It’s the final day of the Punchestown Festival – and these are the races you don’t want to miss

Five glorious days of racing in County Kildare come to an end this afternoon.

Ruby Walsh clears the last on Annie Power to win Annie Power suffered the first defeat of her career last time out but will be unbackably hot this afternoon. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

3.45pm: Mares Champion Hurdle

Now that Quevega has left the building, the crown of Ireland’s wondermare passes to another of the ladies in Willie Mullins’ yard: Annie Power. Barring a seismic shock, the six-year-old will make light work of her rivals this afternoon.

After starting her career with a perfect 10 wins, she was a gallant runner-up in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham last time out but none of these offer anything like the same kind of threat.

Two of them, Glens Melody and Florishwells d’Ete, have already run this week while Cockney Sparrow will need to improve on her career best run in the Scottish Champion Hurdle last month when she took full advantage of bottom weight to spring a shock.

Davy Russell celebrates winning on Tiger Roll 14/3/2014 Tiger Roll marked himself out as a future star with a storming run to win the Triumph Hurdle. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

4.20pm: Champion Four Year Old Hurdle

A handful of Ireland and Britain’s best novices go head to head in what is effectively a re-run of the Cheltenham Triumph Hurdle over a marginally shorter distance.

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The winner that day, Tiger Roll, and third, Guitar Pete, have had a ding-dong battle all season and they look set to go off at the head of the market today.

Willie Mullins has two strong contenders in Abbyssial and Adriana des Mottes (Ruby Walsh rides the former) while Nicky Henderson’s duo Kentucky Hyden and Royal Irish Hussar had plenty of supporters in Cheltenham who surely won’t desert them now.

Keep a close eye too on Kitten Rock from Eddie O’Grady’s yard. He was unlucky to be beaten by a short head at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday and gave the impression that he still has plenty of improvement to find.

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Niall Kelly

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