Almanzor displayed an impressive turn of foot when he charged from last to win the Group 1 QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown Sept. 10.
Settled at the rear of the field through the early stages of the race by jockey Christophe Soumillon, the 3-year-old son of Wootton Bassett was switched to the outside for a clear run with just over two furlongs remaining. Once in the clear, Almanzor hit the afterburners and swept up to battle Breeders' Cup Turf winner, Found, for the lead. The pair battled through the final furlong with Almanzor finally edging clear to win by three-quarters of a length.
Sent off at odds of 7-1, Almanzor defeated a field including eight individual Group 1 winners with 15 top-level successes between them.
Minding, ridden by Ryan Moore, found herself in traffic once again and had to settle for third, 2 3/4-lengths behind Found, who was ridden for the first time by Frankie Dettori. Dettori picked up the mount after Seamie Heffernan was injured riding Idaho in the G1 St. Leger at Doncaster.
Epsom Derby victor Harzand, making his first start in over two months, raced in sixth throughout the early stages before fading to finish eighth.
The Irish Champion is a “Win and You're In” for the G1 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf, earning Almanzor an entry-fees paid berth to the November race at Santa Anita Park in California.
The Irish Champion Stakes was the second Group 1 victory for Almanzor. The dark bay colt captured the G1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) in June.
Bred in France by Haras d'Etreham, Almanzor is out of Darkova, an unraced daughter of Maria's Mon. Darkova was bred and sold by H.H. the Aga Khan, and hails from the immediate family of champion Darjina.
Almanzor was purchased for €100,000 at the 2014 Arqana August yearling sale by Jean-Claude Rouget for owner Ecurie Antonio Caro.
Watch the race replay here:
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