Coach Francis-Henri Graffard has expressed his anger after confirming Verry Elleegant will miss Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, live on Sky Sports Racing, following France’s decision to… limited to 20 athletes.
A Melbourne Cup champion last year and a top-class winner on no less than 11 occasions in Australia, the mare traveled to Europe and joined Graffard earlier this year.
She disappointed with her French debut in the Prix Jean Romanet – finishing last out of seven – and despite showing significant improvement to finish third in the Prix Foy in her second start , the French tennis player dropped her rating to 113, placing her 22nd in the order of entrance.
After France’s race governing body announced that up to 20 runners would be allowed to post, Verry Elleegant relations had to decide whether to add her to the Arc on Wednesday morning with cost € 120,000 or not.
And while that money will be refunded if she can’t make the final field work at the declaration stage on Thursday, matters are further complicated by the actual declarations for her other weekend pick. Her – Prix de Royallieu on Saturdays – also closes on Wednesdays at 11:30 am. French time.
Since French law states that horses cannot be declared for two races, the ties opted for the race where she was guaranteed a starting station, much to Graffard’s understandably frustration.
I am very angry with my racing country and I have to apologize to all Australian racing fans
“I’m very, very upset about the French authorities and the French driver and my racing country in general,” the coach said on Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast. “We’re really trying as young coaches to try and promote our sport and try to make it competitive all over the world. We try to be open all the time and play the game, (but) France Galop tries to make it difficult at every stage.
“This filth is a prime example of how ignorant the French are. Every step has been difficult for her and for the owners and they have made our lives very difficult for us. to the last minute.
“I think it’s very frustrating and not good for the sport in general. I’m very angry with my racing country and I have to apologize to all the Australian racing fans.”
Graffard is hoping Verry Elleegant can be compensated on Saturday, adding: “The mare is in very good form and the season is not over for her yet.
“Of course we are very disappointed because it would be fun to go to the Arc, but I think good days will come after this bad experience.”
With Ed and Simon Crisford defeating the West Wind Blows, who are also unlikely to make it to the final course and will instead be tied for the Saturday Prix Dollar, 23 horses remain in contention.
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