Michael Cox



Australia or Dubai possible for Serifos and Damian Lane is happy to be along for the ride

Trainer Mitsumasa Nakauchida already had overseas options on the radar for Serifos but Sunday’s G1 Mile Championship confirmed to the world what his trainer suspected.

Australian jockey Damian Lane has found himself on another Japanese superstar and believes Serifos is the right horse to fulfill trainer Mitsumasa Nakauchida’s overseas ambitions.

Had Nakauchida been able to find suitable flights to Australia for the spring, Serifos would have contested the Golden Eagle at Rosehill, and told Asian Racing Report last month that the 2023 G1 Doncaster at Randwick was on his radar.

After a sparkling victory in Sunday’s Mile Championship at Hanshin, Nakauchida’s options with Serifos for 2023 are wide open. Post-race, the indications were that the three-year-old would not contest next month’s G1 Hong Kong Mile and that the 2023 Dubai Turf was a possible future target.

Lane said he was happy to be aboard wherever the talented colt goes.

“He is a quality horse and that was a very good win,” Lane said on Sunday night. “He would absolutely be suited to travel, I think he could go anywhere whether it be Dubai or Sydney for the Doncaster, either of those races would be suitable, he is a talented horse that is still progressing.”

If Serifos were to come to Australia for a G1 and Lane to ride, it would not be the first time a connection made in Japan resulted in a big race opportunity in his homeland.

During Lane’s first stint in Japan, in 2019, he won the G3 Niigata Daishoten on Mer De Glace and the G1 Takarazuka Kinen on Lys Gracieux, before those horses came to Melbourne later that year and won the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate respectively.

“I am thrilled to have won another Group 1 in Japan, I feel very privileged to get that opportunity,” said Lane, whose current one-month stint only came about after Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon was suspended for elbowing rival jockey Rossa Ryan off during a race on Arc weekend “I am just shocked that I have been able to team up with another really good horse.”

The son of Daiwa Major had won four from seven before his breakthrough Group 1 win on Sunday, including a last-start victory in the G2 Fuji Stakes. His only three defeats have been at G1 level.

“He has obviously improved again since that last run and he has gone to another level,” Lane said.


Lys Gracieux, ridden by Damian Lane, wins the 2019 Ladbrokes Cox Plate. (Photo: John Donegan/Racing Photos via Getty Images)

Lane rode a beautiful race on Serifos, sitting fourth last in the run and peeling widest in the straight to gain clear running, but said that wasn’t the pre-race plan.

“The race probably didn’t quite pan out exactly how I thought, I was beaten for a bit of speed early and I was hoping to closer in the run,” he said.

“I had a bit of ground to make up and I knew that upon straightening, but as soon as I let him move into the race at the 150m I had the race won, he just let down so well. That was as good as I have felt a horse finish a race for a long time.”




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