Damian Lane gives Lys Gracieux an appreciative pat after their Cox Plate win (Image: Racing Photos)
Damian Lane's ascension to greatness - and a slice of Australian racing history - is one win away after the star rider won Saturday's Cox Plate aboard Japanese weapon Lys Gracieux.
It came seven days after he partnered another Japanese raider, Mer De Glace, to win the Caulfield Cup and six months after he steered Godolphin filly Kiamichi to victory in the Golden Slipper.
The 26-year-old will now attempt to become the first jockey in history to win Australian racing's traditional 'grand slam' - the Golden Slipper, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup - in a calendar year when he renews his association with Mer De Glace at Flemington next month.
Rather than entertain thoughts of what could happen in 10 days' time, when Mer De Glace is the $9 second favourite with BetEasy, Lane was content to soak up the Cox Plate win, which helped realise a childhood dream.
"I grew up watching the Cox Plate as a kid, watching my idols win it, and to think this week that I was riding the favourite, I did have to pinch myself sometimes, it's been an amazing week," Lane said.
"It's been a massive year and the opportunities have just been amazing, I'm so happy that I've been able to capitalise on them.
"I just want to pay a special thanks to Mr (Yoshito) Yahagi, Carrot Club and Northern Farm, they brought these (Japanese) horses out here, they're beasts and it's great to be associated with them.
"I'll be back on Melbourne Cup Day so let's hope we can do some more damage there."
WATCH: Lane and Lys Gracieux's Cox Plate win
Lane was happy to bide his time on Lys Gracieux, who settled in the second half of the field after jumping evenly from barrier 11.
The mare had a task in front of her at the 600m when three-year-old Castelvecchio shot for home but she let down with some sizzling closing sectionals, including a 23.87-second final 400m, to easily haul in her rivals.
Lane said the daughter of Heart's Cry was simply a cut above her rivals.
"She is a genuine superstar," he said.
"I've said it a few times but she's one of the best, if not the best horse I've sat on, so I was confident she was the right horse.
"The weight of expectation during the week was getting a bit much so it was great for her to come here and show what she can do.
"The speed was solid going to that first corner and I didn't want to get into a battle that would empty her so I took my medicine, rode her cold and she just let go with a great turn of foot.
"She probably didn't get around the track too well but she was too good anyway."
Lys Graciuex will return to Japan and could next tackle the lucrative Arima Kinen (2500m) in December but under the conditions of the JRA's short-term riding licences, Lane would be unable to ride the mare.