Anna Bunina went one better than 12 months ago when coming with a powerful late run to win the Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr on Saturday.
?? An epic @Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle!— Racing TV (@RacingTV) April 2, 2022
Anna Bunina, runner-up last year, pulls out all the stops under @Sean_Bowen_ to go one better for @McConnellRacing. @ayrracecourse pic.twitter.com/5jWj9NufKw
Second to Milkwood last year, John McConnell’s mare was 13lb better off with that rival this time around.
Victory did not look likely on jumping the last, however, as Sean Bowen’s mount was only third.
Onemorefortheroad had just jumped back into the lead by then, taking over from West Cork who had hit the front seemingly going strongly.
To West Cork’s credit he began to battle back and was getting on top once more only for Bowen to get a real tune out of Anna Bunina (6/1), who sprouted wings to win going away by a length from West Cork.
“She’s got flat speed and she certainly showed it there,” said McConnell.
“I’m over the moon because she got a really serious injury when she finished second in it last year, she got some birch in a tendon and it was touch and go for a while.
“It’s taken a while for her to get her confidence back. It probably looks like a big plan but it really hasn’t been, it’s probably more luck.
“She’s actually on a decent mark on the flat, it’s something we’ve never really pursued but she’d have to be competitive off that mark (81).
“We’ll look at all those good handicaps, we might look at the Swinton (Hurdle) at Haydock, it’s a flat, left-handed track which she likes.
“Given what happened last year we’re elated, it’s been a big team effort to get her back.”
The lightly-raced Dusart showed courage to get back up and win the CPMS Novices’ Champion Handicap Chase.
Nicky Henderson’s seven-year-old, having just the sixth run of his life, briefly came off the bridle going down the back straight as The Golden Rebel quickened the tempo.
Having seen that one off, Sounds Russian then got the better of Dusart at the last – but Nico De Boinville managed to galvanise the 2/1 favourite to win by half a length.
De Boinville said: “He stays all day and loves that trip. He missed the second-last and the last, but when he got a bit squeezed up he loved having a bit of a battle so he did really well.
“He’s still very much a work in progress and is learning. He’ll enjoy a nice summer now and we can look forward to next year.”