New trainer excited at Elleegant proposition

Verry Elleegant’s new trainer Francis-Henri Graffard is looking forward to the challenge of campaigning the mare in Europe.

VERRY ELLEEGANT.
VERRY ELLEEGANT. Picture: Steve Hart

Verry Elleegant's new trainer Francis-Henri Graffard answered a phone call from one of the owners of the Melbourne Cup winner asking if he would like to take over the training of the mare. 

Graffard has had experience of Australian racing having travelled to Melbourne with Amercain and a couple of days later learned Verry Elleegant was heading his way. 

He is excited at the prospect of training Verry Elleegant for a European campaign, but also knows there will be many challenges confronting him when she arrives at his Chantilly stable at the end of the May. 

"It's a different way of training, a different way of racing also," Graffard told Racing and Sports.  

"It's very tactical in Europe with the pace and things like that. Tracks are not flat In Europe so that will be a big task also to adapt to.  

"There are a lot of challenges around the project, but it is very good for the sport, very interesting and we will probably learn a lot of things from the experience and will work really hard to make it work." 

News broke on Thursday that Verry Elleegant would be leaving the stable of Chris Waller to transfer to Graffard with not all of the ownership group happy with the news. 

But Graffard said he would work hard to learn about the mare. 

He said, ultimately, the Group 1 Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October would be Verry Elleegant's main goal, however the mare was not among entries when they closed earlier in the week. 

"The main idea behind the project is the Arc, that's the race they have come up with but because she is coming early I have to know the filly and see how she works and understand her," Graffard said. 

"Obviously in Australia she was starting from seven furlongs and finishing over 15 furlongs, so maybe I can start her over a mile or ten furlongs.  

"A race in Deauville in August can suit her, it's a Group 1 over 10 furlongs. 

"I really want to understand the filly then work on the program, see where we can start and discuss it with the owners, so we can plan." 


Racing and Sports