Lys Gracieux Blitz's Japan's Best In Arima Kinen

Mark Smith - Sunday December 22

Cox Plate heroine Lys Gracieux put any doubt about her stamina to bed when she put the best in Japan to the sword before over 90,000 fans in the 64th running of the world’s biggest betting race Group 1 Arima Kinen (2500m) at Nakayama Racecourse on Sunday.

Courtesy of an inspired, ground-saving ride by Damian Lane, Lys Gracieux travelled midfield before Lane eased her out into the running line in the straight. From there she picked off some of the worlds best one by one and the race was all over 200 metres out.

Lane gave the rising 6yo daughter of Heart’s Cry (JPN) a kind ride and had time to sit up for the photos over 50 metres out as she won eased down by five lengths from the 3yo Saturnalia (Lord Kanaloa) with World Premiere (Deep Impact) a neck back in third.

The favourite Almond Eye was caught three wide the trip and after making a short, sharp dash at the top of the straight she began to tire and clocked in 9th of the 16 starters.

Trained by Yoshito Yahagi for Carrot Farm, Lys Gracieux was due to be retired but connections will have plenty to think about following the ease of the win.  

That was a sentiment expressed by Damian Lane post-race.

“Obviously she is at the peak of her powers and she has put in three personal bests at her last three runs (Takarazuka Kinen, Cox Plate, Arima Kinen). If she was to retire like she was supposed to it would be a real shame,” Lane said.

“There was really good speed on as everyone knew there would be. I found a lovely spot back on the rail and it was just a matter of what sought of track I would get into the race.  She was enormous.

“It’s such a privilege to ride in an Arima Kinen, especially on a horse like Lys Gracieux and I would like to thank the JRA for the special licence to ride here today and also all the fans that voted for her to be in the race and all the fans that came out today and thanks to everyone in Japan.”

 Lane will not want 2019 to end. He has won the Golden Slipper on Kiamichi, the Caulfield Cup on Mer De Glace (JPN) and the Takarazuka Kinen, Cox Plate, Arima Kinen on Lys Gracieux.

In the top three in 19 of her 22 career starts, Lys Gracieux advances her record to 6 wins, 8 seconds and 4 thirds.

Heart’s Cry (JPN) may not be a threat to perennial Champion sire Deep Impact in 2019 however the son of Sunday Silence will put in a personal best in second ahead of Lord Kanaloa.

Lys Gracieux is the best of five winners out of the talented racemare Liliside (FR) 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.

Liliside (FR) has a 2yo Lord Kanaloa filly named Lililehua (JPN), a yearling colt and a weanling colt by Heart’s Cry and was covered by Lord Kanaloa again this year.

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