White Birch Farm’s Sottsass (FR) brought home a 1-2-3-4-5 for France in the 2020 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triopmphe (G1) as supermare Enable (GB) could only finish sixth on very testing ground conditions at ParisLongchamp. The winner gained an automatic place in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is comprised of more than 80 international stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into corresponding races of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 6-7.
The Arc de Triomphe was the centerpiece of five Breeders’ Cup Challenge races on Sunday at ParisLongchamp. (Race reports appear below).
There was a significant disappointment overnight as it was announced that all horses trained by Aidan O’Brien and his two sons, Donnacha and Joseph, were to be withdrawn due to a batch of contaminated feed. A total of 11 horses were declared non-runners on the card, including four — Mogul (GB), Japan (GB), Serpentine (IRE) and Sovereign (IRE) — in the Arc.
Third in the race last year, Sottsass provided both trainer Jean-Claude Rouget and jockey Cristian Demuro with their first success in the race.
In the absence of the four Aidan O’Brien horses, an unusually small field of 11 went to post. The small field meant that Pierre-Charles Boudot was able to dictate a slow pace on Persian King (IRE) with the eventual winner sitting just behind the leader. As the field turned into the straight, Sottsass accelerated in good style and stayed on well to beat In Swoop (IRE), with Persian King holding on for third. A number of horses encountered interference as the pace quickened in the straight. As a result, a stewards’ inquiry was immediately called -– but following a short deliberation, the placings remained unaltered.
Sottsass Wins Arc
Sottsass won his second race in five starts this year. He captured the Prix Ganay (G1) at Chantilly on June 14. He was second by a neck to Skalleti (FR) in the Prix Gontaut-Biron Hong Kong Jockey Club (G3) at Deauville on Aug. 15, and was fourth in the Irish Champion Stakes (G1) at Leopardstown on Sept. 12.
Rouget said after the race: “Just after the race last year we thought he was a horse made for this race. Between the Ganay (in June) it was a long time. When we ran in Deauville he was a bit fat and Skalleti (FR) is a very good horse. He is a Group 1 horse on soft ground, but we had to run in that race instead of going to York for the Juddmonte International.”
Rouget continued: “The choice to go to Leopardstown (Irish Champion Stakes) was tough, too, and not the (Prix) Foy (at ParisLongchamp). We chose to run him over a shorter distance to give him speed. I think that was a good choice. All was made to have the horse 100 percent today. The result is there!”
He added: “Sottsass is owned in association with Coolmore. I do not know if he will run again, but it is not the question for today. Whether the horse retires is not my decision.”
A half-brother to 2018 Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) winner Sistercharlie (IRE), Sottsass a chestnut son of Siyouni (FR) out of the Galileo (IRE) mare Starlet’s Sister (IRE), finished the 1 ½ miles in 2:39:30 over a course listed as heavy.
Enable Comes Up Short
Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Enable, chasing history for a third victory in the race, she suffered interference when the pace quickened and couldn’t accelerate in the heavy ground. Her jockey Frankie Dettori said: “It was too deep (the ground), it killed her action.”
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Enable’s owner Khalid Abdullah said: “She just wasn’t able to go on the ground, really and truly. She’s had a good position. Frankie’s been happy with her but she just couldn’t pick up like we’d normally expect her to.
“We’ll see how she is when she gets back and talk to (trainer) John (Gosden) and Prince Khalid and make a plan. There will be no decisions [on retirement] at this stage.”
Gosden, who watched the race from Newmarket, added: “Teddy and I will, as usual, report to Prince Khalid (Abdullah) and he’ll make all decisions about what she is to do next, whether she’ll retire or have one more race. We’re only just into the Autumn after all, but that will be entirely Prince Khalid’s decision.”