Sottsass had his entire season planned around the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – the race he finished third in last year.
He not only reversed form with legendary mare Enable at Longchamp in Paris but prevailed in a renewal where French horses were the first five home.
This was an Arc not without controversy, however. Aidan O’Brien had no option but to withdraw his four Ballydoyle raiders after it emerged they had eaten contaminated feed.
With the Irish challenge absent, the first two with British bookmakers were John Gosden duo Enable and Stradivarius. The six-year-old pair found themselves squeezed out when a concertina effect played out as major gamble Persian King tired.
That led to a stewards’ inquiry, but the result – Sottsass scoring by a neck from Grand Prix de Paris runner-up In Swoop – stood.
This was some training performance from Jean-Claude Rouget. Sottsass came into the Arc on the back of two defeats, losing to mudlark Skaletti under a penalty in a Group 3 and then finishing fourth in the Irish Champion Stakes.
Analysis: Crawl and sprint suited Sottsass and home team in Arc
Jamie Clark, Horsebetting.com Editor
More than once this season, I questioned the wisdom of what Rouget was doing with Sottsass. Who am I to disagree with an Arc winning trainer?
They ducked the Juddmonte International at York to run at Deauville and got turned over. The combination of bottomless ground and the penalty was somewhat embarrassing.
Despite that, and finishing out of the frame on Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown, Rouget’s plan with Sottsass paid off.
The lightly-raced In Swoop wasn’t suited by the way this Arc panned out. Persian King was a fading third on his first try over the trip. Unusual prep or not, you have to hand it to Sottsass whose victory has been a year in the making.
Meanwhile, Have we seen the last of Enable? Gosden hinted maybe not in a post-race interview with Sky Sports. She doesn’t owe anyone anything.
Running Stradivarius in the Arc always felt like pandering to owner Bjorn Nielsen’s whim. He has always needed further but, such is the weakness of the staying division, keeping him in training could pay in 2021.
For evidence of that, look no further than ante post odds of 2/1 with William Hill for a fourth Ascot Gold Cup next year. Whatever happens, Stradivarius and Enable have both been magnificent servants to their stable.