Almanzor and Found on course for dream rematch in QIPCO Champion Stakes
10 Oct 2016
Star-studded cast set for £1.3 million Champions Day feature
Almanzor and Found, who had six other Group 1 winners behind when dominating the finish of the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown last month, remain on course for a rematch in the £1.3 million QIPCO Champion Stakes. The latter has since landed the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly, when her trainer, Aidan O’Brien, made history by saddling the first three home.
The pair head a tremendous 19-strong entry for the richest mile and a quarter race in Europe. Recent winners include the mighty Frankel, who won the 2012 renewal on his final start before being retired to stud, having won all 14 of his races.
In addition to Found, O’Brien, who has already enjoyed nine triumphs in this year’s 35-race QIPCO British Champion Series, has left the door open for Long Island Sound, Minding, Highland Reel and US Army Ranger to take part.
The first four home in last year’s running – Fascinating Rock, Found, Jack Hobbs and Racing History – remain possibles and, in total, there are ten Group 1 winners still entered. Between them, they have won 22 races at the highest level.
John Gosden, trainer of Jack Hobbs, said:
“He’s in great form and we’re very pleased to hopefully have him back on Saturday. The field is not only deep but very strong and I don’t think that we’re under any illusions. I thought that Almanzor’s performance in the Irish Champion was undoubtedly the best performance of any three-year-old this year, in fact any horse in Europe this year. I thought it was quite scintillating, his acceleration, so I see him clearly as the horse to beat.
“With 19 around there, if they all stand their ground, you’re going to have to have a bit of luck in running. Jack Hobbs has strengthened well, he’s had the summer off, and actually it’s given him time to develop. Given his sire, they get better with age and I think that the time has benefited him enormously.
“He’s in great order for it, a mile and a quarter is no problem for him and he’s not a type that’s ring-rusty. He won very well first time up as a three-year-old, but we’re aware that we are coming back in a fantastic renewal of the race.”
Kevin Buckley, UK Representative for Coolmore Stud, said of Found and the other O’Brien horses:
“Aidan’s still got to put the finishing touches to his preparations tomorrow and Wednesday, and then he will discuss everything with Mr Magnier, Mr Tabor and Mr Smith.
“Found ran in the Arc, Champion Stakes and Breeders’ Cup last year and hopefully she’ll do it again this year and hopefully go one better on Saturday.
O’Brien who is enjoying another incredible season, even by his lofty standards is on track to beat Bobby Frankel’s record of 25 Group 1s in a season. Buckley said:
“I hope he can beat the record but it’s a big ask, the record has stood for a long time, but with the options of the races on Saturday, and with Canada, the Racing Post Trophy, and taking races in America into consideration it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility.”
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