Minor injury in Japan Cup preparation spells the end of Alpinista's racing career

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Alpinista has been retired with immediate effect after picking up a minor injury in her build-up to an intended swansong in the Japan Cup.

The Sir Mark Prescott-trained five-year-old won six Group One races, capped by her scintillating success under jockey Luke Morris at ParisLongchamp last month.

She will be retired to owner Kirsten Rausing's Lanwades Stud in Newmarket.

"I'm not having a good morning, because we can't run Alpinista in Japan. I've had a grumpy day," Prescott told the PA news agency.

"She had a bit of heat in her leg last night when I was at the Cartier Awards dinner. William (Butler, assistant trainer) looked round and didn't like her, thought there was heat in the leg.

"When I got back and when I looked at her first thing this morning, I wasn't happy, so that's it - she retires.

"She has been marvellous and hasn't been beaten for two years, she won six Group Ones in three different countries. She has been fantastic.

"She will join a wonderful broodmare brand at Miss Rausing's."

Alpinista won eight consecutive races over a mile and a half, the last six all at the highest level.

She ran three times this year, landing the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, Yorkshire Oaks and Arc.

Plans to end her career in Tokyo had to be sadly shelved, much to the Newmarket handler's chagrin.

Precott added: "The other terrible thing is the Japanese have bent over backwards to help us - I feel very guilty. They have done absolutely everything they could to make things easy for us.

"I felt as guilty letting them know as I did poor Miss Rausing.

"She took it well. She never flinches. But when you are 5-2 to win six million, whoever you are, it is a blow. It would have been a big thrill to win, because it is a big sum when you are 5-2 to win six million.

"She will be retired and I think, almost for Miss Rausing, almost there is a tinge of relief, because the filly has done so well and it would have been so awful if something had gone wrong out there.

"It is never easy travelling that far and the thought of looking at her every morning over your garden fence is not a bad thought.

"If it is the highest-rated filly in the world outside your back door, it must give you tremendous satisfaction.

"So, it is a moderate morning. I won't find one as good as her - it has taken me 53 years to find this one!"

Asked if he planned to continue with his training career, the 74-year-old added: "Oh yes, I'll continue. If you are a trainer you have to take these things in your stride. It is much harder for the owner and much harder for the girl who looks after her. But if you are a trainer, you are so used to disaster.

"Paul Cole is a great man. He once said the best thing about training is you can't worry about any disaster for too long, because a catastrophe has just taken place!

"I wish I'd thought of that line. I think it is the best remark about training ever made."

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