Jean-Claude Rouget backs decision to retire Sottsass

Italian jockey Cristian Demuro (R) is congratulated by French trainer Jean-Claude Rouget as they celebrate after victory on Sottsass in The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Image: Jean-Claude Rouget - backed decision to retire Sottsass

Jean-Claude Rouget believes the decision to retire Sottsass to stud so soon after his victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp is the right one.

The four-year-old colt ended the leading French trainer's long wait to win the European middle-distance championship, 12 months on from his third placed finish behind Waldgeist and Enable.

He was able to better that on Sunday, emerging victorious from In Swoop and Persian King, with Enable back in sixth place.

Rouget admitted after the race he did not know if his star would be seen again and it emerged on Monday evening that the Siyouni colt - in whom Coolmore purchased a 50 per cent share in January - would not run at the Breeders' Cup and had indeed been retired.

"He's a good looking horse with a good temperament, a classy horse and goes to stud in the best way after a great win in the Arc," said Rouget.

"The decision has been made now as they want to protect him for a stallion career and I think it was best not to go to the Breeders' Cup as the track would have been too sharp for him.

"He is quite a big horse with a big action. It would have been a risk."

Rouget's training is based on a long-term approach and it paid huge dividends with Sottsass.

"I go slowly with my horses. He was promising after he had a bad trip first time out," he said.

"He won his second race easily. He had a bad race first time out at three and, after he won his Listed race easily, he won the Prix du Jockey Club.

"The Arc was the target this year. It was not easy with Covid to do good planning, but we do it and we did well.

"I am very happy for him not to run again. He was a very courageous horse."

Sottsass won six of his 12 career outings, including last year's French Derby (Prix du Jockey Club) and the Prix Ganay in June this year, with his three top-level wins all coming in the hands of Cristian Demuro.

He travelled to Ireland in September, where he stayed on well at the end of the mile and a quarter to take fourth place behind Magical in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

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