Verry Elleegant’s Arc dream on life support after rating drop

Verry Elleegant looks set to miss out on a spot in the Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe, after a ratings drop saw the champion mare drop out of the top 20 runners.

Two defeats in her first two starts in France have seen the Melbourne Cup winner’s rating drop from 120 to 113, leaving her in 22nd spot in the Arc order of entry.

With the race set to take place on Sunday morning (AEST), two horses will need to be scratched for the 11-time Group 1 winner to gain a spot in the prestigious event over 2400m.

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Mark Zahra has already flown over to France to ride the seven-year-old, while owners and connections have also made the trip for the Arc. 

Francis-Henri Graffard – the man that took over as trainer from Chris Waller – aired his frustration via social media in regards to the drop in rating for Verry Elleegant.

“There needs to be significant analysis and explanation for why it was necessary to drop Verry Elleegant’s rating so dramatically and so quickly on her first two starts off a long lay-off,” he said.

“If all horses were reassessed that quickly racing would be very different.”

There had previously been talk that the Arc could be extended from 20 runners to 24, which would have seen Verry Elleegant earn a spot in the race. 

But a statement from France Galop on Wednesday confirmed the amount of runners would remain the same for 2022.

“France Galop has been asked several times about the maximum number of runners that will go to the start for the Qatar Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe on Sunday,” the statement said.

“The 2022 racing code and the specific race conditions limited 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 handicappers.

“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 the case of a tie in prize-money earnings.”

Verry Elleegant is currently rated a $17 chance with TAB for the race. 

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