Francis Graffard eager for Champions Day challenge with Bateel

Mon 2 Oct 2017

Trainer Francis Graffard is looking forward to seeing if Bateel can cap a fantastic season with victory in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot later this month.

Formerly trained in Newmarket by David Simcock, the five-year-old made the move to France before the start of this season, but did return to Britain to win the Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock in June.

She continued her progress by landing the Group Two Prix de Pomone at Deauville before striking Group One gold in the Prix Vermeille at Chantilly and she is set to cross the Channel once more for an appearance in Berkshire on October 21.

Graffard said: "She has surprised me all season. She came to me with good form already, but they sent her to me looking for soft ground in France.

"Unfortunately, early in the year, the soft ground was more in England so we went to Haydock after just one run.

"She won really well there in very soft ground. In the Pomone, the ground was too firm, but she showed she was improving by still winning.

"The other day in the Vermeille everything was perfect for her. She's tricky, she has a character but gets on very well with her rider.

"There was no point rushing her for the Arc. You need a nice prep race for the Arc, the Vermeille was a goal for her, a Group One, so we wait for Ascot."

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