Francis Graffard expects The Revenant to prove a tough opponent for Baaeed and Palace Pier when he makes his third successive appearance in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot this month.
Second in 2019, The Revenant lifted the prestigious prize last term – and warmed up for another crack at the Qipco-sponsored event with a big run in defeat at ParisLongchamp on Saturday.
“I’ve been impressed by Baaeed of course, and with Palace Pier in the race again it will be a very strong renewal,” said Graffard.
“On good ground it would be difficult to beat those horses, but on soft ground The Revenant is a Group One horse – and he’ll be fighting.
The Chantilly trainer had mixed feelings after his six-year-old failed by just a short neck to reel in Real World in his bid to land the Prix Daniel Wildenstein for the third year running.
“It would have been fantastic for the horse to win the race three years in a row, so of course I was a little bit upset,” he added.
“But the way he finished showed he is still very competitive at the top level, and so that was the positive side.
“He hadn’t run since May and was probably a little bit rusty. The winner got a start on him. But I was very pleased with him, and he’s come out of the race very well. If all goes well over the next 10 days or so he’ll be back at Ascot for the QEII.”
Graffard is hoping Ascot serves up the soft surface which has often been customary for the October showpiece.
“I ran him in the spring, but he’s not the same horse on fast ground,” he said.
“The autumn is his time of year, and there aren’t too many options, so the QEII was always the aim – provided the ground is suitable.
“Two years ago on his first attempt, he ran a fantastic race to finish second to a good horse, and when we went back last year we were very confident because he had come on a lot for his run at Longchamp.
“He had his ground and he was spot on, and he delivered, which was very good. If he has his ground again he will be ready to defend his title.”