$2m carrot to lure Japanese mare to Cox Plate
A Cox Plate invitation, and a potential $2 million bonus, has been thrust in front of Japanese galloper Lys Gracieux after the mare's Group 1 triumph in the 2200m Takarazuka Kinen on Sunday.
Moonee Valley chairman Don Casboult was on hand to give connections an official invitation after the convincing win at Hanshin, under Victorian jockey Damian Lane.
The victory also guaranteed Lys Gracieux a start in the US Breeders' Cup meeting in early November and trainer Yoshito Yahagi said international travel was definitely on the agenda.
"Her two experiences of running in Hong Kong should stand her in good stead and if we consider the Breeders' Cup, I would like to run her in the Turf, rather than the Filly and Mare Turf, and I think she would run well," he said.
"The Cox Plate is another option now. I will discuss it with her owners, who I think would like to challenge for big races abroad."
The Moonee Valley Race Club instituted the $2 million international bonus this year offering it on top of the $3 million first prize cheque to winners of select races, including the Takarazuka Kinen, who can do the double.
Sunday was the last meeting of Lane's stint in Japan.
HOUTZEN STAYS IN UK
An eighth-placed finish, in front of the Queen at Royal Ascot, has turned out to be the last outing for Gold Coast trainer Toby Edmonds and his gun sprinter Houtzen.
Edmonds confirmed that the mare will be moved to English trainer Martyn Meade for one final run, in the Group 2 King George V Stakes (1000m) at Goodwood on August 2, before heading to the breeding barn.
Houtzen flew the Australian flag in the Group I King's Stand Stakes (1000m) last week but slipped at the start, almost losing jockey Kerrin McEvoy, before finishing eighth.
"We have decided to transfer Houtzen to Martyn Meade for her final run before being served by Lope De Vega," Edmonds tweeted.
"Good luck with her. She has been great for our stable and clients."
BALLARAT TO MOVE RACES
Rain damage to the grass track at Ballarat has forced Racing Victoria to move two more meetings away from the circuit.
Sunday's Ballarat meeting will be run on the synthetic track, while the July 14 fixture will move to Bendigo.
Bairnsdale will run an extra meeting on Sunday to cater for many nominations for grass-track programs.