Lys Gracieux (Image: JRA)
Damian Lane will maintain his association with Lys Gracieux in Australia after trainer Yoshito Yahagi confirmed the 25-year-old will ride the current Cox Plate favourite later this month.
Lane guided Lys Gracieux to victory in the Group 1 Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) at Hanshin in June, which led to the Japanese mare securing an invitation from the Moonee Valley Racing Club to contest the Cox Plate.
Lys Gracieux hasn't raced since and will head directly to the Cox Plate. Yoshito revealed he plans to give BetEasy's $4.40 Cox Plate favourite a hit-out at The Valley next week with Lane in the saddle.
"We hope that Damian will be available to ride her in the gallop and get a feel of her," Yoshito said on Tuesday morning.
Australia's weight-for-age ranks appear wafer thin but Yoshito refused to be drawn on the quality of the locals.
However, Lys Gracieux may have already cleared the biggest obstacle ahead of the Cox Plate when gaining an exemption from the Australian Government to travel to Melbourne despite not meeting the necessary requirements for importation into Australia.
WATCH: 2019 QEII Cup
The Japanese mare raced 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 that led to the government department conducting a detailed biosecurity assessment that ultimately approved Lys Gracieux's entry.
"I'm very happy and appreciative to everybody that was involved and worked hard to make this possible. She's travelled really well. She has been to Hong Kong twice so she's well experienced with flying," he added.
Lys Gracieux's two Hong Kong runs saw her placed in Group 1 races. She was runner-up in the 2018 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) and third in April's QEII Cup (2000m). Both times she was defeated by less than a length.
The daughter of Heart's Cry won her first three races between 1600 and 1800m and was runner-up in the G1 Juvenile Fillies' (1600m) and G1 Japanese 1000 Guineas (1600m).
Her past two victories have been over 2200m in Japan at Group 1 level and Yoshito says she requires further as an experienced Northern Hemisphere five-year-old.
"She has matured and these days settles better in her races so at the moment she is best suited to races between 2000 to 2400 metres," Yoshito said.
WATCH: 2018 Hong Kong Vase