Japanese star on mission to win $12.5m in four weeks
STARJapanese galloper Lys Gracieux has landed in Australia to embark on one of the most ambitious and prolific prizemoney crusades in racing history.
Winner of the Group 1 Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) at Hanshin in June, the globetrotting mare could earn an incredible $12.5 million in the space of a month if trainer Yoshito Yahagi's ambitious plan is realised.
Speaking at the launch of the glittering October 25-26 Cox Plate carnival, club chief executive Michael Browell said Lys Gracieux had the credentials to succeed Winx as The Valley queen.
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"We've got one of the best Group 1 mares in the world in Lys Gracieux," Browell said as the $5 million Cox Plate (2040m) awaits its first winner other than Winx since Adelaide in 2014.
"This mare is a genuine international Group 1 standard. If she settles in well and brings her best form, she will be hard to beat.
"With victory in the Takarazuka Kinen, she qualified on the back of that win for the Ladbrokes Cox Plate and so she's now running for $5 million, including a $2 million bonus.
"From what I understand, she will leave Australia in early November to prepare for the Japan Cup. If she were to win that, she could pick up $12.5 million in the space of four weeks."
Lys Gracieux is the $6 joint favourite for the Cox Plate with Ladbrokes alongside Mystic Journey and Avilius. She will bid to become the first Japanese winner of the nation's weight-for-age championship.
Admire Rakti (2014) Caulfield Cup and Delta Blues (2006 Melbourne Cup) are Japan's two most significant feature-race winners on Australian turf.
Lys Gracieux was given dispensation to travel to Melbourne by the Australian Government despite not meeting the necessary requirements for importation into Australia.
She competed in Hong Kong on April 28, meaning she couldn't satisfy the usual 180-day quarantine regulations by just a couple of weeks.
Racing Victoria and global horse transporters IRT lodged a joint submission which led to the government department conducting a detailed biosecurity assessment, ultimately approving Lys Gracieux's entry.
Lys Gracieux is one of two Japanese horses invited to contest the Cox Plate along with Kluger, who finished second to Winx in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 13.