Alpinista proves class with Darley Yorkshire Oaks success
Alpinista dug deep to bring up a magnificent seventh straight victory in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York.
It was also the fifth time in a row the gutsy Kirsten Rousing-owned mare has triumphed at Group One level, with the success for the brave daughter of Frankel a first Group One on home soil for trainer Sir Mark Prescott since Marsha landed the Nunthorpe at the same track in 2017.
Irish Oaks winner Magical Lagoon and fellow raider La Petite Coco led the seven-strong field along in the early stages, with Luke Morris always in the slipstream of the leaders aboard the 7-4 favourite.
Magical Lagoon was the first to crack as the race developed in the straight and having beaten off the challenge of La Petite Coco with a furlong to go, Alpinista stuck her head out and battled to the line to repel Aidan O’Brien’s Tuesday, who finished second at 7-2.
A winner at Saint-Cloud prior to this win on the Knavesmire, all roads now lead back to France for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, with Betfair and Paddy Power both leaving Alpinista unchanged in the market at 8-1.
“They (Group Ones) are all great, but they hard to come by. For a smallish stable, every five or six years you get good ones come along and it’s tremendous when it happens,” said Prescott. “We trained this one’s dam, grand-dam and great grand-dam. It’s been a marvellous family.
“The original intention was to go Coronation (Cup) and King George, but she wouldn’t come (in her coat) in time for the Coronation, so it then became Saint-Cloud (for the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud) and then either here or the Vermeille.
“But Miss (Kirsten) Rausing (owner-breeder) was very keen to come here as she (Alpinista) hadn’t won a Group One in England. She has really done it all now, she’s won Group Ones in England, France and Germany.”
He went on: “That (Arc) has always been her aim. Last year we rather patted ourselves on the back for being so clever winning three Group Ones in Germany, then when the one behind us (Torquator Tasso) came and won the Arc we rather felt we might not have been as clever as we thought we were!
“When she stayed in training this year that was always the aim.”
Like all involved at Heath House Stables, Morris is looking forward to the first Sunday in October.
He said: “Since she has been on better ground this year she has looked like a filly with more class so we can dream about Paris now.
“Generally the Yorkshire Oaks can look a little top heavy with a superstar of Aidan’s, but I thought it had a lot of depth and she had to give 9lb away to the second. I thought it was a great performance. It’s great she’s been able to show in Britain what she is capable of.
“It’s a massive team effort – the team at Heath House and Lanwades Stud. I’m just the lucky one that gets to sit on her a couple of times a year.”