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In Swoop takes next step on road back to the Arc

Last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe runner-up In Swoop lived up to his name to claim victory in the Grand Prix de Chantilly.

Olivier Peslier’s mount quickened off a pace that was little more than a crawl to master Vaucelles and then comfortably hold old rival Sublimis and pass another test en route to a return to Longchamp in October.

The four-year-old’s trainer Francis-Henri Graffard was not surprised when informed that his charge had clocked a time 20 seconds slower than the record for the distance, and expressed a view that his odds-on winner would not be allowed to rest on his laurels before the first Sunday in October.

Next up for In Swoop will be either the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud or the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot at the end of July.

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Graffard – who had considered a crack at the Coronation Cup – said: “I’m glad we stuck to our original plan to bring him here. It (Epsom) was an option, but we wanted to stick to the programme. I was very upset when I saw all the rain at Epsom, but he’s kept going today off that very slow pace and will be 100 per cent next time.

“Once he quickened with that kick from Olivier at just the right time they were never going to get to him, and he’s improving with every run. He will handle soft, good to soft and good ground, but on good ground he would need a fast pace which we might get in the King George. He’s entered for the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and we need to look at that first.”

Graffard sited the importance of his colt having a run in the summer and concluded: “He’s not the sort of horse you can afford to stop with for too long, which is why he will go to Saint-Cloud, or Ascot, or both.”

Tahlie is set for Group One action
Tahlie is set for Group One action (PA)

Tahlie continued her rise up the ranks when taking her winning run to four in the Group Two Prix de Sandringham.

The Pascal Bary-trained filly led inside the final furlong in the hands of Christophe Soumillon, to register a third course success that included a Listed contest last month.

However, the 11-8 favourite was all-out to hold the late challenge of Kennella, who had finished third in the French 1000 Guineas.

Kevin Ryan’s British raider Bellisime was last of the five runners after making most of the running.

Bary said: “She’s a tough filly, who takes her racing extremely well and always tries her best.

“I think she has earned a crack at a Group One – she will be entered in more than one of those, but the obvious race for her is the Prix Rothschild at Deauville.”

Graffard targeting Champions Day with The Revenant

Francis-Henri Graffard has his sights set on Qipco Champions Day with The Revenant, while Wooded has not been completely ruled out of the Breeders’ Cup.

The trainer enjoyed an incredible Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend, winning the Prix Daniel Wildenstein and the Prix de l’Abbaye with the aforementioned duo, and came within a neck of winning the big race itself with In Swoop.

While In Swoop is done for the year, there are still big targets ahead for Graffard.

“The Revenant will go to Ascot, that’s the plan, but Wooded won’t go there,” said Graffard.

The Revenant (red) was second to King Of Change in the QEII 12 months ago
The Revenant (red) was second to King Of Change in the QEII 12 months ago (Simon Cooper/PA)

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“The Revenant is entered in the QEII (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes) and he’ll have another go – he ran in the race last year and was second.

“We think he will come on a lot for his run on Saturday, he came out of that race well so the plan is to go to Ascot. He should get his ground again, hopefully.”

Wooded reportedly prefers good ground and six furlongs, so to win the Abbaye on heavy was no mean feat.

“We haven’t had a chat about supplementing him for Ascot, so I don’t think we’ll do that,” said Graffard.

“He’s only three, sprinters tend to get better with age.

“He did get a ‘win and you’re in’ entry for the Breeders’ Cup, so we’ll see about if we go or not. At the moment no decision has been made.

“He’s a much better horse on good ground, we know that, so to win on heavy was great.”

In Swoop won the German Derby in July and relished the testing ground, just failing to reel in Sottsass.

In Swoop (black cap) just failed to catch
In Swoop (black cap) just failed to catch Sottsass (AP)

“With In Swoop, I was thrilled with how he ran, but at the same time frustrated he came so close to winning an Arc,” said Graffard.

“He had no excuses. There was no pace in the race and my horse is not a sprinter, so that was not on our side.

“It was a great performance and he proved he was one of the best three-year-olds in Europe.

“He will be a fantastic horse next year. He could possibly go up in trip, but there are some nice races over a mile and a half for him. Until he is not competitive over a mile and a half, we will keep him at that distance.”