Third in last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Sottsass made no mistake twelve months on to provide Jean-Claude Rouget with his first Arc.
History Still Made
It might not have been the history we were expecting, but Sottsass‘ Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victory wrote a new name into the history book. Jean-Claude Rouget, one of France’s leading trainers, finally took his deserved place alongside Europe’s best.
It was an Arc like no other, with an almost empty Longchamp provided with a messy and dramatic contest. Persian King, on the step up in distance, was allowed to set steady fractions, with the field bunching up approaching the 300-metre pole.
Sottsass and Cristian Demuro, who had followed Pierre-Charles Boudot on Persian King throughout the contest, switched out just as Gold Trip, under Stephane Pasquier, was drifting in from the near side. Chachnak, Enable and Stradivarius were all the meat in the sandwich, with the former hampered the most.
Sottsass ultimately showed the best turn of foot at a crucial stage, gliding through the mud and holding off a late surge from In Swoop. It was a game effort by Francis-Henri Graffard’s Germany Derby winner, who relished conditions as expected and went down by a narrow margin.
A super ride from Cristian Demuro, there were scenes of elation post-race, as even a steward’s enquiry couldn’t take the sheen off a fantastic and well-earned success.
It was the culmination of a career that had promised plenty, with the 2019 French Derby winner always looking as though he was destined for greatness. That feat has certainly been achieved.
Not to be for Enable
Despite being hampered, you couldn’t suggest that Enable was ever going to win an historic third Arc. She looked to have travelled well enough into the contest, but she found herself in trouble after lacking a crucial gear change at the 300-metre pole. It was that lack of an extra gear, that brought her into the melee and put the final nail into her chances.
It was a perhaps underwhelming end to her career, but it’s impossible to take away from what she’s achieved. The fact that, at the age of six, she was attempting such a feat shows just how special she is. She’ll rightly be remember as a superstar, but today belongs to Jean-Claude Rouget, Cristian Dumero and Sottsass.