sport

Winters mulls United Ascot aim

Trips to Royal Ascot and the Galway Festival could be on the agenda for Mick Winters' superb dual-purpose performer Missunited.

The seven-year-old gave the trainer back-to-back victories in the Galway Hurdle last summer, following on from the success of Rebel Fitz 12 months earlier, and went on to win at Listed level on the Flat.

She signed off for 2013 with a fine effort to finish third in the Group One Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp and Winters plans to mix hurdling and Flat racing again this term.

If all goes well at the Royal meeting, the trainer is keen to see Missunited defend her Galway Hurdle crown.

He told At The Races: "Missunited came back on Monday and she's in great form. I'd say her best run was her last run of the year and Royal Ascot is where her owners would like to be and there are plenty of long-distance races there.

"The only problem would be if the ground came up very firm. She'd go on it, but she might not be quite as effective (as she is on soft ground).

"I want to go to Galway. Unless something happens with the (Willie) Mullins mares for Punchestown (Festival), we'll sit tight.

"She has a 144 mark over hurdles, which is probably nice. She might start off in Limerick (in May). She ran there last year and Inis Meain beat her.

"She might be three weeks from her peak at that stage, but hopefully afterwards she'll be at her peak for the season."

Like Missunited, Rebel Fitz has enjoyed a mid-winter break, but is not far off a return.

Winters said: "He'll go to Mallow (Cork, March 27) and we'd be hoping then to go for the Powers Gold Cup (at Fairyhouse).

"If he got placed in it or won it, he'd go up in the weights and if he ran at Punchestown and was in the money again, he'd probably take his chance in the Galway Plate. We'll summer campaign him and he looks fine and strong."