Graffard braced for battle

Bateel would appreciate some rain

Francis Graffard would like to see some rain ahead of Bateel's bid for glory in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Formerly with David Simcock, the five-year-old mare has improved steadily all year, winning a Group Three at Haydock, a Group Two at Deauville and then the Group One Prix Vermeille at Chantilly.

She beat Journey, winner of this race 12 months ago, in the Vermeille and will renew rivalry with John Gosden's filly at Ascot.

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Graffard had been weighing up supplementing Bateel for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe but decided to keep her fresh for this weekend.

However, the French trainer admitted he would be more confident if the ground was on the soft side.

"All is fine ahead of Saturday and we're looking forward to it," he told Press Association Sport.

"Obviously the softer the ground, the better it will be for her, but only because we know she handles it so well and some of the others might not.

"But she's a top-class filly and she has won on good ground this season."

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