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Almanzor retired after disappointing Deauville reappearance

Almanzor: last year's champion three-year-old has been retired to stud
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Almanzor, last year's champion three-year-old, has been retired after failing to fire on his seasonal return last week.

Winner of the French Derby, Champion Stakes and Irish Champion Stakes in 2016, Almanzor was kept in training at four with the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe his main aim this season.

However, trainer Jean-Claude Rouget has endured a difficult year, with an outbreak of the deadly EHV-1 virus in April in his barn, and Almanzor then suffered a physical setback the following month.

Speaking after the colt had finished a disappointing fifth of six in a Group 3 at Deauville last Tuesday, Rouget hinted the horse may have run his last race.

He said: "He rose to such heights at three it is difficult to get that back. People talk about racehorses like they are racing cars but if a car’s engine begins to tire, you take it out and replace it.

"You have to remember the best of times with him and they were really very good."

Almanzor's Group 1 triumphs

French Derby - June 5, 2016

Jean-Bernard Eyquem enjoyed a dream passage on the rail before unleashing Almanzor down the centre of the track, with the colt deploying what became his trademark turn of foot to defeat Zarak by a length and a half.

Irish Champion Stakes - September 10, 2016 

Taking on a field of the highest quality, Almanzor was anchored at the rear of the field by Christophe Soumillon, and the pair then powered down the outside of the field in the straight. Only Found could go with Almanzor, and in a thrilling finish it was the French raider who triumphed by three-quarters of a length.

Champion Stakes - October 15, 2016

Ascot staged a thrilling rematch between Almanzor and Found, with the last-named coming into the race off the back of victory in the Arc. But it was Almanzor who came out on top again, pulling clear decisively under Soumillon to win by two lengths.

Speaking late on Sunday night, Sylvain Vidal, racing manager for part-owner Gerard Augustin-Normand, said: "After consulting with Jean-Claude Rouget and the different partners, the difficult decision has been taken to call time on Almanzor's racing career.

"We made the choice to keep him in training at four with the hope of winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Unfortunately a variety of issues have prevented us from being able to consider this race in the right conditions.

"His three Group 1 victories – including his fantastic finish in the Irish Champion Stakes – are in everyone's memory. The best horse in Europe in 2016 with a rating of 129, he has huge potential today as a stallion. The details of his breeding career will be worked out and announced in the coming weeks."

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Unfortunately a variety of issues have prevented us from being able to consider this race in the right conditions

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