The French handler has guided Goldikova, Moonlight Cloud and Charm Spirit to multiple Group One victories but the progress of Solow, since finishing sixth over nearly two miles just over a year ago, has been nothing short of startling.
He came to real prominence with a wide-margin win in Dubai and while subsequent victories in the Prix d’Ispahan and Queen Anne Stakes proved that was no fluke, he was supposed to have his mettle tested against dual Guineas winner Gleneagles on the Downs.
However, come Monday morning and declaration time Aidan O’Brien had withdrawn his three-year-old due to rain at the weekend, a decision which looked more baffling with each drying hour, although the Ballydoyle trainer insisted he had no regrets.
Maxime Guyon kept things simple, tracking Peter Chapple-Hyam’s Arod, and the two had it between them throughout.
In fairness to the runner-up he made Solow battle for the victory, but there was a cosy half-length between them at the line.
Rank outsider Gabrial ran an excellent race to finish third, with Lockinge hero Night Of Thunder slightly disappointing.
Head said: “He’s great. He didn’t have the best of runs, always in the open and seeing a bit of daylight. He is getting a bit lazy with age, too, but he does exactly what he needs to.
“It wasn’t a very fast-run race and they kind of sprinted too so there was no way you could win by any kind of distance, but he is a hell of a horse.
“His next race will be the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October.”
Guyon said: “He is unbelievable. He’s won four Group Ones this year – it’s crazy.
“He is easy to ride. He doesn’t pull. After he uses his turn of foot, he stops a little bit, which is why he doesn’t win easy, but he’s really good.”
O’Brien may have missed out on Sussex Stakes glory but he was still in the winners’ enclosure after Highland Reel, the 7-4 favourite, won the Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes.
Second in the French Derby, he wore down Scottish to win by a length and a half under Joseph O’Brien.
“He ran in the French Derby and Joseph thought he would stay, then he disappointed in the Irish Derby so we were a little bit worried, we didn’t really know what to expect,” said O’Brien.
“I thought looking at him there that maybe he was running a little bit on empty at the end, but Joseph felt that he wasn’t stopping.”