IT has been a fascinating season in France, although the year began in a disastrous way for Jean-Claude Rouget when an outbreak of equine herpes forced the Pau-based trainer to move over 50 of his horses into a quarantine barn.

Among them was the outstanding Almanzor. The winner of the Prix du Jockey Club and both the English and Irish Champion Stakes was being aimed for a tilt at the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe but he never recovered from his setback in the spring.