Ascot: Almanzor beats Found to claim $1.6 million Champion Stakes

Christophe Soumillon celebrates riding Almanzor to victory in The Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Story highlights

  • Almanzor wins $1.6m Champion Stakes
  • Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Found is second

(CNN)Almanzor claimed the £1.3 million ($1.6 million) Champion Stakes jackpot Saturday, beating rival Found in the showpiece race on QIPCO British Champions Day.

Found and rider Ryan Moore came into the race on a high, having won the prestigious Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe 10 days ago.
    But Almanzor lived up to his ranking as Europe's top-rated horse, blowing away the rest of the field with a blistering two-length victory.
    Jean-Claude Rouget, the French horse's trainer, described Almanzor as "a super horse" following the win.
    "The pace of the race was a bit too slow to begin with but, at the four-furlong post, the race started to get faster," Rouget told reporters.
    "It's not like in France, because sometimes you are blocked, because the pace is so slow but here, it is easier to find a gap at the important time."
    Rouget made the decision to pull Almanzor from the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, opting to run the colt in what he believes is the horse's favored 10 furlong distance at Ascot.
    Although, rider Christophe Soumillon believes Almanzor has what it takes to win the mile-and-a-half Prix.
    "He's an amazing horse. Everything you do with him looks easy and he's shown how good he is," he said. "He was nearly unbeatable all year and he's getting smarter and smarter.
    "We've never tried a mile and a half with him, but I'm sure he'll stay," added Soumillon. "He's a strong horse and very versatile.
    "He's a champion."
    While Almanzor is set for a winter break, Found might still defend her Breeders' Cup Turf title, although trainer Aidan O'Brien -- who enjoyed a one-two-three at last week's Prix -- said he was "not sure" his horse would run in the US race.
    Meanwhile, local lad Jim Crowley was crowned Stobart Champion Flat Jockey for the first time.
    The 38-year-old, who was born across the road from Ascot Racecourse, was given the award for being the jockey who rode the most winners on British turf and all-weather tracks over the season.
    "Ascot's a very special place for me," said Crowley.
    The moment was made all the more special with the presence of his wife, Lucinda, his three children his mother and his mother-in-law Jan Harwood, as well as extended family and friends.
    "My mum is obviously quite proud, and I think my kids are too -- they never took much of an interest in racing and now they are glued to it," he said.
    "I was on Radio 2 the other day and they thought that was really cool on the way to school. They think I am cool at the moment, but that will soon change!"
    Despite the success, he said the year has been difficult for his family -- but their support has never wavered.
    "It's been very tough for my wife because I'm never at home, and everybody thinks she's a single parent, but fair play, my family has been right behind me.
    "Lucinda looked at me a couple of weeks ago and said, 'You've come this far, you're not finishing second now!' She's been very supportive."