Views on the Arc: trainer Jean-Claude Rouget talks horses

30 September 2020

Views on the Arc: trainer Jean-Claude Rouget talks horses


The 2020 season hasn’t been easy for anyone. Jean-Claude Rouget, owing to the difficulties of racing being halted owing to the Covid-19 crisis, has had difficulty in cranking up his champion Sotsass: third in last year’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

He said: "I’m of the opinion that Sottsass is on much better terms with himself at this stage of the season. His race in Ireland did him a power of good. He should give a good account of himself on Sunday. As things stand, I have in the same condition as last year; so I’m rediscovering the same horse as I did in the lead up to the 2019 race. This year, I haven’t managed to get in the same condition as now owing to a racing calendar which has been perturbed by the pandemic. However, neither have I wished to go overboard, so as to ensure that that he’s a fresh horse come the Arc, which has always been his objective. He knows the score, having acquitted himself well in the race last season, so he has the right to be concerned at the finish again. I share the opinion that he hasn’t shown the required level of form to win the Arc this season, but I believe that he will run well and finish in the first three."

Sottsass worked with Raabihah – another Arc candidate trained by Jean-Claude Rouget – at Deauville on Tuesday.

The handler added: "Sottsass and Raabihah both worked well this morning (read Tuesday). Raabihah is similarly in peak condition. Our only question mark is the ground. This isn’t in the sense that she would be inconvenienced by a heavy track; for we simply don’t know as she has yet to tackle very soft conditions."


Jean-Claude Rouget’s Arc record

12 runners.

Still waiting for a first win.

Best showing: 3rd (2019)

2019      Sottsass                              3rd

2019      Soft Light                          6th

2017      Brametot                            5th

2015      Prince Gibraltar                 7th 

2014      Prince Gibraltar                 7th 

2014      Avenir Certain                   11th

2010      Behkabad                          4th

2009      Stacelita                             7th

2005      Windya                              Unplaced

2004      Silverskaya                        8th

2000      Hésiode                             9th

1994      Millkom                            9th

The trainer has also outlined his other running plans for the weekend.

On Sunday he will also be running Tawkeel in the Prix de l’Opéra Longines …

He said: "Tawkeel worked well this morning and did it all very easily. She doesn’t share that characteristic that has bedevilled other members of the same family that I’ve trained, in the sense that they’ve made flying starts to their career which they haven’t backed up. She, on the contrary, has done nothing but progress and, each time, she has astonished me. In the Opéra, we will be seeking to maintain her unbeaten record."

Continuing on the Sunday theme, Cœursamba has been earmarked for the Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac - Critérium des Pouliches.

"Cœursamba is a generous filly. After her third place in the Prix d’Aumale, she should be capable of running well. She has more on her plate – that’s for sure – but she’s deserving of her place in this field, and I believe that she has ability to be concerned at the finish."




On the eve of the Arc, Glycon will go for the Qatar Prix Dollar. "Glycon is in peak condition! He acts well in heavy ground. So the rains that are forecast this week are clearly to his advantage. Unraced as a juvenile, he raced very little as a three-year-old, and his four-year-old campaign has hardly been taxing! He has a lot of leeway to make up! I’m of the opinion that he has a very good chance on Saturday."



The Prix Haras de Bouquetot - Critérium de la Vente d’Octobre Arqana, also run on Saturday, has attracted Jean-Claude Rouget’s Pouvoir Royal. "He’s a horse which I like a lot. He easily opened his account at La Teste on August 15th. He’s primed to run a good race in the Critérium."