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Annie Power and AP add to the real sense of occasion

By Richard Forristal

The sense that this weekend's Easter festival at Fairyhouse might be charmed has been reinforced by the appearance of Annie Power's illustrious name among the entries for a Grade Two hurdle on Monday.

With AP McCoy set to grace the Co Meath venue for his final appearances in the saddle on Irish soil and the possibility of the exceptional Vautour taking part in Sunday's Ryanair Chase, the three-day gathering that gets under way on Sunday was already shaping up to be a little bit special.

Having run in only Grade Ones for over a year, Monday's €52,500 Keelings Irish Strawberry-sponsored contest wasn't an obvious target for Vautour's Willie Mullins-trained stable-mate Annie Power.

However, after witnessing his talented seven-year-old crash at the final flight on her Cheltenham reappearance with the mares hurdle at her mercy, the indomitable champion trainer has given her the option of dropping down in grade.

Mullins has suggested that Ulster-owned Hurricane Fly might tackle the French Champion Hurdle via the Punchestown Festival.

Amateur rider Lewis Ferguson walked away uninjured after a spectacular fall from Merrion Square in the John Dufosee Hunter Chase at Wincanton.

Ferguson did a somersault before crashing to the ground.

Wincanton clerk of the course Barry Johnson described it as "the worst fall I've ever seen."

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