The Revenant out to cross longstanding frontier in Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Sponsored By QIPCO)
The Revenant is chasing a slice of history today as he bids to become the first horse in 45 years to win back-to-back editions of the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO).
Two horses have achieved the feat since the mile highlight has carried Group-race status – the legendary Brigadier Gerard in 1971 and 1972 and top filly Rose Bowl in 1975 and 1976.
In the intervening period, nine horses have tried and failed to retain their crown. Kris and Rip Van Winkle went agonisingly close, with Kris going down by a neck to Known Fact in 1980 and Rip Van Winkle losing out in a head-bob to Poet’s Voice in 2010.
The Revenant faces a formidable task if he is to break the mould, with today’s opposition spearheaded by the world’s top-rated miler Palace Pier and hugely exciting three-year-old Baaeed.
Preparations have followed a familiar path for the French challenger, who lost little in defeat when going down by a short-neck to Real World in Longchamp’s G2 Prix Dollar on October 2, a race he won in 2019 and 2020.
Assessing the six-year-old’s return from a summer break, trainer Francis Graffard said: “It would have been fantastic for the horse to win the Prix Dollar three years in a row, so of course I was a little bit upset, but the way he finished showed he is still very competitive at the top level and so that was the positive side.
“He hadn’t run since May and was probably a little bit rusty. The winner got a start on him, but I was very pleased with him, and he has come out of the race very well.
“I ran him in the spring, but he’s not the same horse on fast ground. The autumn is his time of year, and there aren’t too many options, so the QEII was always the aim provided the ground is suitable.”
The Revenant is making a third appearance in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) having also finished second to King Of Change in 2019.
“Two years ago on his first attempt, he ran a fantastic race to finish second to a good horse,” said Graffard. “When we went back last year, we were very confident because he had come on a lot for his run at Longchamp. He had his ground, he was spot on, and he delivered, which was very good.
“I have been impressed by Baaeed of course, and with Palace Pier in the race again it will be a very strong renewal. On good ground it would be difficult to beat those horses, but on soft ground The Revenant is a Group One horse and he’ll be fighting.”
Horses since Rose Bowl who have tried to win back-to-back Queen Elizabeth II Stakes: Kris (1980, 2nd), Sackford (1984, 3rd), Teleprompter (1985, 2nd), Selkirk (1992, 3rd), Bigstone (1994, 3rd), Where Or When (2003, 6th), Rakti (2005*, 4th), Rip Van Winkle (2010, 2nd), Poet’s Voice (2011, 6th)
*run at Newmarket