Slot Holder: Max Whitby
Breeding: Star Witness – Dinkum Diamond
Trainer: Kris Lees
Owners: Mr A R Bell
Jockey: Brenton Avdulla
The first three-year-old colt to tackle The Everest, the Kris Lees-trained Graff may have only started five times but he’s already proven himself to be among the best of his age.
A brilliant winner of the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) in August before an unlucky second in the Run To The Rose (1200m) and a Group 1 third in the Golden Rose (1400m) where the run of the race went against him.
Slot holders Max Whitby and Neil Werrett haven’t been afraid to look left-field in selecting their horse for 2018.
They originally selected Menari, a horse that promised to bring some X-Factor into the race, before that exciting sprinter suffered a career ending injury.
“I think this bloke has something special about him,’’ Whitby said.
“Kris has been pushing me for weeks about him and he was unlucky at Rosehill the other day, it wasn’t the best ride.
“We’ve got a fresh horse. I’ve been chasing him a bit but the owner Alan Bell has been overseas. Alan has been fantastic, very co-operative and done a good deal.’’
Alan Bell is no stranger to a top liner galloper having owned the likes of Schillaci, Grand Armee and more recently Deep Field.
Kris Lees knows Graff has a task against more seasoned sprinters but said he shouldn’t be underestimated despite his inexperience.
He has a solid 1400m race under his belt and if he draws favourably he’s confident the colt will be competitive.
“He provides a bit of X-factor, a three-year-old with 53kg, and he could surprise,’’ Lees said.