Lane shows Lys is more

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - COX PLATE 2019 - LEO SCHLINK

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

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