Lys Gracieux brings home Cox Plate title
The success of Japan-trained horses in Australia continued for the second consecutive week, as 5-year-old mare and race favorite Lys Gracieux blitzed past the 14-horse field in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate on Saturday at Moonee Valley Racecourse.
Running well back behind the front runners, the Yoshito Yahagi-trained mare accelerated heading into the homestretch and caught 3-year-old colt Castelvecchio, carrying 7.5kg lighter than Lys Gracieux at 49.5kg, halfway into the final straight and extended her lead to 1.5 lengths at the wire. Five-year-old gelding Te Aakau Shark finished another two lengths behind in third. The other Japan-trained horse in the field, Kluger, finished in a disappointing 13th place.
Lys Gracieux, by Heart’s Cry out of Liliside, is now six wins from 19 starts, including this year’s Grade 1 Takarazuka Kinen and the 2018 Queen Elizabeth II Cup, and brings home the first ever Cox Plate title for Japan. A week before, another Japan-trained horse, Mer de Glace, won the Group 1 Caulfield Cup.
“I thought she was in a very tough position to win, so all I can say is she was just too good,” Lys Gracieux trainer Yoshito Yahagi said. “I’m just overwhelmed with her strength. As for her next race, we are looking at the Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix), although it is not yet fixed. I can only thank everyone who rooted for her today.”
“She jumped well, but because the pace was fast heading into the first turn, I concentrated on letting her settle rather than trying to get a forward position,” said jockey Damien Lane, aboard Lys Gracieux. “As we were coming around the final turn, she accelerated so well, I was confident she would win. She was the favorite and the talk was around her heading into the race, so I’m relieved that I lived up to everyone’s expectations.”
“The jockey knows the horse well, so I let him decide on how to ride him,” Kluger trainer Tomokazu Takano said. “He started well and got into the flow of the race, so I have no objections to how the jockey rode him today. If the horse is well after the race, we plan on running him one more time in Australia. We’ll see how he comes out of this race.”
“I was worried before the race today because he seemed a bit down in the saddling area and parade ring,” said jockey Tommy Berry, aboard Kluger. “He jumped well and the pace was nice, but his response was not good throughout the race. Maybe the unique layout of this racecourse didn’t suit him.”
* Please visit the following website for more information.