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Landslide for Lys Gracieux as she charges to Horse of the Year crown in Japan

Mare's three Grade 1 victories were topped by the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley

Lys Gracieux: landslide success in voting for Japan's Horse of the Year
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Lys Gracieux has been named 2019 Horse of the Year in Japan in a landslide result.

The Yoshito Yahagi-trained mare garnered 271 of the 274 votes from Japanese racing journalists. The previous year's winner Almond Eye received only two votes this time round.

Lys Gracieux won the Takarazuka Kinen by three lengths, before landing her first Grade 1 abroad in the Cox Plate in Australia.

Then in the Arima Kinen she had Almond Eye back in ninth, though that rival was heavily eased once her chance of winning had gone.

Lys Gracieux was also named best older mare after her very impressive haul of three Grade 1 strikes.

Yahagi said: "I was proud to receive such a prestigious award as a trainer, and I would like to say thank you to Lys Gracieux.

"I am a little sad at her retirement but I expect her future success as a mother."

Her retirement ceremony – such events, which are non-existent in Europe, draw huge crowds – will be held on January 19 at Kyoto racecourse, where she gained her first top-level victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup.

2019 JRA Award winners

Horse of the year Lys Gracieux (trainer Yoshito Yahagi)

Best 2yo Colt Contrail (Yoshito Yahagi)

Best 2yo Filly Resistencia (Takeshi Matsusita)

Best 3yo Colt Saturnalia (Katsuhiko Sumii)

Best 3yo Filly Gran Areglia (Kazuo Fujisawa)

Best Older Horse Win Bright (Yoshihiro Hatakeyama)

Best Older Mare Lys Gracieux (Yoshito Yahagi)

Best Sprinter Indy Champ (Hidetaka Otonashi)

Best Dirt Horse Chrysoberyl (Hidetaka Otonashi)

Best Steeplechase Horse Shingun Michael (Keiji Takaichi)

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I was proud to receive such a prestigious award as a trainer, and I would like to say thank you to Lys Gracieux
E.W. Terms