Aussies Really Suck At Pronouncing Cox Plate Favourite Lys Gracieux
She's the Japanese raider set to storm our second-biggest race. But how do you say her name?
Japanese galloper Lys Gracieux is the favourite for the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley this weekend.
It's the first Cox Plate since the retirement of champion mare Winx, who won the last four editions of this race in an unprecedented streak.
Lys Gracieux's recent form in Hong Kong and Japan is impeccable. This six-year-old mare will definitely trouble the locals. But she's also causing problems for local broadcasters and pundits, few of whom can say her name right.
So how do you actually pronounce the name "Lys Gracieux" (which means Graceful Lily in French)? Well, let's start with how you DON'T say it.
OH MAN, THAT REALLY HURT OUR EARS.
We're pretty sure that was well-liked racing man Jason Richardson saying something that sounded like "Liz Grashow". Sorry, Richo. Try again, mate.
Broadcaster Gareth Hall got a little closer this morning. He said something that sounded like "Lys Grasir", which was close but not quite the full banana.
Network 10's Lexus Melbourne Cup carnival expert Peter Moody somewhat controversially dropped the letter "s" at the end of "Lys".
We suspect his thinking was that some people drop it when they say "fleur de lys", even though these people are wrong. You pretty much always say the "s" in "lys".
He also said "grashew", as in "cashew". Again, yeah nah, with a strong emphasis on nah.
OK, OK, so how DO you say it?
Well, the Lys bit is easy. Just say it pretty much the way you'd say the word "lease" in English. Definitely don't turn that "s" into a "z" sound.
As for "Gracieux", that's a little more tricky.
Imagine you're saying the English word "grassier" in a French accent. As in, the Gabba pitch is a lot "grassier" than the drop-in MCG wicket.
But not "Liz Grashow". Please don't do that. Even if we're not better than that, Australia, let's fake that we are.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that Lys Gracieux's trainer Yoshito Yahagi has a deep understanding of the Cox Plate's place in Australasian racing folklore. He was out here in 1981 when the great Kingston Town won the second of his three consecutive Plates.
He talks about that experience in Japanese (with subtitles) in the video above. His pronunciation of "Kingstown Town"? Pretty bloody good, actually.
And for those interested in the race itself as well as important linguistic issues, here's today's full field and barrier draw.
Lys Gracieux has barrier 15, but will probably start in barrier 11 with the likely scratching of the four emergency runners.