Tag Archive for: Francis Graffard

The Revenant on course for QEII repeat

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.”

Ground key to The Revenant’s next run

Francis Graffard will be looking for soft ground for The Revenant’s next race following another solid effort on unsuitable conditions.

The Prix d’Ispahan at ParisLongchamp on May 30 or the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot on June 15 is likely to be the six-year-old’s next port of call if there is enough cut in the ground.

Last season’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner has been burdened with a Group One penalty for both his starts this season, but has not been beaten far despite the going being described as good.

Graffard was pleased with The Revenant’s effort in finishing fourth to Duhail in the Prix du Muguet at Saint-Cloud on Saturday.

“He’s come out of the race well,” said the Chantilly-based trainer.

“He had his Group One penalty and the ground was too fast, but he was in good form and he ran a very good race.

“He’s entered in the Queen Anne and he will be entered in the d’Ispahan, but I think he will be good to have his soft ground wherever he goes.”

The Revenant claims Queen Elizabeth II Stakes gold

The Revenant went one better than 12 months ago with a game display to claim the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

Runner-up to King Of Change in 2019, Francis-Henri Graffard’s mud-loving gelding only made his seasonal debut two weeks ago, when winning the Prix Daniel Wildenstein for a second time.

Given a fine ride by Pierre-Charles Boudit, the 5-1 chance held the persistent challenge of the always-prominent Roseman (28-1) by a head in the Group One over the straight mile, sponsored by Qipco.

Palace Pier, the 8-11 favourite, was only third, three and a quarter lengths away, as John Gosden’s dual Group One winner was beaten for the first time in six starts. He also lost a shoe in the race.

Gosden said: “He pulled a shoe off leaving the gate. He was trying to run the whole race with one shoe off and Frankie (Dettori) said he was not able to change leads and the horse wasn’t able to handle the ground.”

Big smiles from Pierre-Charles Boudot
Big smiles from Pierre-Charles Boudot (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

A delighted Boudot said of the winner: “Today I was very confident with his trainer and the horse did it well on the track.

“He loved the ground and the trip has been perfect behind Circus Maximus. My horse was very relaxed behind him and when I asked him, he gave me a nice and long turn of foot. He has been courageous on the last furlong.

“[He is a] super tough horse. His preparation has been good with the Daniel Wildenstein. He’s courageous and he is just good.”