Alpinista has kept the dream alive of winning October's Prix de l'Arc de TriompheThe five-year-old mare won the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York on ThursdayThe Sir Mark Prescott-trained is now one of the favourites for the Triomphe
Alpinista kept the dream alive of winning October’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with a decisive victory in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York.
The Sir Mark Prescott-trained five-year-old mare beat Aidan O’Brien’s Epsom Oaks winner Tuesday by a length, giving her nine pounds, with the winning margin getting bigger with every stride.
Alpinista is as short at 6-1 for the Arc — disputing favouritism with Japanese hope Titleholder and last year’s winner Torquator Tasso — after a sixth consecutive win for the mount of Luke Morris as well as a fifth consecutive victory at Group One level.
Luke Morris leads Alpinista to victory in The Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York Racecourse
Victory in Yorkshire handed Morris his sixth consecutive win and a fifth at group one level
Most importantly for Alpinista’s owner-breeder Kirsten Rausing, it was the 7-4 favourite’s first top-level win in Britain with three of her previous Group One wins coming in Germany last year, with victory also being secured in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on her only previous run this season. In one of those German wins last year, Alpinista beat Torquator Tasso.
Prescott said: ‘The Arc has always been her aim this season. Last year we patted ourselves on our backs for being so clever winning three Group Ones in Germany.
‘Then when one of those behind us came out and won the Arc we thought we might not be as clever as we thought we were.
Alpinista owner and breeder Kirsten Rausing got her first top-level win in Britain this season
‘She is a marvellous filly who has improved all the time. Her great gift is she is straightforward. I think she is just good enough to go close in the Arc.’
Prescott has endured a quiet year, sending out only six winners by the end of a winless June.
Alpinista Trainer Sir Mark Prescott will now be hoping to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
The wheels are turning quicker now but original plans to start Alpinista’s season in the Coronation Cup at Epsom’s Derby meeting in June had to be scrapped. Prescott has been training since 1970 but his only previous Arc runner was Foreign Affairs, who won the 2001 John Smith’s Magnet Cup at York before finishing second in the Ebor Handicap.
But the challenge of Alpinista, who as a three-year-old finished five lengths second to O’Brien-trained Love in the 2020 Yorkshire Oaks, is deadly serious.
Morris said: ‘She has been on better ground this year and looked like a filly with more class. We can dream about Paris now.’
The shape of the Arc market would change considerably if brilliant Juddmonte International Stakes winner Baaeed was suddenly aimed there.
There is a clamour to make that happen but it still seems unlikely for the world’s highest-rated racehorse.
Victory for Alpinista never looked in doubt as Morris finished ahead of Tuesday by a length
But what does seem likely is that the William Haggas-trained colt will take in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on September 10 en route to his final run in the Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 15.
Haggas said: ‘There is a long gap to Champions Day and the Irish Champion must come into it because it fits perfectly. The three options are to go straight to the Champion Stakes, the Irish Champion and Champion or Arc de Triomphe.
‘I would say the outsider of the three is the Arc.’
FRANKIE DETTORI will ride Marcel Weiss-trained five-year-old Toquator Tasso in the Grosser Preis Von Baden at Baden Baden on September 4 because regular jockey Rene Piecheluk is unavailable.
Dettori said: ‘I got the ride a couple of days ago. He is an Arc winner and King George runner-up so it is very exciting.’