Prix ​​de l’Arc de Triomphe: Verry Elleegant to miss Sunday’s feature as riders limit leaves Francis-Henri Graffard ‘very upset’ | Race News

Coach Francis-Henri Graffard has expressed anger after confirming Verry Elleegant will miss Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, live on Sky Sports Racing, following France Galop’s decision to limit the field to 20 riders .

Winner of the Melbourne Cup last year and victorious at the highest level no less than 11 times in Australia, the mare traveled to Europe and joined Graffard at the start of the year.

She disappointed on her French debut in the Prix Jean Romanet – finishing last of seven – and despite significantly improving to finish third in the Prix Foy on her second start, the French handicapper dropped to 113, putting her 22nd in the order of entry.

After the French racing governing body announced that a maximum of 20 riders would be allowed to show up, Verry Elleegant’s relations had to decide to complete her for the Arc on Wednesday morning at a cost of €120,000.

And while that sum would have been refunded had she failed to qualify for the declaration finals on Thursday, the matter was further complicated by the fact that declarations for her other weekend option – the Prix de Royallieu on Saturday – also closed on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. French time.

As French rules state that horses cannot be declared for two races, the connections opted to enter the race in which she is guaranteed a starting place, leaving Graffard rightly frustrated.

I am very angry with my racing country and must apologize to all Aussie racing fans

Coach Francis-Henri Graffard

“I’m very, very upset with the French authorities and the French handicapper and my racing country in general,” the coach said on Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast. “As young coaches, we really try to promote our sport and make it competitive around the world. We try to open our doors all the time and play the game, (but) France Galop tries to make things difficult at every step.

“This filly was a very good example of the lack of openness of the French. Every stage was difficult for her and for the owners and they made life very difficult for us until the end.

“It’s very upsetting and not good for the sport in general I think. I’m very angry with my racing country and have to apologize to all Australian racing fans.”

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Sir Mark Prescott admitted the pressure was on to deliver with Alpinista in Sunday’s Arc, live on Sky Sports Racing.

Graffard hopes Verry Elleegant can get some kind of compensation on Saturday, adding: “The mare is in very good shape and the season is not over for her.

“Of course we are disappointed because it would have been fun to go to the Arc, but I think good days will come out of this bad experience.”

With Ed and Simon Crisford knocking out West Wind Blows, who were also unlikely to make the final and are instead destined for Saturday’s Prix Dollar, 23 horses remain in contention for the Arc.

La Parisienne, True Testament and Le Destrier are the three absentees at the moment.

Sky Sports

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