The W.S. Cox Plate, or more commonly referred to as the Cox Plate, is considered the Australasian weight-for-age championship. It is held at Moonee Valley Racecourse in October each year and run over 2040m. Horses aged three-years-old and upwards are eligible for the Cox Plate which can hold a capacity of 14 runners. In 2018, the prize money was $5 million with the winner receiving $3 million.
There are a number of ballot exempt races for the Cox Plate. In 2018, they were the Japan Cup held at Tokyo, the Australian Cup at Flemington, the Australian Derby at Randwick, the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley, the Caulfield Guineas and Caulfield Stakes. In addition, the Moonee Valley Racing Club (MRVC) issues invitations to international gallopers.
The race could almost be named the Winx Plate due to champion mare Winx claiming a record four-straight victories in the race. The wonder mare who has a winning streak in the thirties, started her domination of the Cox Plate in 2015. She made some very good horses look ordinary with a 4.75-length win over Criterion and Highland Reel.
Returning in 2016, Hartnell was touted as being a threat to Winx but that was quickly squashed with the mare obliterating her opposition by eight lengths. Fast forward to 2017 and the margin was a lot smaller with Humidor giving Winx a run for her money as she won by 0.4 lengths at the odds of $1.18. She would break Kingston Town’s record of three Cox Plates in 2018 with a 2-length win over Benbatl at odds of $1.24.
Before Winx amazed racing fans around the world, Kingston Town dazzled audiences by capturing the race three years in a row. Kingston Town would capture the Cox Plate in 1980, 1981 and 1982. He was trained by master horseman TJ Smith, also known as Tommy Smith, the father of racing’s first lady Gai Waterhouse.
Kingston Town cruised up in the 1980 Cox Plate before drawing away to win by around five lengths. The following year, Kingston Town would win by less than a length from Lawman. The 1982 Cox Plate is not only memorable for Kingston Town winning a third consecutive Plate, but also for race caller Bill Collins’ call where he proclaimed that “Kingston Town can’t win” as the field rounded the home bend.
Other famous winners of the Cox Plate include Amounis (1927), Phar Lap (1930-31), Chatham (1932, 1934), Ajax (1938), Tranquil Star (1942, 1944), Flight (1945-46), Hydrogen (1952-53), Rising Fast (1954), Tulloch (1960), Tobin Bronze (1966-67), Gunsynd (1972), Dulcify (1979), Bonecrusher (1986), Better Loosen Up (1990), Super Impose (1992), Octagonal (1995), Saintly (1996), Might And Power (1998), Sunline (1999, 2000), Northerly (2001-02), Fields Of Omagh (2003, 2006), Makybe Diva (2005) and So You Think (2009-10).
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