Almanzor is not for catching in the Irish Champion StakesPICTURE: Alain Barr (racingpost.com/photos)
Rouget still preferring Ascot for Almanzor
JEAN-CLAUDE ROUGET has warned he is still not persuaded of the case for diverting impressive Irish Champion Stakes winner Almanzor to the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Almanzor is second favourite for the Arc behind Postponed, with his price ranging between 3-1 and 6-1, following his defeat of Found and Minding at Leopardstown, an occasion Rouget described on Sunday as “an incredible high”.
Rouget’s plan had been to send Almanzor to Leopardstown and then to Ascot for the Qipco Champion Stakes, while keeping dual Classic winner La Cressonniere – who is in the same joint-ownership of Gerard Augustin-Normand and Antonio Caro – for the Arc.
Reflecting on Almanzor’s devastating performance in Ireland, he said: “It was an incredible high, especially as I had a hard time believing he’d win beforehand. The horse was unbelievable and so relaxed throughout the race, while Christophe [Soumillon] rode him perfectly.
“He produced two bursts of acceleration like always, and to beat Found, with Minding a couple of lengths further back, was a great performance.”
He added: “A lot of people are in a reflective mood on the question of the Arc. The first idea is usually the best.”
La Cressonniere is a general 7-1 chance for the Arc, while Almanzor is favourite for the Ascot showpiece, with prices ranging from 3-1 to 6-1.