Missunited claims more Galway joy for Winters
MICHAEL Winters' love affair with Ballybrit continued as his star mare Missunited followed up her Galway Hurdle triumph by landing the featured Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes.
As versatile as they come, the six-year-old showed that she is just as happy on the Flat under a perfect ride by Seamie Heffernan, who settled her just off the pace before making progress to lead on the turn for home in this valuable Listed contest.
Aidan O'Brien's hot favourite Eye Of The Storm tried hard to mount a challenge and while the gap narrowed at the line there was never any real danger of Missunited (4/1) being caught, with three-quarters of a length the winning margin.
Winters – who could aim Missunited at the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March on the basis that "she'd have no problem coming up the hill" – expressed his delight as his charge took her Galway record to three wins from as many starts.
"I rode her the other day and she was fierce well in herself. She loves it here," said the popular Kanturk, Co Cork, handler. "We'll look at Listowel (next week, a Listed race) and there is a two-mile race for her at the Curragh at the end of September."
O'Brien enjoyed better fortune in the opening juvenile maiden over an extended mile as his Carlo Bugatti (5/2) made a very pleasing debut in the hands of son Joseph.
The son of Montjeu was chased along coming down the hill but responded to his rider's urgings and engaged in a thrilling duel with favourite Whitey O' Gwaun in the climb to the finish to win by three-parts of a length, with Bogardus a further six lengths back.