie Mullins has already said that he could choose between six rivals to supplement for this race. He's chose Annie Power and was quick to confirm that she is as quick as any of the other horses he could've entered. There is maybe a slight concern about the step back in trip but there is a very good chance they'll set off at a furious gallop and this could play into Annie Power's hands. She is the horse they all have to beat.
Was disappointing in the Irish Champion Hurdle last time out and a repeat performance would be miles below the standard needed to win this. Ran in the Neptune at the Festival last year and failed to get home after pulling hard. Willie Mullins has said this horse reminds him of Hurricane Fly but without the blistering speed.
Winner of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle in November beating Top Notch by a neck. That was the same route that My Tent Or Yours took before coming here and finishing 2nd behind Jezki in 2014. Was 2l's behind Nichols Canyon last time out and would need significant improvement to turn that form around, let alone win this.
THE NEW ONE
Probably the leading contender from Britain. Fans of The New One will constantly remind others about how unlucky he was in this race back in 2014. At around half way stage Our Conor fell and badly hampered The New One and in all honestly it was a remarkable performance to finish only 3l's behind the eventual winner Jezki. I've often thought that The New One lacks the pace to win a Champion Hurdle but maybe this could be his best chance after Faugheen and Arctic Fire's absence? Beaten just under 9l's in this race last year.
MY TENT OR YOURS
Over 700 days off a race track is an obvious concern. His 2nd in this race in 2014 gives him a chance but Nicky Henderson would have to conjure up a training masterclass to get this horse to win. Often pulls hard and would need to switch off to have any chance at all.