Almanzor in French triumph at Ascot

October 17, 2016

Racegoers at Ascot were able to enjoy a superb meeting at the weekend, with France's  winning the Champion Stakes on Saturday (October 15th).

Ridden by Christophe Soumillon, the 11-8 favourite regained some French pride at the expense of Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Found, who came second. The finish between the two was a thriller, with Found chasing down Almanzor in the closing stages and pulling level before fading in the final run for the line. Jack Hobbs was third.

It was just one of several thrilling races on Britain's richest raceday, prompting BBC commentator Cornelius Lysaght to describe it as "probably the best ever flat racing day in Britain."

Found's trainer Aiden O'Brien may not have achieved a double with that horse, but he enjoyed victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, where Ryan Moore rode Minding to a seventh Group One win of the season, which has included races such as the 1000 Guineas, Oaks and Nassau Stake.

This took O'Brien to 21 Group One flat victories this year, four shy of the all-time record held by Bobby Frankel. He said of Minding: "It's unbelievable, she's an incredible filly. A filly who can get a mile and a half and then go and do that."

Having enjoyed huge success at Ascot down the years, racegoers booking corporate hospitality for next year's Royal Ascot will be keen to see how well O'Brien does then.

Elsewhere, former Frankel rider Tom Queally rode Tin Man to victory in the Champion Sprint Stakes, while Frankie Dettori was back in the winner's enclosure after victory in the Fillies and Mares Stakes aboard the John Gosden-trained Journey.

Speaking after Journey had held off Speedy Boarding, Dettori said: "I couldn't believe her turn of foot. She picked up like she had rollerskates."

Coming just weeks after the veteran Italian jockey marked the 20th anniversary of his unprecedented seven wins in one day, it was proof that Dettori has still got it. Indeed, he may be one of the big draws at Royal Ascot next summer.

For now, however, racegoers have been able to revel in a magnificent autumn meeting that showcased flat racing at its very best.

By Alex Brundell 

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