Sotts proves he is no ass - Prix du Jockey Club

  • Sotts proves he is no ass - Prix du Jockey Club
  • Sotts proves he is no ass - Prix du Jockey Club
  • Sotts proves he is no ass - Prix du Jockey Club
  • Sotts proves he is no ass - Prix du Jockey Club
  • Sotts proves he is no ass - Prix du Jockey Club

Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget proved himself to be a modern master for the Chantilly Classics once again when Sottsass flew home under ‘super sub’ Cristian Demuro to defeat hot favourite Persian King in record breaking time when landing the 2100m Prix du Jockey Club. Rouget himself actually missed the race after being taken ill earlier on a swelteringly hot day, but was well enough to celebrate the victory from hospital. The trainer was actually celebrating his fourth Prix du Jockey Club winner and a third in just four years. There were at least two ecstatic men on hand to lift the mood, namely winning owner Peter Brandt and Demuro, who only came in for the ride during the week when Christophe Soumillon was claimed for Zarkallani, and who was adding to his previous success in the race two years ago aboard the Rouget-trained Brametot. “It’s very emotional to have won one Jockey Club so a second, which to tell the truth wasn’t expected, is wonderful,” said Demuro. “I was down to ride another horse but then HH the Aga Khan decided to run his horse and Jean-Claude Rouget once again showed faith in me. Really it’s a dream.” Described by Rouget’s long serving assistant Jean-Bernard Roth as ‘a divine jockey’, Demuro was able to save valuable ground on the rail before finding a deluxe tow into the race on straightening up. “Without really trying I found myself directly behind Persian King and he took me into the race with his acceleration,” said Demuro. “I knew he was the horse to beat and once I was past him it was easy.” Asked about his blossoming association with Rouget, Demuro said: “More and more it feels like family to me and I think that’s my fifth Group One for Jean-Claude. I feel very lucky to get the call on a horse like him.” For Brandt, it was a case of keeping it in the family, since Sottsass, whose previous win came on very soft ground but which crucially gave him experience of Chantilly’s Piste du Jockey Club, was purchased at Arqana in the wake of his half-sister, Breeders’ Cup heroine Sistercharlie, flying the flag for the owner’s White Birch Farm. “His sister was in the Prix de Diane and found a lot of trouble when she was beaten,” said Brandt. “She hasn’t been beaten many times since. I was glad to be here and this is just a great, great moment. It’s one of the greatest days I’ve had and that includes the Breeders’ Cup.”

While it will be a recuperating Rouget who plots a course for Sottsass, Brandt confirmed that his French Derby winner would be staying here in Europe in preference to a transfer to Chad Brown’s barn in the US. “I can tell you that the Arc is one of the races I most want to win,” said Brandt. “My first time at the Arc was nearly 50 years ago with Ivanjica and I’ve spent a lot of time dreaming about having another Arc horse.” Pierre-Charles Boudot was obliged to burn plenty of petrol from his wide draw aboard Persian King but still looked to be full of running two out as he came to tackle leader Motamarris, who tried gamely to make all in the Sheikh Hamdan silks, before watching Sottsass breeze past him. “I come back to my first thought which is that he didn’t stay,” said Andre Fabre who saddled Persian King. “He was travelling well with 2f to go and then tired at the end. He was beaten by a class horse.” Fabre indicated that the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville might be next for Persian King. Freddy Head was delighted with the performance of the inexperienced Motamarris, who helped cut out the pace and stayed on well for third, holding off Cape Of Good Hope and Ryan Moore. Head said: “I wasn’t sure he’d have the pace for a Jockey Club and what he’s done today is quite something, because I think he’ll get a mile and a half. We’ve seen a very good renewal today.” Earlier on the card, Aspetar shrugged off a moderate performance at ParisLongchamp and his trainer Roger Charlton’s fears over the fast ground to land the 2400m Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly. The win was a major feather in the cap for Aspetar’s sire Al Kazeem, on whom James Doyle, aboard Aspetar, enjoyed plenty of good days. “Pierre-Charles Boudot rode him previously and he said he would be fine because last time the ground was a bit sticky,” said Doyle. “It’s nice to sit on a nice one by Al Kazeem, I haven’t ridden too many of them.” Over the same course and distance but restricted to 3yo fillies, the Group 3 Prix de Royaumont was won by Pelligrina, completing a double for Andre Fabre, following Inns Of Court’s triumph for Godolphin in the Prix du Gros-Chene on his first try at 1000m. “He’ll go to Royal Ascot for the Diamond Jubilee over 1200m,” said Fabre. “He’s probably finding his way now over shorter distances and that makes him a nice, easy ride. Over a mile you had to have him covered up and he didn’t enjoy it so much.” Royal Ascot may not be on the cards for Obligate but she was nonetheless impressive in fighting off Pure Zen to record a third win in as many starts for Pascal Bary and Khalid Abdullah, making all under Pierre-Charles Boudot to shatter a 16 year race record in the 1600m Prix de Sandringham, another contest just for the 3yo fillies. In doing so she completed a fine couple of days for her sire Frankel, who was also responsible for Investec Oaks heroine Anapurna. “She was pretty courageous to make all again and I gather she’s done it in a record time,” said Juddmonte racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe. “I think Ascot will probably come too soon so we would look at either the Jean Prat or the Prix Rothschild at Deauville.”

 

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    HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

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