Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget expects to see a different Sottsass when he tackles the Prix Ganay next month.
Much attention surrounded the return of the four-year-old at ParisLongchamp on Monday, but the colt – who had only Waldgeist and Enable in front of in last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – failed to fire in the Prix d’Harcourt.
Sent off at odds on, he could not get in a serious blow at the business end and was ultimately two lengths adrift of Shaman.
Having had time to reflect, Rouget told Sky Sports Racing: “I think he is more relaxed than last year and maybe he was not himself in the morning, maybe too relaxed, so maybe he should have one work more to win, but he will win next time, normally.”
Sottsass hit the headlines last season in upsetting Persian King in the Prix du Jockey Club and Rouget has a contender for this year’s edition of the French Derby in the shape of Port Guillaume, who impressed in a conditions race at Saint-Cloud on Tuesday.
Rouget said: “The Jockey Club is a target with him, I don’t know if he runs once more before or if we go straight to the big race, knowing we have plenty of races during the summer and autumn.”
Rouget also has a leading chance in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) with Simeen, a stylish winner under Christophe Soumillon at Chantilly on Wednesday.
Rouget said: “Simeen won very easily twice at two and after that she did a little growing, so I let her be very quiet for the autumn. With this late start to the season it is not easy to prep the French Guineas, so I didn’t want to give her a hard race.
“Christophe did a good job with her. She won by the minimum and I hope she will be OK for the second race. That was the thing to do.”