Lys Gracieux wins the G1 Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin on Sunday (Image: JRA)
Australian jockey Damian Lane has been enjoying a profitable spell in Japan and Lys Gracieux handed him another Grade 1 triumph in the Takarazuka Kinen for trainer Yoshito Yahagi.
The line up for the contest on Sunday at Hanshin was finalised by a fans' poll, and has been part of the Breeders' Cup 'win and you're in' series since 2011, while from this year the winner is also eligible to start in the Cox Plate.
It was a second and well deserved top-flight victory for Lys Gracieux, who had missed out by a neck in the Hong Kong Vase in December.
Both the Breeders' Cup and Cox Plate will be considered by connections of Lys Gracieux.
WATCH: 2019 Takarazuka Kinen
"I have wondered about her strength and I told to the jockey to be careful not to start slowly," Yahagi said.
"Her two experiences of running in Hong Kong should stand her in good stead and come the autumn, if we consider the Breeders' Cup, I would like to run her in the Turf, rather than the Filly & Mare Turf, and I think she would run well.
"The Cox Plate is another option now. I will discuss it with her owners, who I think would like to challenge for big races abroad."
Lane is operating on a limited licence in Japan, which expired on Sunday. His three-month stint yielded 37 wins from 123 starts, and notably included two Grade 1 wins - the other was on Normcore in the Victoria Mile in May - two Grade 2 victories and a Grade 3 strike.
Five-year-old Lys Gracieux broke from the widest stall on Sunday but Lane was patient and tacked over successfully to secure a prominent position behind the favourite Kiseki.
Al Ain settled in third with Suave Richard in fourth, Rey De Oro and Clincher were further behind with Makahiki detached and trailing the field.
Yuga Kawada looked to be travelling well aboard Kiseki into the straight but Lys Gracieux responded well to pressure and drew away in the final stages to score comfortably by three lengths.
Kiseki held on to second, with Suave Richard a further two lengths back in third.
The runner-up's jockey Kawada said: "The winner was so strong. I felt the fans' expectation before the race, and sorry I couldn't meet them."