LUKE MORRIS, the rider they call ‘The Sniper’, goes into Sunday’s Arc with a horse who has ‘no chinks in her armour’.
And, unusually, a trainer in tow – as he prepares to shoot them down in Europe’s premier middle distance showpiece.
Chappers looks at whether Alpinista can be a massively popular British winner of the Arc for jockey Luke Morris
Can ‘The Sniper’ shoot them all down in the ‘world’s best race’?
It’s been confirmed Sir Mark Prescott – the handler of Morris’s mount Alpinista but a man with travel phobia – will be in Paris.
But a horse who won’t be is Oaks heroine Tuesday, with Aidan O’Brien telling me she will not be in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe field.
In the build up to the Arc, Prescott has been umming and ahing about whether he would make the trip to France.
Last week he suggested Alpinista’s owner Kirsten Rausing would insist he was there, and today Prescott confirmed: “Despite an aversion to foreign travel, particularly on a Sunday, on Miss Rausing’s kind insistence I will be there.”
Luke Morris rides Alpinista, unbeaten in her last seven starts and five Group 1s on the bounce.
He told me: “I’m very excited for Sunday to be back on Alpinista in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
“She goes into the race with a very strong hand and I don’t think she has any chinks in her armour.
“Her preparation and work since York has gone absolutely perfect so fingers crossed this week everything goes swimmingly.
“It’s almost a dream come true to ride a horse with such a strong chance in Europe’s premier race.
“I’ve been extremely fortunate on Arc day to win two Abbayes and had my first Group 1 winner in that race in 2010. It’s been a happy hunting ground.
“It’s my first ride in the Arc so I’ll speak to a lot of people about it but it’s fantastic Sir Mark is going to be there.
“I’ve ridden him seven Group 1 winners and the first time he was there for one of them was at York for Alpinista.
“He doesn’t really travel much. Myself, Sir Mark, assistant William Butler and Miss Rausing and a few others are flying over Sunday morning and we just hope everything goes smoothly.”
In other Arc news, Tuesday won’t run in the big one but will once again lock horns with Nashwa in the Prix de l’Opera.
O’Brien said: “Tuesday won’t run in the Arc she goes to the filly’s race.”
Tuesday, who would have got all the allowances in the Arc, had Nashwa well beaten off in the Oaks at Epsom, but that was over a mile and a half and there’s likely to be less between them over a mile and a quarter.
Despite the absence of Baaeed, the Arc is still a belter and all the action is live on the main ITV network Sunday. Yeeehaaa!
Back to home, though, where star stayer Stradivarius was retired today.
The triple Gold Cup hero has been a stalwart on the Flat and brought a massive amount of pleasure to racing fans.
Stradivarius was a terrific stayer, but his owner Bjorn Nielsen deserves much praise as well.
Nielsen not only kept his pride and joy in training, but also spoke out about his performances which engaged the public.
Thank you, Bjorn.