Albigna and Alpine Star pleasing ahead of possible Classic aims

Niarchos family runners in fine form after winter break.

  • Tuesday 18 February
  • News
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Albigna and Alpine Star are both reported to be in good shape ahead of what connections hope will be Classic campaigns.

Albigna was one of the star juvenile fillies of last season for Jessica Harrington, winning the Airlie Stud Stakes at the Curragh and the Prix Marcel Boussac at ParisLongchamp before rounding off her campaign by finishing fourth at the Breeders’ Cup.

The daughter of Zoffany is a best-priced 14-1 for the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket – but whether she runs over the Rowley Mile or in the French equivalent in Paris has yet to be decided.

Her stablemate Alpine Star has been off the track since claiming a narrow victory in the Debutante Stakes last August, but is likely to pursue a similar route.

Alan Cooper, racing manager to the Niarchos family, said: “Both fillies had a nice break before Christmas and are now back with Jessie and in good form. Both of them have Group One entries and will be kept apart.

“We’ll see how they progress in their work and let Jessie decide if she wants to run either of them in a trial. Obviously Albigna would have a Group One penalty were she to run in a trial, so that is something to consider.

“I think Albigna will be sticking to a mile, whereas Alpine Star could go a mile and a bit further.

“We could think about taking Albigna back to Longchamp for the French Guineas, but it’s a little bit too early to be making firm plans.”

Cooper also has high hopes for three unexposed three-year-old colts – one based in Ireland with Harrington, one in Britain with Sir Michael Stoute and one in France with Pascal Bary.

Harrington’s Free Solo won by five lengths on his latest appearance at Leopardstown last July, while the Stoute-trained Highest Ground – a son of Frankel – made a big impression on his first and only start to date at Leicester in September.

Ketil, meanwhile, is two from three on the other side of the Channel for trainer Pascal Bary.

Cooper said: “Free Solo is a horse Jessie likes a lot and he has big-race entries (including the Irish 2,000 Guineas).

“We’ll feel our way with him and take our time, but we have high hopes that he’ll go up to a good level.

“Highest Ground is a horse we hope will go down the Classic trial route. He is inexperienced, which is not ideal for an early-season Classic. We’ll let Sir Michael bring him along and see where we end up. He could be entered for races like the Prix du Jockey Club.

“A horse we like in France is Ketil, who has won two of his three starts for Pascal Bary. He has big-race entries in France and we think he’ll do well.

“We are still in the winter and I think we’ll be a bit wiser about all these horses in another month’s time.”

Albigna and Alpine Star pleasing ahead of possible Classic aims
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