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Alpinista keeps Arc dream alive with another Group One triumph

Alpinista took her Group One tally to three in the Grosser Preis Von Bayern in Munich – and kept next year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe firmly on her agenda.

Sir Mark Prescott and Kirsten Rausing’s filly extended her unbeaten 2021 campaign to five races with a typically tenacious three-quarter-length victory from Mendocino, with her old rival Nerium back in third.

Luke Morris made sure the 4-5 favourite was soon up close to the pace set by Nerium, before laying down her challenge into the straight. She then had a battle on her hands, as she has in her two previous Group One successes in Germany this year, but again she proved well up to the task.

Prescott , watching at home from his Newmarket yard, was delighted with Alpinista’s performance – and her prolific season.

He said: “It went well. It’s been a little plan that came off for once!

“It’s been marvellous. She’s not missed a beat – she just had a cloudy scope and couldn’t run in one (race) in England, and we had to miss that.

“But other than that, she’s won five out of five.”

The manner of Alpinista’s latest victory was very much in character.

“That’s her style,” added Prescott.

“The other two (races) are more or less exact replays – and the third horse, Nerium, he’s wonderful. They’ve really produced their form together almost every time, to a length.”

Among those defeated by Alpinista through the summer was subsequent shock Arc hero Torquator Tasso, a near four-length runner-up to her in the Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten in August.

That form line inevitably alerted many to her potential at the very highest level – and Prescott confirmed the plan to target some major prizes next year, most likely on home soil, en route to ParisLongchamp.

“I think with her, because she’s won three Group Ones and she’s a filly and not a colt, you can be pretty brave,” he said.

“I think you would run in the glitzy Group Ones – you’d probably go for them now, if she’s as good next year.

“I think that would mean less (travelling) probably. You’d take the view that you’ve won three Group Ones, you’re very lucky and you want to roll the dice.

“We can all plot them, can’t we? You can plot it easily enough – it’s just a question of getting one good enough.”

Alpinista has put herself in that bracket, and already proved herself a leading light in the dynasty of home-bred stars over many years for her owner Kirsten Rausing.

Prescott added: “It’s been a marvellous season for Miss Rausing.

“She’s had the most fantastic year, and she thoroughly deserves it – and she’s got two or three of these very good fillies, all home-bred, (so) it must be wonderful for her.”

As for Alpinista, Prescott admits her ability to fare so well on overseas trips has surprised him as much as her sustained improvement on the track – although this time, he was indebted to fellow Newmarket trainer Roger Varian for providing a travelling companion in Believe In Love, who went on to finish a near five-length fifth for her trouble.

“She’s great, she takes it very well,” Prescott added, of his stable star.

“She still has to have a companion to travel – and you wouldn’t have thought, when she was young, she would travel as well as she does.

“When we’ve been on our own, I’ve had to send my old hack over with her.

Roger Varian's Believe In Love joined Alpinista on her trip to Bavaria
Roger Varian’s Believe In Love joined Alpinista on her trip to Bavaria (Mike Egerton/PA)

“This time, fortunately, Mr Varian wanted to come over – so we had a share without having to send the old hack over.”

The trainer had reason to be pleased with himself too, for completing the keyboard skills which allowed him to watch Alpinista from afar –  in the absence of his usual technical support, principally his assistant William Butler.

“It tested all my skills!” he said.

“William’s there, and he normally manages these things, and the secretary’s off.

“So everybody came to the rescue, and I had just two buttons to press to watch it – and it all went well.”

Alpinista bags Group One Preis von Europa

Sir Mark Prescott’s prolific filly Alpinista doubled her Group One tally with a decisive victory in the Preis von Europa at Cologne.

Alpinista, also successful at the top level in the Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten last month, was keeping it in the family with her latest victory – in a race won 17 years ago for Prescott, and owner Kirsten Rausing, by her granddam Albanova.

Luke Morris had the 11-10 favourite in contention throughout, but off the strong pace set by outsider and eventual runner-up Nerium.

Alpinista moved closer for pressure to collar the long-time leader inside the final furlong, and then stretched a length and a quarter clear at the line.

Reflecting on the triumph, assistant trainer William Butler told Deutscher Galopp: “We’re very happy. It’s a fantastic family, and thank you very much to Miss Rausing for sending us such a lovely filly.

“It’s a very lucky family for us, right the way back to (dual Champion Stakes heroine) Alborada – through to Albanova, who won this race in 2004.

“I was here (then) – I don’t look that old, but I was here!”

Frankel filly Alpinista is unbeaten in her four starts this year, including the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock, and is unlikely to have finished her four-year-old campaign yet.

