Lys Gracieux In a Class of Her Own in Cox Plate

Mark Smith - Saturday October 26

The Japanese are well on the way to sweeping the big three features in Melbourne this spring after Lys Gracieux (JPN) added Saturday’s $5,000,000 Group 1 Ladbrokes W S Cox Plate (2040m) to the win of Mer De Glace (JPN) in the $5,000,000 Group 1 Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m).

It was a huge payday for connections as in addition to the $3 million first prize money, Lys Gracieux also earned a $2 million bonus for winning the Takarazuka Kinen as part of a Cox Plate bonus.What a champ Lys Gracieux  - image Grant Courtney

A true Group 1 performer in her homeland Lys Gracieux (JPN) proved a class above in the Cox Plate although it did not come without some worries.

Those that watched Lys Gracieux (JPN) eyeball the courageous front runner Kiseki in the Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin, would have been concerned when Damian Lane found himself dropping back through the field on the 6yo daughter of Heart’s Cry.

Craig Williams struck for home on the 3yo Dundeel colt Castelvecchio and would have had a fleeting moment of joy before Lys Gracieux (JPN) became a menacing presence in the straight.

It was a much easier watch in the final stages for connections of Lys Gracieux (JPN) who put on a show over the final 100 metres to defeat Castelvecchio by one and a half lengths with a further two lengths back to Te Akau Shark (Rip Van Winkle) who justified his inclusion in the race.

It was a third Group 1 for Lys Gracieux (JPN) who advances her record to 6 wins, 8 seconds and 4 thirds from 21 start with earnings equivalent of $11,192,047.

Lane has had a superb 2019. Besides his triumphant stint in Japan he has won the Golden Slipper, Caulfield Cup and now the Cox Plate and he must be favoured to add a Melbourne Cup to the haul.No matter which way you look at it Lys Gracieux  was in a class of her own - image Grant Courtney

"It's been a massive year and the opportunities have just been amazing," Lane said.

"I'm just so happy that I've been able to capitalise on them.

"To grow up as a racing fan watching this race and watching my idols win this race, to now be on the honour roll is such a privilege.

"She's a genuine superstar.

"The weight of expectation during the week was getting a bit much and it was just great for her to come through and prove what she can do.

"The speed was solid going to the first corner. I didn't want to get into a battle that would empty her. I took my medicine and rode her cold and she just let go with a great turn of foot.

"I've said a few times this week she's one of the best, if not the best horse I've sat on and I've ridden some good ones here over the last few years.

"So, I was confident she was the right horse.

Having been in Australia and watched Kingston Town win one of his three Cox Plates in the early 80s, Lys Gracieux's trainer fulfilled one of his own ambitions to bring a horse to the race and win.

He rated the Cox Plate victory the best of his career.This says it all - image Grant Courtney

"For me personally, this is the best," Yahagi said through an interpreter.

"I was confident because she's been thriving since she's arrived in Australia.

"She's been better than what she was in Japan."

Trainer Yoshito Yahagi, who spent stints in Australia with Bart Cummings and Neville Begg, said it was a dream come true but admitted things looked grim during the run.

“I never though she could make it from there,” Yahagi said.

“I was here when Kingston Town won in 1982 so it feels like coming home and to win this means so much to me.”

Lys Gracieux is the best of five winners out of the talented racemare Liliside who won three Listed races among her five wins in France.

The daughter of the Bering stallion American Post is a sister to the stakes winner Lily America whose multiple Group III-placed daughter The Wise Lady (Ganges) is the dam of Group III winner Ming Zhi Cosmos (Duke of Marmalade) and Listed winner Melodyman (Green Tune).

The Wise Lady is also the granddam of Robin Of Navan (American Post) who was honoured as the Champion 3YO in Italy in 2016 (Int).

Among her six wins was the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud.



Race Result - Ladbrokes W S Cox Plate Gr1 2040m

Moonee Valley Track: Good(4) Time: 2:04.21
Lys Gracieux
T: Yoshito Yahagi J: Damian Lane 57
6m Heart's Cry (JPN) x Liliside (FR) (American Post (GB))
T: Richard Litt J: Craig Williams 49.5
3c Dundeel (NZ) x St. Therese (AUS) (Dehere (USA))
Te Akau Shark
T: J W Richards J: O P Bosson 59
5g Rip Van Winkle (IRE) x Bak Da Chief (NZ) (Chief Bearhart (CAN))
Magic Wand
T: A O'Brien J: Ryan Moore 57
5m Galileo (IRE) x Prudenzia (IRE) (Dansili (GB))
Mystic Journey
T: Adam Trinder J: A Darmanin 55.5
4m Needs Further (AUS) x White Gold (NZ) (Colombia (NZ))
MM Tasmanian Yearling Sale $55,000
V:Armidale Stud Carrick Tas
B: Ross Wilkinson
Kings Will Dream
T: C J Waller J: J Bowman 59
6g Casamento (IRE) x Road Harbour (USA) (Rodrigo De Triano (USA))
T: James Cummings J: K Mc Evoy 59
6g Pivotal (GB) x Alessandria (GB) (Sunday Silence (USA))
T: D & B Hayes & T Dabernig J: D Dunn 59
8g Champs Elysees (GB) x Casual (GB) (Nayef (USA))
Black Heart Bart
T: L Smith J: B Rawiller 59
9g Blackfriars (AUS) x Sister Theresa (AUS) (At Talaq (USA))
Cape Of Good Hope
T: D & B Hayes & T Dabernig J: M Zahra 56.5
4h Galileo (IRE) x Hveger (AUS) (Danehill (USA))
T: Liam Howley J: B Melham 59
6g War Front (USA) x My Annette (USA) (Red Ransom (USA))
Verry Elleegant
T: C J Waller J: J B Mc Donald 55.5
4m Zed (NZ) x Opulence (NZ) (Danroad (AUS))
T: Tomokazu Takano J: Tommy Berry 59
8h King Kamehameha (JPN) x Addicted (GER) (Diktat (GB))
T: David Menuisier J: J P Spencer 59
5g Redoute's Choice (AUS) x Bal De La Rose (IRE) (Cadeaux Genereux (GB))
Stallion Parade
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