Lane shows Lys is more
FOR the past four years, Melbourne’s spring carnival had been about one horse — Winx.
This season, racing’s shop window is filled with one jockey — Damian Lane.
With victory in the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate aboard Japanese jets Mer De Glace and Lys Gracieux, Lane is now poised to go where no other rider in history has gone.
The publicity-shy West Australian is on the cusp of delivering the carnival’s first grand slam when he reunites with Mer De Glace in the Melbourne Cup on November 5. No jockey has ridden the winners of all three Melbourne spring majors — the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup — in the same season.
Craig Williams almost became the first in 2011 when he claimed the Caulfield Cup on Southern Speed and the Cox Plate on Pinker Pinker before losing the winning Melbourne Cup ride on Dunaden through suspension.
Lane, 25, has ridden 16 Group 1 winners in a short, meteoric career, including the Golden Slipper this season.
His stint in Japan mid-year provided not only invaluable experience but also exposure to equine freaks from Japan.
“They’re beasts, it’s just great to be associated with them,” he said.
“I’ll be back Melbourne Cup day so let’s hope we can do some more damage there.
“It’s unbelievable. To grow up as a racing fan watching this race and watching my idols win this race, to now be on the honour roll is such a privilege.”
Lane underscored the gaping margin Japanese horses have over Australian counterparts, sensing he had the race in his keeping mid-race.
“She probably didn’t get around the track too well but was just too good anyway,” he said of Lys Gracieux.
Lane is now revered in Japan and, almost certainly, the likely choice of jockey for the best stables and most influential ownership groups in the “Land of the Rising Sun”.
Lys Gracieux crowned the internationals’ utter domination of the locals at The Valley, crowning a glorious afternoon for the Werribeebased invaders.
Chief Ironside ( Group 2 Crystal Mile) and Hunting Horn (Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup) also triumphed for the raiders in a remarkable domination.
Former NRL star Paul Gallen (centre), part-owner of Te Akau Shark, celebrates his horse’s third placing in the Cox Plate.
Damian Lane rides Lys Gracieux to win yesterday’s Cox Plate from the game Sydney colt Castelvecchio — seven days earlier, Lane rode another Japanese galloper, Mer De Glace,lace, to win the Caulfield Cup. p. Picture: Getty