27 September 2022

Verry Elleegant Arc bid in doubt as France Galop confirms maximum field size

27 September 2022

Verry Elleegant’s participation in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe could be in doubt after France Galop confirmed the field would be limited to 20 runners.

With the Melbourne Cup winner currently 22nd on the list – should she be supplemented on Wednesday at a cost of €120,000 – there is real concern that she could miss the cut.

The field was reduced to 24 on Tuesday with Mac Swiney, Thunder Kiss and more significantly Adayar not confirmed, but Verry Ellegant still needs two more to drop out.

“I haven’t spoken to France Galop, I’ve left that to Francis (Graffard, trainer) to manage, but we were very much taken by surprise when news came through that there could be more than a capacity field and that some may miss out – and that we were one of them at risk,” part-owner Brae Sokolski told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast.

“I’m flabbergasted that may be the case. I obviously don’t have connections into France Galop and we’re relying on Francis to manage the horse accordingly.

“We’re moving forward on the assumption that come hell or high water they’ll find a way to make sure she’ll get a run.

“There’s a big crew of family and friends of the owners from New Zealand and Australia heading to the Northern Hemisphere to see her race. We’re not doing it for a holiday to Paris, so it would be a big source of disappointment if she doesn’t run.”

The Australian champion has been given a rating of 113 by the French handicappers after finishing last in the Prix Jean Romanet and third in the Prix Foy on her two runs since switching to Graffard’s care.

“Obviously it hasn’t been without it’s challenges and we have to be a little bit forgiving of her to allow her to acclimatise and get accustomed to a different training regime and pattern of racing. It’s been like a shock to her system but I feel Francis has now got a handle on her,” said Sokolski.

“While she’s been nowhere near her best in her two runs in France, I do feel she’s on the right trajectory and we did see an exponential improvement from her first run to her second. If she showed the same improvement, she’d be very competitive.”

France’s ruling body explained why the field is limited.

A statement read: “France Galop has been asked several times about the maximum number of runners that will go to the start of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, October 2, 2022.

The 2022 racing code and the specific race conditions limit the number of runners to 20 and this is the number that will be retained

“The 2022 racing code and the specific race conditions limit the number of runners to 20 and this is the number that will be retained.

“If need be, elimination or balloting procedures are as follows: runners with the lowest rating will be eliminated sequentially. The rating is decided by the France Galop Handicapper Service.

“In the case of horses with the same rating, eliminations will be made in the ascending order of prize-money won for victories and places throughout the year 2022, with a draw in case of a tie in prize-money earnings.”

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