Ace Impact extended his winning run following another outstanding display to claim the 2023 Prix de I’Arc de Triomphe.
The three-year-old went into the French showpiece with some people questioning just how good the colt was, despite five victories in a row, but went off as the 19/10 favourite.
Ridden by Cristian Demuro, Ace Impact was held up at the rear in the early stages of the 1m 4f contest, before being switched out wide with 2f left to run.
The Prix du Jockey Club winner then hit the front with a furlong remaining, before being driven clear and stayed on well to beat the Ralph Beckett-trained Westover, eventually winning by 1¾ lengths.
That victory made it six wins on the spin for the Jean-Claude Rouget charge, having gone to Longchamp off the back of success Group 2 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano at Deauville.
Despite being off the track for 72 days, the colt - by Cracksman and Absolutely Me - shone in the August victory at Deauville.
That ¾-length win is his narrowest margin of success to date, having won the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club by 3½ lengths over Big Rock at Chantilly.
The performance at Longchamp though has left pundits and spectators purring and his trainer also handing out high praise for a very special horse.
Speaking after the Arc victory, Rouget stated: "We always say they're the best when a new horse comes along, but I think he has the strongest acceleration I've seen.
"In racing you never know what can happen, even if you are confident. My last reflection before the start of the race was that it was too good to be true. Yet it was true!"
Ace Impact, who collected £2.5million for the Group 1 Longchamp success, has now won over distances from 1m 1½f up to 1m 4f.
There are big decisions now facing connections, with the owners and trainer set to discuss whether Ace Impact will race again.
Jockey Demuro has already said he hopes the horse remains in training for the next year, but there is also talk of him being a stallion prospect.
Joint-owners Gousserie Racing and Ecuries Serge Stempniak are yet to make a judgement on what the future holds, but there looks to be at least a couple of options for the three-year-old if he is to appear on the track again.
The Champion Stakes takes place on Saturday 21stt October at Ascot and Ace Impact is currently available to back at 13/2.
The 1m 2f contest, for which £1.2million prize money is up for grabs, has been won by the likes of Frankel, Cracksman and fellow French runner Almanzor.
Another option for connections is the Japan Cup, which takes place in Tokyo at the end of November over 1m ½f.
Ace Impact is also available at 8/1 to win the 2024 Prix de I’Arc de Triomphe, which would see him look to emulate the back-to-back victories of Enable in 2017 and 2018.