Ascot preferred for Almanzor

Jean-Claude Rouget is leaning towards the Qipco Champion Stakes as Almanzor's next objective following his tremendous display at Leopardstown on Saturday.

The French Derby hero continued his winning run with victory in a fantastic renewal of the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes and while the leading trainer is not ruling out the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly next month, he is favouring another trip across the Channel and appearance on Champions Day on October 15.

Reflecting on his Leopardstown performance, Rouget said: "It was such a tough race. Before the race I thought he should be fourth favourite, but he did well.

"He is getting better and better. Since the Prix du Jockey Club he has climbed the steps.

"Ten furlongs for me is a good trip. For me the (best) option is the English race (Champion Stakes), because of the distance and we have two weeks more.

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"For now nothing is clear, I have to discus with the owners.

"If he was mine he would run at Ascot. He could run in the Arc next year."

Even if Almanzor appears unlikely to line up in Europe's premier middle-distance prize, Rouget still has a major contender in the form of brilliant filly La Cressonniere.

The daughter of Le Havre has won each of her eight starts to date including Classic triumphs in both the French 1000 Guineas and the French Oaks.

"She is fine in Deauville with my other horses and is preparing for the Arc. She is very fresh and very good shape," said Rouget.

"She is a great champion. All she does comes easy to her."

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