Missunited has come from very humble beginnings to become one of the most popular mares in training in the racing-mad country of Ireland – probably the most popular now that the six-time Cheltenham winner, Quevega, has retired.
Trained in County Cork by the eccentric genius Michael Winters and both owned and bred by his near neighbours, Dan and Vanessa Hutch, she is the last mare in a family the Hutches have had for years.
Unraced until the summer of her four-year-old season, she began life in ’bumpers’ – flat races held under jumps racing rules, designed as a starting point for future hurdlers and steeplechasers.
She won two of her first four starts, showing enough ability to justify a trip to England to take part in one of the top mares’ bumpers, at the Grand National meeting at Aintree in Liverpool in April 2012.
She ran only reasonably well, finishing eighth, but through the rest of that year she excelled, winning three flat races and a hurdle back home in Ireland.
But her real breakthrough year was 2013. From 11 starts, she managed a Grade 3 hurdle win, a famous triumph in one of the most valuable handicap hurdles in the Irish calendar (the Galway Hurdle), a Listed victory on the flat and, finally, a third place in France’s top flat race for stayers, the Group 1 Prix du Cadran.
Her progress continued in 2014, and a second career Listed win, at Leopardstown on June 6th, preceded a fabulous effort in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot just 13 days later, when she went oh so close to making every yard of the running, eventually failing by just a neck and a short head to beat Leading Light and Estimate. Next she won the Group 3 Lillie Langtry Stakes at Glorious Goodwood over 1m 6f but suffered an injury and has now been retired.