If Le Romain is the horse everyone knew, Graff, a three-year-old colt, is the unknown factor in the $13 million race. Even for Lees, he was unknown in terms of The Everest a couple of months ago.
He only started to think of The Everest for him after he won the San Domenico Stakes on August 25.
“We knew he had come back well and that win was no surprise to us,” Lees said. “We had mapped out a path to the Golden Rose and I sat down with Alan [Bell] after it and joked The Everest night be a good race for him. It’s not a race you can be confident about getting a slot in with any horse, yet alone a three-year-old, but things fell his way to get into the race.”
Graff was picked up by the Max Whitby slot after he was runner-up in the Run To The Rose and third in the Golden Rose. Lees is confident that he will not be out of place on Saturday.
“What he showed us at home told us he was a good horse,” Lees said. “He needed to do enough in those last two runs to convince someone else he was [a good horse] and he did. He has no weight on his back and we know he has a big sprint at the end of his races and I’m sure he will react well off the three-week break.”