Winters seeks Galway repeat
THIS evening's feature at Galway sees Missunited return to the scene of her greatest triumph as she bids for more glory in the Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes.
The Michael Winters-trained mare ran out a gutsy winner of the Guinness Galway Hurdle at the Ballybrit course five weeks ago and her Co Cork handler now turns her attention to the Flat.
Having finished second to the highly regarded Pale Mimosa in the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown during the summer, the six-year-old has proven she is up to this class and Winters is hopeful of a big run.
"She's in great form and looks a million dollars, but maybe a run will put her spot on," said Winters. "She's very honest and seems to thrive on work and races. You'd like to think she'd run up to her mark but whether that will be good enough, we'll have to see. We just hope they get some more rain."
However, the likelihood is that Aidan O'Brien will repeat his success of 12 months ago, but which one of his three entries will take the prize is another matter. Last year's winner Chamonix is due to line up again, although there's no jockey listed for him and he hasn't been seen since finishing last of five behind stablemate St Nicholas Abbey in the Coronation Cup at Epsom in June.
Joseph O'Brien is down to take the leg-up on stablemate Eye Of The Storm, which is also returning from a long break since finishing second in the derby trial at Sandown in April.
Galway debut scorer Exotic is the third Ballydoyle representative, while Denis Hogan's Inis Meain and Andy Oliver's in-form Jazz Girl are others sure to attract support from punters. However, Chamonix gets the vote to get the better of Eye Of The Storm.
O'Brien saddles a couple of choicely bred newcomers in Buonarroti and Carlo Bugatti in the opening maiden, but they will need to be well above average to cope with Whitey O'Gwaun.
Dermot Weld's colt was less than three lengths adrift of leading juvenile War Command on his Leopardstown introduction and has entries in the big end-of-season Group Ones.
Weld also has claims in the fillies' maiden over seven furlongs with the well-bred Vote Often, but a safer option is Colour Blue, which has been running well in maidens all summer and was fourth in a Group Three two starts back.
With Connor King booked for Todd in the Galway Apprentice Handicap, John Murphy's charge looks certain to start favourite having responded well to headgear when second at Gowran Park last week. However, a chance is taken on Tom McCourt's Scarlet Prince, which won over hurdles at Sligo last month.