Japanese star poised to contest Cox Plate

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August 21, 2019 - 11:54 AM

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High-class Japanese mare Lys Gracieux is set to compete in the Cox Plate and chase a lucrative bonus after being granted a special dispensation from the Australian government's Department of Agriculture to travel to Melbourne for the race.

Because Lys Gracieux ran in Hong Kong in late April in the QEII Cup, she had been ineligible under the current rules to enter Australia for the Cox Plate, run on October 26, because of quarantine restrictions between the two jurisdictions.

Under the current rules, Lys Gracieux needed to spend 180 days out of Hong Kong after competing there before being allowed to travel to Australia, something she would have fallen short of.

Racing Victoria and global horse transporters IRT made a joint submission to the Department of Agriculture (DA) in a bid to gain a special dispensation for Lys Gracieux.

After DA conducted a detailed biosecurity assessment and considered the individual circumstances, approval has been given for the mare.

Lys Gracieux will undergo additional pre-export testing.

"... this decision is a vote of confidence in the Werribee International Horse Centre, our industry-owned quarantine facility for thoroughbred racehorses in training, and the approved pre-export quarantine facilities in Japan, Racing Victoria's Paul Bloodworth said.

Lys Gracieux earned the Cox Plate invite from the Moonee Valley Racing Club after her win in the Group One Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) in Japan at her most recent start on June 23, when ridden by Australian jockey Damian Lane.

The Takarazuka Kinen is part of the Cox Plate International Series launched by the MVRC this year.

As the winner of the Takarazuka Kinen, Lys Gracieux is eligible for a $2 million bonus should she win the $5 million Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley.

Lys Gracieux is on the third line of Cox Plate betting at $11, with star Tasmanian mare Mystic Journey the $5 favourite.