She has a Group One entry on the British Champions card at Ascot next month, and another trip to Germany for the Grosser Preis von Bayern in Munich in early November is high on the agenda too.

Butler added: “It’s great – she’s done everything we’ve asked of her this year. That’s four runs, four wins, two Group Ones, a Group Two and a Listed.

“So we’re very, very lucky to have her.

“That (Munich) is probably the next option. There’s (also) the (Qipco British Champions) Fillies And Mares at Ascot to add.

“The main thing is to get her back home and make sure she’s OK – but I think probably pencilled in is Munich.

“With these fillies, you’ve just got to make sure they’re in good form and they’re healthy – and when they are, they can do things like this.”

Alpinista upholds family tradition with Group One victory in Germany

Alpinista emulated her granddam as she claimed a first Group One victory in the Longines 131st Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten.

Albanova won the German feature in 2004, when it was known as the Deutschland-Preis and run at Dusseldorf, and her four-year-old granddaughter followed in her footsteps on Sunday for trainer Sir Mark Prescott.

Partnered by Luke Morris, Alpinista was one of two British raiders along with Walton Street and James Doyle set out to make all on the Godolphin representative in the 12-furlong contest.

Alpinista was settled in fourth in the eight-runner field and Morris was content to bide his time before launching a challenge at the top of the straight.

The Frankel filly then found plenty for pressure to hold the late challenge of Torquator Tasso, with Walton Street keeping on for third.

Prescott said: “I was very pleased with her, she stays really, really well. She wasn’t going particularly well early on, turning in she was perhaps going less well than anything but for two, but she stuck on really well and I was enormously pleased with her.

“Obviously Miss (Kirsten) Rausing has a big say in it, but I think we have probably sort of earmarked the Preis Von Europa at Cologne on September 26 and we’ll just see if something comes in between. I think that will be the pattern.

“She (Rausing) had Albanova with me a few years ago, Albanova won this and that race, so we might follow the same pattern because of course they are very closely related.

“It’s just interesting that she (Alpinista) should follow in the hoofprints. She stays really well this filly, she would go a bit further if we had to.”

Alpinista won the Lancashire Oaks before her German trip and chased home Love in the Yorkshire Oaks last year, with Betfair offering 12-1 about her chance on the Knavesmire this year.

Asked if he would be tempted to go to York again, Prescott added: “Only if she came back so well that I couldn’t not run.

“She would need to be so well, so it would probably better to just ease off and have a go at another Group One.”

German Group One option open for Alpinista

Alpinista could try to emulate her granddam and win a first Group One in the Grosser Preis Von Berlin at Hoppegarten next month.

Trainer Sir Mark Prescott is considering the big race in Germany on August 8 for his Group Two-winning four-year-old filly.

The Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on July 31 is the alternative target for Alpinista, who won the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock on her latest start.

Her granddam Albanova won the German feature in 2004, when it was known as the Deutschland-Preis and run at Dusseldorf.

Prescott said: “She’s fine. She’ll either go for the Lillie Langtry at Goodwood or she might go to Germany for the Group One there that Albanova won – who is, of course, her grandmother.”

Alpinista could be accompanied to Berlin by stablemate Alerta Roja, who completed a hat-trick at Ascot on Friday.

Prescott is planning to move the daughter of Golden Horn up in class after three handicap victories.

“She’s got to find a bit of black type,” he said.

“She might go to the same place – there’s a mile-and-six Listed race at Berlin, the Stayer Preis.”

Alpinista hits the heights in Lancashire Oaks

Alpinista stamped her class on the bet365 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock.

Sir Mark Prescott’s filly set the standard on her runner-up finish behind the brilliant Love in the Yorkshire Oaks last summer, after which she was narrowly beaten in a Group Three at Newmarket.

She got the current campaign off to a successful start in a Listed event at Goodwood in April – and having missed a couple of intended engagements since, she was the 11-4 favourite for the Group Two feature.

With front-running Oaks runner-up Mystery Angel beginning to fade inside the final two furlongs, the Roger Varian-trained pair of Cabeletta and Lady Hayes were left fighting it out for the lead.

However, Alpinista picked up well in the hands of her regular partner Luke Morris to win the day by just over a length.

Morris said: “We’d chosen not to run her a couple of times because of the ground. Today they’ve rolled the dice and she seems to handle firm ground as well as soft ground.

“She was second to Love in the Yorkshire Oaks last year and she’s a Group Two winner now.

“These are the horses you want to ride when you’re getting up early in a morning and getting home late in the evening.”

Prescott’s assistant, William Butler, said: “She’s very game and we’ve trained lots of her family, who were very game as well.

“We were slightly worried about the ground as she was so effective on firm last summer, but her class got her through.

