Almanzor denies Found in Irish Champion; Alice Springs back to best in Matron

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

September 10th, 2016

French Derby (G1) hero Almanzor uncorked a devastating rally from the rear to collar Found in a vintage Irish Champion (G1) Saturday at Leopardstown.

Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget and ridden by Christophe Soumillon, the 7-1 chance earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). But connections have a more pressing decision to make – stick to his comfort zone of 10 furlongs for the October 15 Champion (G1) at Ascot, or try him over 12 furlongs in the October 2 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe?

Aidan O’Brien’s Found, who was finishing second in this race for the second straight year, is reportedly Arc-bound. Her younger stablemate, six-time Group 1 star Minding, was further back in third after a difficult trip. New Bay fared best of the older males in fourth.

The biggest disappointment of the race was dual classic winner Harzand, only eighth as the 2-1 favorite. The Aga Khan homebred was reportedly struck into early in the race, so perhaps his performance wasn't as bad as it first looked.


O’Brien was able to celebrate one big win, on an otherwise tough day at the office, when Alice Springs zoomed from last to dominate the Matron (G1). Although a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), the trainer indicated that her Santa Anita target could be the Mile (G1).


Saturday was more a day for Ballydoyle blues. Idaho, the odds-on favorite in the St Leger (G1) at Doncaster, stumbled just as he was full of run behind the leaders, and unseated Seamie Heffernan. Both horse and rider appeared to be OK immediately afterward, but Heffernan was transported to the hospital for further evaluation.

On a happier note, 22-1 outsider Harbour Law got up late to make history for trainer Laura Mongan, the first woman to send out a St Leger winner. Jockey George Baker was also earning his first classic win.


The Ballydoyle battalion suffered another blow a few minutes later at Leopardstown, with hotpot Douglas Macarthur fading to third in the Champions Juvenile (G3) and denting his reputation as an early 2017 Derby (G1) favorite. Instead, it was the Ken Condon-trained Landfall who sprang the upset in this “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). Landfall's a longshot to try Santa Anita, however, since Condon told that he'll likely call it a season now.


Two other O’Brien favorites, US Army Ranger and Hit It a Bomb, were likewise upended on Irish Champion Day. The well-regarded mare Zhukova got the jump on the deep-closing US Army Ranger in the ensuing Enterprise S. (G3), and Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) star Awtaad left Hit It a Bomb back in third in the Boomerang (G2).