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The Arc can come - for Torquator Tasso and Alpinista
The German Derby has only been history for a week, and already the most important race in the world is coming into focus. And the Prix de l` Arc de Triomphe on the first Sunday in October is likely to provide high tension once again. The shares in a title defence by Torquator Tasso have risen again after his brilliant Hansa Prize victory. And only one day later, a mare caused a sensation that we know only too well.

We are talking about the grey mare Alpinista, who won three Group I races in Germany in 2021. The English mare prevailed in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud with a performance that even surprised her jockey Luke Morris a little. Kirsten Rausing`s homebred Frankel daughter came to the start after an eight-month break and with a warning from her trainer Sir Mark Prescott that she was far from her best, but it didn`t matter as she ran down Baratti, leaving top-class rivals like Hurricane Lane and Mare Australis far behind. Alpinista`s performance level soared in the autumn of 2021 when she scored a hat-trick of German Group 1 races, a form that culminated in her winning the Berlin Grand Prix against Torquator Tasso.

The Arc will be her main target on 2 October. The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on 23 July would also be a suitable target if Alpinista is in good form after her performance at Saint-Cloud, although Prescott and Rausing will no doubt want to wait a little before deciding whether to enter her for the Ascot event relatively soon.

Prescott`s assistant William Butler said, "Her form in Germany was abysmal until the Arc and then everyone took notice. We were always confident she would be a better mare on better ground.

"It was her first race this year as we were very patient with her and a bit worried when she went to the start. But she is a great mare. It`s fantastic for Miss Rausing and the whole Lanwades Stud." The Alpinista team was undoubtedly pleased to see Torquator Tasso return to form in Hamburg and a possible rematch is on the cards if the team decides to head to Ascot where Derby winner Desert Crown is likely to be an opponent.

"This year we have to take her to the big stages," Butler said. "Let`s hope this has been a successful stepping stone. The King George might come too soon, but she`s had an easy year so far. If we want to be in the bigs, this is the logical next Group I race over a mile and a half. But we`ll see. Do we give her a bit more time? We`re working our way back from the Arc. Last year it came at the wrong time in her programme, so we`ve decided it`s going to be the Arc this year."

Morris had to deal with an incident involving Bubble Gift shortly after the start - an incident that earned him a four-day suspension - but after that he had such a comfortable time. "She hasn`t been tough yet and this was good preparation for the autumn," Morris said. "Last year she blossomed in the fall, and we felt she came in just right to run here. I`m very confident she can take a step forward."

Asked if Alpinista`s decisive acceleration surprised him, Morris added: "It did a little bit because all her races last year were on slow ground - at Lancashire Oaks and then in Germany. She used to let us ride her a bit most of the time, but she looked like she had a lot of speed, so we rode her a bit more patiently. I pushed her a bit on the turn in and almost arrived a bit too early. She showed good acceleration and hopefully all roads lead back to France."

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