- Sire-Dam -
An amazing few days in the career of French trainer Francis-Henri Graffard began with a victory in the Group 1 Prix De Diane, the French Oaks, and was completed by a first Royal Ascot win.
Watch Me’s 20/1 success in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes was a fabulous follow-up to Channel’s win in Sunday’s big race at Chantilly.
Graffard can claim to train two of the top fillies in Europe, and there was no mistaking Watch Me’s superiority in the mile test for three-year-old fillies.
Ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot she won by one and a half lengths from the English and Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Hermosa, with the previously unbeaten Jubiloso a further one length back in third.
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Graffard said: “It’s a week you dream of. As I was saying on Sunday, you get up every morning to do this job and to be part of the game at this level.
“That’s why I set up in Chantilly – I wanted to win Classics and big races. It happened on Sunday, which was a big day for a Frenchman, in France, and I was confident today again. I trusted in my filly, and she has worked well, which gave me confidence.”
Watch Me was luckless in running during the Poule d’Essai Des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas), in which she finished sixth, and Graffard said: “I thought we had to put that race in the Guineas behind us, because everything went against her, and today we were 20/1, which was good for me with the owner. I was able to say to them ‘Enjoy yourself, we are an outsider and there is no pressure’.
“It’s a fantastic result. She travelled very nicely, and while I have to watch the race again she did it very well. After the Guineas Olivier Peslier told me to run her in the Prix de Diane, but after bad luck in that race I didn’t want to change everything [by stepping her up in trip] and so I said let’s stay with the first plan and go to Ascot.”
The three-year-old daughter of Olympic Glory became the 12th French-trained winner of the Coronation Stakes and first since Qemah in 2016.
Boudot was registering his second victory at Royal Ascot, having steered Le Brivido to success in the 2017 running of the Jersey Stakes.
He said: “Today’s race went perfectly for Watch Me. She was very unlucky in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches.
“I broke well and she settled nicely. I was behind Hermosa travelling very well, very easy, and then she gave me a really nice turn of foot.
“Watch Me did it very easily today. She has a big heart and is very courageous – she’s a very good filly.
“It is a big day for me. It is my first Group One at Royal Ascot. I’m a lucky boy and it is very important to have winners like this – it’s a good week.”
Watch Me won a Listed race in the autumn on her second start as a two-year-old and had won a Group 3 contest on her return.
She will not go off at 20/1 in her next race.
BCS Career statistics
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