Training licence since 2011
Based in Chantilly, France
From an early age, Francis dreamed of becoming a trainer, but he completed his education and studied law before turning to racing professionally. Experiences with Goffs France and a range of bloodstock professionals preceded a pivotal development in his career, his acceptance onto the inaugural edition of the Godolphin Flying Start course. The internationally-renowned program took Francis to Ireland, Great Britain, USA, Australia and Dubai, and he devoted his internships to gaining experience with some of the world’s leading trainers, Gai Waterhouse, Eoin Harty and André Fabre. Following graduation from the two-year course, the natural step for Francis was to join the Darley Racing Office in Newmarket, as English and French representative. This position involved liaising with Godolphin trainers such as André Fabre, John Gosden, Mark Johnston and Alex Pantall. After four years in this role, Francis returned to Chantilly where he joined the Aga Khan Studs principal French handler Alain de Royer Dupré as assistant trainer for his private yard. During this period, the famous green and red silks were carried to victory notably by Siyouni (Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère) and Sarafina (Prix de Diane). Francis Graffard was granted his trainers license in October 2011 and the stable’s first winner was quick to follow, in January 2012. In June of that year, Francis saddled his first Stakes winner as Pearl Flute lifted the Listed Prix Yacowlef at Deauville. A first Group 1 victory came just three years later, thanks to the Niarchos Family’s Erupt who scored in the Grand Prix de Paris, and Erupt was also the author of a first international top-level success for the stable when securing the Canadian International in 2016. The following season, Bateel provided her handler with an emotional win in the Prix Vermeille, over sixty years after the success of his grandfather’s Wild Miss in this prestigious contest. Two fillies provided Francis Graffard with a memorable season in 2019. Channel offered the handler his first taste of Classic glory in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly, and just days later, Watch Me was successful in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. Francis Graffard received his first Aga Khan Studs yearlings in 2019.