Friday 19 May 2023

The Ladbroke’s Cox Plate: 5 Exceptional Winners

The Ladbroke’s Cox Plate: 5 Exceptional Winners
The W.S. Cox Plate, sponsored by Ladbrokes.

Last year saw a 100-years of this prestigious race. Inaugurated in 1922, this Group 1 race is held by the Moonee Valley Racing Club. In fact, the W.S.Cox Plate is named in honour of the racing club’s founder [William Samuel Cox]. He was a pioneer of Australian Thoroughbred horse racing. To this day, the Cox family still make a big contribution to racing.

Moonee Valley Racecourse, Melbourne, Australia. Known as The Valley was established in 1883, its most notable race the Cox Plate. Located on McPherson Street, Moonee Ponds, it is one of three racing clubs in the Melbourne metropolitan area including: Victoria Racing Club & Melbourne Racing Club.

Things have changed since those early Cox Plate days when a winning purse was just $1,000.

With a purse of $5,000,000 it’s no wonder some of the best horses in the world head to this left-handed turf track, racing over a distance of 1m 2f (2,040m), which is open to horses aged three years and older. Importantly, it is based on weight for age which mean younger horses carry less weight compared to their peers.

This year’s race take place on the 28th October, 2023.

Racegoers flock to The Valley for this famous, quality horse race.

Attendances have been known to reach almost 45,000 [2005] and reason why many race fans are interested in the Cox Plate odds. Such is the prestige of this race that from 1999 – 2005 it was part of the Emirates World Series Racing Championship which includes blue ribbon races from across the globe such as the Dubai World Cup, Arlington Million & Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The Cox Plate is famous for its winners. In fact, you are more likely to remember some of the victors of this race.

5 Exceptional Cox Plate Winners

There are many horses that literally become legends for their successes at this racecourse. It will come as no surprise to Cox Plate aficionados that we have more than a handful of thoroughbreds which had The Valley cheering their winners home.

Phar Lap – That’s right, a horse of almost mythical proportions won the Cox Plate in 1930, 1931. This chestnut gelding trained by Harry Telford had 20 major wins in a relatively short career. Such was Phar Lap’s recognition that in 1983 the film: Phar Lap: Heart of a Nation detailed his life story, starring Tom Burlinson, written by David Williamson.

Winx – Few horses have captured the imagination of race fans more than Winx. A true star of racing winning four Cox Plates on the trot (2015 – 2018). This Champion racehorse won 37 of her 43 career starts. Her total earnings exceeding £26,000,000. The pride and joy of trainer Chris Waller and a nation. A truly astounding race horse.

Rising Fast – What a legend of a horse. This Champion New Zealand Thoroughbred won the Cox Plate from 1954 – 1956. A strapping bay gelding who is the only horse to ever complete the Spring Grand Slam in 1954: Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup & Cox Plate. What’s more impressive is that he was a five-year-old when he made his way to Australia to taste success at the highest level. No wonder he is in both the New Zealand and Australian Racing Hall of Fame. Recognised as the greatest thoroughbred in the history of New Zealand horse racing.

Shamus Award – Is notable for being the only maiden winner of the Cox Plate (2013).

Fields Of Omagh – The oldest horse to win the Cox Plate. This nine-year-old son of Rubiton won in 2006 at odds of 18/1. He also won in 2003 for trainer Tony McEvoy.

I’m sure readers of this article will have their favourite winners. Make no mistake it takes an exceptional horse to win the Cox Plate. Take a moment to remember those gallant horses of past times from the first winner Vioncello (1922) to modern day.

Who will win this year’s Cox Plate?

For those who love a bet, it is worth noting that the Cox Plate is often won by the favourite. In fact, favourites have a 41% strike rate and those starting odds-on have an incredible win rate of 70% (bearing in mind even money needs a 50% strike rate to get your money back). Whether you like a bet or not, the spectacle of the Cox Plate is a race to savour and a jewel in the crown of Australian Thoroughbred Racing.

I’m sure William Samuel Cox (1831 – 1895) would be very proud man.

Good luck to all.

Photo: Canva (free) 

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