THE reluctance of Baaeed’s connections to commit to a trip to Paris for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the Juddmonte International debrief was met with huge disappointment by many, but not I suggest those at Heath House Stables in Newmarket.
For that is where Darley Yorkshire Oaks heroine Alpinista resides and trainer Sir Mark Prescott, responsible for master-minding a highly commendable fifth straight Group 1 win for his daughter of Frankel, would be delighted not to face a dominant Baaeed, handled by his former assistant William Haggas.
“I would like Mr Haggas to decide to stick to his guns and run in the races where he had originally aimed Baaeed for - I think that would be a great help,” joked Prescott in a recent interview with Sky Racing and his view is understandable.
Without Baaeed in the field, unconfirmed stamina or not, Alpinista boasts an extremely credible chance of a glittering conclusion to her career in France and her figures for a smooth and uncomplicated defeat of Oaks winner Tuesday mark her as a credible Arc contender.
Well positioned on the heels of Irish Oaks heroine Magical Lagoon, who was alarmingly easy to back pre-race, and La Petite Coco, Prescott’s daughter of Frankel settled well in the hands of the reliable Luke Morris before a steady pace began to build mid race.
Morris allowed his mount to range alongside the pacesetters once the field had turned for home and she lengthened nicely to take a length or two out of Tuesday as, one by one, her rivals dropped away heading toward the line.
Tuesday, who was a shade keen in the early stages and may well have preferred a truer end-to-end gallop, ensured Alpinista was forced to work all the way to the line and a final furlong sectional for the winner of 12.13secs was only bettered on the day by Haskoy - more of her later.
The three-furlong split recorded by Alpinista (34.20) was also superior to Lowther Stakes heroine Swingalong (35.67) and sales race scorer Shouldvebeenaring (34.81), both six-furlong winners, while the fiercely competitive Clipper Logistics Handicap (mile) could only generate a best of 34.76secs, recorded by runner-up Escobar.
The figures reinforce that Alpinista boasts all the components required to make a bold bid to extend her Group 1 sequence to six in France this autumn.
She possesses a high cruising speed, a sharp change of gear and an unflappable temperament plus, as she has already proved courtesy of her Saint-Cloud triumph last month and her German hat-trick, she loves to travel.
Of the vanquished, this was an encouraging return to action from Tuesday who put behind her a lacklustre Irish Derby run with what arguably appears like a career best. There are a host of options for her this autumn with the Fillies & Mares at Ascot arguably one of the likely aims.
A similar comment applies to La Petite Coco who would arguably have found the ground on the lively side yet kept grinding away in the straight to post a personal best.
This was a fine effort in a strong renewal, and it will be a surprise if her shrewd handler cannot find her another Group 1 opportunity when the rains arrive, either over 10 or 12 furlongs.
While Alpinista understandably stole the headlines, the performance of Haskoy bears close inspection, especially as she was tackling listed company in the Galtres Stakes off the back of a Wolverhampton maiden victory.
That profile is often one to avoid in pattern races, but the daughter of Golden Horn overcame inexperience and a stop-start gallop to produce an eye-catching effort on the clock.
Given that Alpinista clocked 34.20secs for her final three-furlong sectional, Haskoy’s data (34.08secs) was little short of astonishing, especially as she appeared poorly positioned turning from home in a race run at a muddling gallop.
A final furlong of 11.75secs was comfortably the best on a card which included the Lowther and a competitive sales event and her closing burst ensured she rattled past some talented fillies in the hands of Ryan Moore to put her head in front close home.
Moore was moved to use words like ‘impressive’ in the post-race debrief which is almost as rare as a Wolverhampton maiden winner lifting a York listed prize on their subsequent start and Haskoy clearly has a bright future for Juddmonte and trainer Ralph Beckett.