sport

Missunited ready for Ascot raid

Missunited clashes again with Tac De Boistron in the Longines Sagaro Stakes at Ascot on Wednesday as connections consider a Gold Cup run.

The prolific seven-year-old was beaten five and three-quarter lengths when third to Tac De Boistron at Longchamp and meets her old adversary on 7lb better terms thanks to that horse's penalty.

Last year's Galway Hurdle heroine had a break after her run in France and only returned to action earlier this month when she was last of three behind El Salvador over an extended mile and a half at Limerick.

Winters expects her to put in a much better performance with that run under her belt and over a longer trip.

"She seems quite well and we've been happy with her work at home, but we'll just take it race by race," said the County Cork handler.

"She's in good order and we expect her to run a good race. She's a tough cookie.

"I think she'll cope with the ground and she's 7lb better off with the horse that beat her in France.

"We'd be expecting a big run form her but we'd be guessing a small bit. Her race the last day was too easy in that she didn't have a hard enough race. We're happy to be running her over two miles.

"It's hard to judge that Limerick race. You can have them cantering away at home but the track sorts out the men from the boys.

"We were happy enough but this will tell us a lot more."

Marco Botti feels Tac De Boistron's penalty could prove a tough burden to overcome on his seasonal reappearance .

Despite the weight, the Newmarket trainer wants to get last season's Prix Royal-Oak hero back on the track as soon as possible while the ground is on the soft side.

He said: "He seems well. The ground should be soft enough for him. Obviously he carries a penalty, so he has to give 7lb to very some good stayers.

"He is in good form and we are looking forward to seeing him back in action.

"Unfortunately wherever he goes in the first part of the season he has to carry the penalty for having won the Group One.

"We have to start somewhere and it is ground dependent. We can't really afford to wait for other races coming up soon like the Yorkshire Cup as we don't know what the ground is going to be.

"I prefer to run him this week as the ground is in his favour, but with the penalty it's not going to be an easy task.

"We want to leave the options open. There is a Group Two in France (the Prix Vicomtesse de Vigier) at the end of the month. He's been entered in the Gold Cup but it's difficult to pin down which races to go for.

"It could be very quick ground at Royal Ascot and then we wouldn't run him. Let's see how he goes tomorrow and then we will probably have two or three races in mind and consider them according to the ground."

There is a second Irish raider in the shape of the Willie Mullins-trained Simenon, who was second in the Gold Cup last summer, while William Haggas' Harris Tweed is another smart rival. He was only beaten a nose by Royal Diamond in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup over the course and distance in October.