Francis-Henri Graffard reports The Revenant on course for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

The Revenant in the winners' enclosure after his win
The Revenant in the winners' enclosure after his win

Francis-Henri Graffard has confirmed The Revenant on course for a tilt at the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday week.

Formerly trained in Britain by Hugo Palmer, the son of Dubawi has won eight of his 10 starts to date - producing a career-best performance when running out a hugely impressive winner of the Group Two Prix Daniel Wildenstein at ParisLongchamp at the weekend.

Graffard feels his charge has earned a step up to the highest level and would love testing conditions to prevail on British Champions Day.

"I was very pleased with him on Saturday - we couldn't have wished for a better result," said the French handler.

"The feeling he was giving me in the mornings was that he is still improving and his jockey (Pierre-Charles Boudot) got the same feeling in the afternoon.

"If the road to Ascot is smooth, then he will be there. The softer the ground the better for him."

Graffard is under no illusions about the task awaiting his charge on October 19, with Saeed bin Suroor's Benbatl and the Aidan O'Brien-trained Circus Maximus among his potential rivals.

He added: "We will go to Ascot with a lot of humility as it is a Group One race and they are always very tough, but I think he deserves to be there.

"We know he likes soft ground - we know he can swim! If the ground is soft at Ascot that might suit him better than some of his rivals."

Graffard revealed future plans are up in the air for his Royal Ascot heroine Watch Me.

The Olympic Glory filly was a surprise winner of the Coronation Stakes in June, but has proved that effort was no fluke - finishing a fine fourth in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville in August before placing a close third in the Prix de l'Opera.

"She ran a very good race on Sunday and she is now going back to her owners for a rest," said Graffard.

"They will decide at a later date whether she will come back next season or be retired. She is definitely finished for this year."

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