Three Cox Plates. That in itself is an amazing feat and a milestone that looked never to be matched following the deeds of the champion Kingston Town. Until a mare named Winx graced the turf at The Valley. It is unfathomable to think that the great mare will line-up in the race this week ready to re-write the history books and claim her fourth WS Cox Plate. Such is her dominance and the form that Winx has been in, many would suggest it is a mere formality that the Plate is presented to her connections come 5.10pm Saturday afternoon. There are so many superlatives that have been used to describe the Mighty Mare and every single one of those is justified, with her deeds on the track unlikely to ever be matched. Last start in the Turnbull Stakes she again looked vulnerable for a fleeting moment until her heart and determination to win kicked in and she was able to claim a one length victory. That made it 28 wins in succession and 25 in succession for Hugh Bowman aboard Winx. The Winx-out market is once again available and for all the other important Winx numbers check our Winx Fast Facts.
With a program built around a showdown with Winx in the Cox Plate, the Dubawi entire was impressive at his first Australian appearance in the Caulfield Stakes. Allowed to settle just behind the speed by Pat Cosgrave, he attacked the line when letting down to claim a narrow victory over Blair House with Humidor in 3rd. The 5YO is the second-highest rated horse ever to come to Australia for a Spring campaign, arriving a winner of six races, two of those at the elite level. Starting the year in Dubai, he raced in four events and scored victory in three. Winning the 1800m G3 Singspiel Stakes first-up, the G2 Al Rashidiya at 1800m.and after a narrow 2nd in the G1 Jebel Hatta, his main aim of the G1 Dubai Turf Classic was realised in dominant fashion when scoring by 3.3 lengths. A three-start European summer prep realised a G1 win in Germany over 2000m with his most recent Caulfield victory taking his record at 2000m to 3 wins and a 2nd from 4 attempts. Oisin Murphy rode the entire to victory in Munich and will take the mount for the Cox Plate, bringing the international X-Factor.
With Winx having claimed the past three Cox Plates, the last trainer/jockey combination to be successful in the race was the Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore partnership that combined to win the 2014 Plate with Adelaide. That combination will line up again in the 2018 Cox Plate with the Frankel entire, listed as a 4YO, but only a 3YO to Northern Hemisphere breeding. Returning in 2018 at Longchamp over the mile, the colt finished 4th before returning to Britain and winning the Listed Dee Stakes at Chester second-up over 2075m. 2nd at Royal Ascot in the King Edward VII behind Old Persian he then finished 2nd to Latrobe in the Irish Derby, beaten a half-length. A winner at his last Irish start at G3 level over 2400m, he tackles the Cox Plate without a local start, the same preparation that O’Brien used in claiming the Plate with Adelaide. Victory will see Rostropovich become the first G1 winner in Australia for the champion racehorse and now sire Frankel, who retired undefeated following 14 career appearances. The Cox Plate looks set to be a tune-up for the Melbourne Cup, but if he can hit the right notes, there could be some value at the price.
It seems a bit of a stretch to call Humidor a specialist at The Valley, however outside of Winx who remains undefeated in 3 attempts at the circuit, Humidor is the only other runner in the field that has raced at the tight circuit previously. That run came in the 2017 Cox Plate when he was charging home in the closing stages to finish 2nd to the great mare. The 6YO has met Winx on three previous occasions, resulting in a 3rd in the 2017 Turnbull Stakes, the half-length 2nd in the Cox Plate and 4th in the Queen Elizabeth in the Autumn when off a seven-day back-up from the Doncaster Mile. This preparation he claimed the third G1 of his career when taking out the Memsie Stakes second-up, weaving a passage and hitting the line strongly to arrive for the win. At his past two starts he has finished 3rd to Homesman in the G1 Underwood and then 2.35 lengths from Benbatl to hold 3rd in the Caulfield Stakes. Trainer Darren Weir has opted for the blinkers to go back on and Damian Lane will be up as they attempt to steal the show at the Winx party.
The Cox Plate is often referred to the Australasian weight-for-age championship and is one of the ‘big four’ of the Group 1 racing calendar along with the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Golden Slipper. The race is run over 2040m at standard weight-for-age and sits on the calendar on the Saturday between the Caulfield Cup and Derby Day.
The race was first held in 1922 when Violoncello was successful when the race was held over 9½ furlongs (1900m) with the race changing featuring slight distance variations all around the 2000m distance before settling at the current 2040m since 1986.
Offering total prizemoney of $5,000,000 the winner will receive $3,000,000. There is also a bonus on offer to the winner should it be able to finish in the top 3 of the Japan Cup. The 2017 winner was the Chris Waller trained Winx, ridden by Hugh Bowman.
The Cox Plate has been won by some of the great horses throughout history. Other winners include So You Think, Fields Of Omagh, Sunline, Melbourne Cup winner Might And Power, Derby placegetter Octagonal and the three-time winner Kingston Town. The great Phar Lap was also a dual winner taking out the race in 1930 and 1931.
Odds and previews are available for all the major Spring Racing Carnival races at UBET's Spring Racing Betting Hub.
|Date:||Saturday 27th October 2018|
|Race Time:||16:00 AEDT|
|Location:||Moonee Valley Racecourse|
|2018 Cox Plate Odds|
|2010||So You Think|
|2009||So You Think|