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French Derby winner Almanzor heading for Champions Day

15 Jul 2016

Jean-Claude Rouget says colt is a ten-furlong specialist and will resist running him in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

Rouget says Almanzor hasn’t had a hard year so far and has set his sights on Ascot this autumn. Picture: Racingfotos.com

French Derby winner Almanzor is being targeted at the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot on British Champions Day.

Jean-Claude Rouget, trainer of the Wootton Basset colt, has dominated in France this summer and seems certain to be crowned champion at the expense of Andre Fabre.

Rouget already has one QIPCO British Champions triumph under his belt this year, courtesy of  Qemah landing the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. Now he is eyeing more glory at the Berkshire venue on October 15.

“He seems like a specialist over 2,000 metres [1m 2f] so he will make his comeback in the Prix Guillaume d’Ornano at Deauville on August 15 in preparation for the Irish Champion Stakes on September 10,” Rouget told the Racing Post.

“He will go on from Ireland to run at Ascot in the Champion Stakes if everything goes well. He hasn’t had a hard year so far and I think he should have the reserves to run through the autumn, though we must see where he sits when he faces the older horses and he must run well first in the Guillaume d’Ornano.”

Almanzor beat 15 rivals in commanding style in the Prix du Jockey Club but whether he stays in training next season has yet to be decided. Rouget said: “Depending on what he does this autumn we will discuss whether he is retired to stud at the end of the year or kept in training at four.”