“She’s a Group Two winner, Group One second and dual Listed winner and you can pick your targets now.

“There are races like the Lillie Langtry (at Goodwood) and the Yorkshire Oaks and we’ll make a plan.”

Boughey hoping Mystery Angel has the answers at Haydock

Mystery Angel will bid for glory in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks on Saturday after her tremendous performance at Epsom last month.

The George Boughey-trained filly was the runner-up at 50-1 when last seen in the Cazoo Oaks, a race in which she finished behind only Aidan O’Brien’s runaway winner Snowfall.

This weekend’s Group Two affair is run over the same mile-and-a-half trip – a distance the three-year-old has now proved herself to be competitive over after previously producing winning and placed performances from seven to 10 furlongs.

“She’s been in good form since the Oaks, we were very happy with her,” Boughey said.

“She stayed the mile and a half well last time and a big galloping track should suit her well.

Mystery Angel (left) finishing behind Snowfall in the Musidora Stakes at York
Mystery Angel (left) finishing behind Snowfall in the Musidora Stakes at York (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“She’s been in pretty good shape and I can’t complain really, she goes there with a good chance.”

Prior to the Oaks run, where she was beaten 16 lengths, Mystery Angel crossed paths with Snowfall in the Musidora Stakes at York and on that occasion finished only four and half lengths behind the Ballydoyle filly.

“There was no shame in being beaten by her (Snowfall),” Boughey added.

“But it would be interesting to see the race (the Oaks) on better ground because I don’t think we can take the form completely literally as we were only a few lengths behind her the time before.”

Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista currently heads the market for the Merseyside feature after triumphing on her seasonal debut in the Listed Daisy Warwick Fillies’ Stakes at Goodwood in April.

Sir Mark Prescott's Alpinista
Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Dubai Fountain will represent Mark Johnston’s Middleham stable, having improved from a below-par performance in the Oaks run to finish fifth in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: “He said: “She disappointed in the Oaks, but took a step back in the right direction at Ascot last time.

“It’s her third race in four weeks, but races for fillies at this kind of level aren’t plentiful so we’re happy to take our chance.

“They’ve all got a little bit to find with Alpinista on official ratings, but her best form would see her right there.”

Henry Candy’s La Lune looks to complete a hat-trick of victories, having won both the Listed Nottinghamshire Oaks and the Group Three Pinnacle Stakes already this season.

Candy said: “She’s in very happy form and working nicely. It’s a big step up in grade for her, but hopefully she’ll be able to get herself in the first four and I’m happy with the way she is.

“She takes everything in her stride and she’s very easy going, and to have David Probert back in the saddle is an important part of the equation I think, so hopefully she runs well again.”

La Lune renews rivalry with Roger Varian’s Pinnacle runner-up Cabaletta, while Andrew Balding’s Tribal Craft comes into the race off the back of Group Three success in the Bronte Cup Fillies’ Stakes at York – beating David O’Meara’s Lancashire Oaks hope Makawee into third.

Peter Chapple-Hyam’s Rothesay Stakes winner Bharani Star and the Varian-trained Lady Hayes complete the competitive field of nine.

Alpinista edges out Makawee in thrilling Goodwood finish

Last year’s Yorkshire Oaks runner-up Alpinista began the new campaign with a hard-fought victory over Makawee in the British Stallion Studs EBF Daisy Warwick Fillies’ Stakes at Goodwood.

Five lengths behind Love at York in August, she signed off for the campaign with a narrow defeat in a Group Three at Newmarket and was sent off the 13-8 favourite against just three rivals, one of whom, Oriental Mystique, is also owned by Kirsten Rausing.

Makawee set out to make all under James Doyle, but Luke Morris looked to have him covered as he moved his Alpinista alongside.

However, Makawee stuck to her task gamely and Morris had to get pretty serious with Sir Mark Prescott’s filly, who eventually scrambled home by a short head with Oriental Mystique a length back in third.

“The plan was to make all today, but James was quite keen to go on, so I was quite happy to take a close sit,” Morris told Racing TV.

“When I finally drew up to him at the two pole I was fairly confident I had his measure, but fair play to the runner-up, she was very brave.

“My filly is probably a gallop or two short of her best on her homework and she was just a bit ring-rusty when I went for her.

“Hopefully there’s plenty of improvement in her going forwards.

“Miss Rausing’s horses generally come into their own with time. We had the dam (Alwilda) at Sir Mark’s and she improved with age, so I’d like to think this filly will take a similar path.

“There’s stamina in the pedigree, but being by Frankel, there’s a bit more speed in there. Sir Mark will come up with a plan.

“She was second to Love in the Yorkshire Oaks and the programme sort of marks itself out for a filly like that.”