Almanzor Long Awaited Return At Deauville Tuesday
Almanzor makes his long awaited return to action in the Prix Gontaut-Biron Hong Kong Jockey Club at Deauville .
Jean-Claude Rouget's brilliant colt won five of his six starts last season including top-level victories in the French Derby at Chantilly, the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and the Champion Stakes at Ascot. His reappearance has been delayed, with Rouget not 100 per cent happy with his charge earlier in the campaign, but he returns at Group Three level on Tuesday.
Sylvain Vidal, racing manager for part-owner Gerard Augustin-Normand, said: "It's a very big day. We'll see what happens, but it's exciting. He worked very well last week. Jean-Claude is very happy with the horse."
Almanzor once again holds entries in the Irish Champion and the Champion Stakes, but connections are keen not to look too far ahead. "We don't want to make plans until after he runs," Vidal added.
Almanzor, currently second favourite for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe behind Enable, faces just five rivals, with Rouget also fielding Zafiro. Fellow home runners are Garlingari, Subway Dancer and Alignement. The only British-trained runner is Chris Wall's First Sitting, who was last seen finishing third in the Group Three La Coupe at Chantilly in June. Wall is confident of a bold showing from his charge. He said: "The horse is in very good form and the ground and everything will suit him. It's obviously not ideal to be taking on Almanzor, especially as the conditions of the race mean we have to give him a kilo. I don't think we've ever had our horse better, so I'd be hopeful he'll run very well and get a place at worst. If Almanzor is a bit rusty and doesn't run up to his best, we might be able to upset him, but we'll see."