Ascot no problem for Almanzor

Jean-Claude Rouget expects the demands of Ascot to bring out the best in Almanzor in Saturday's Qipco Champion Stakes.

Christophe Soumillon celebrates after riding Almanzor

The French Derby hero beat his elders for the first time when seeing off subsequent Arc heroine Found in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown last month and a rematch could be on the cards.

Almanzor showed thrilling acceleration to score in Ireland, but Rouget is keeping his cards close to his chest regarding what tactics will be employed this weekend.

He said: "Almanzor's a very good traveller, and the plan is that he'll come over on his own in the lorry on Thursday to give him a little time to acclimatise to Ascot.

"I believe he will like Ascot, which resembles our French racecourses more than Newmarket does with its undulations, although I won (the Champion Stakes) there with Literato.

"As far as tactics go, I'll wait to see what we will employ when I know more about the draw.

"It's something that will be decided at the last minute with his connections."

Aidan O'Brien will make a decision on whether Found will turn out less than a fortnight after her Chantilly success later this week.

The Ballydoyle maestro has a wealth of options on Champions Day, with Found in both the Champion Stakes and the Fillies & Mares Stakes.

Minding, a four-time Group One winner this term, is in both races and has the added option of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

O'Brien expects owners Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and John Magnier to make their plan of action in midweek, but Found and Minding are likely to be split up.

"Found likes a nice clear-run race and doesn't run over a mile and a half very often," the trainer told At The Races.

"She's a Group One winner over a mile, a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half. She's a really special mare.

"The lads (owners) are going to talk about it, probably on Wednesday, and will decide what to do then. Found has two options and Minding has three.

"It looks like the ground is going to be nice and we'll see what they decide."

Having an embarrassment of riches as he seeks to improve on his 20 Group One triumphs this year, O'Brien has other star fillies to slot in at Ascot should they be needed.

He has Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks heroine Seventh Heaven in the Fillies & Mares while Alice Springs, who has been successful three times at the top level this season, was confirmed for the QEII.

"It's possible Alice Springs could go to the Breeders' Cup, but a lot is going to depend on where Minding is going to go," said O'Brien.

"Whenever we know what way the lads are going to go with Minding then the others will slot into different other places.

"She has had a run in Newmarket so she doesn't have to run. She could go straight on to America if she didn't make this weekend.

"It the ground wasn't good Seventh Heaven wouldn't be there. With the ground being good there's a possibility she'd go to the Fillies and Mares. That's the only option at the weekend, so it's very possible she could go there.

"If she did, she could go on to America after that."

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