Cox Plate

From Academic Kids

The W.S. Cox Plate is a Thoroughbred horse race held annually, in late October, by the Moonee Valley Racing Club in honour of W.S. Cox, the club's founder. The race is a considered to be the weight-for-age championship of Australasia. It is Australia's richest weight-for-age prize, run over a distance of 2040 metres, and is open to three-year-olds and over.

In 1999 the W.S. Cox Plate was included in the World Series, a global "grand prix" of horse racing. The series includes the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot, the Japan Cup, the Dubai World Cup, the Arlington Million, the Hong Kong International Cup, the Canadian International, the Grosser Preis Von Baden, the Irish Champion Stakes, and Breeders' Cup Turf and Breeders' Cup Classic.

The list of past winners of the W.S. Cox Plate contains most of the champion racehorses of Australia and New Zealand. Many great horses have won the race twice, including Phar Lap, Flight, Tobin Bronze, Sunline and Northerly. Legend Kingston Town won the race three times.

The first Cox Plate was run in 1922 and won by the imported English horse Violoncello, who also won his next three starts during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. The 1925 race was taken out by the brilliant but erratic 3 year old Manfred who went on to win the VRC Derby and ran second to Windbag in the Melbourne Cup. The class gallopers, Heroic (21 wins from 51 races) and Amounis (33 wins from 78 races) weres successful in 1926 and 1927. Champion New Zealand bred Nightmarch won in 1929 before the immortal Phar Lap took out the race in 1930 and 1931. Another two times winner of the race was Chatham in 1932 and 1934 as was Young Idea in 1936 and 1937. The 1938 race was won by the brilliant Ajax (36 wins from 46 races) in race record time. Outstanding New Zealand champion Beau Vite, a winner of 31 races, won in 1940 and 1941.

Due to restrictions on interstate travel the race was only contested by local horses from 1942 to 1944. In 1946 the Cox Plate was run in two divisions with the great mare Flight winning the stronger division, and became a dual winner following her victory a year earlier. Hydrogen became the 7th dual winner of the race with victories in 1952 and 1953. The great dual Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup winner Rising Fast won in 1954. Redcraze, the 32 race winner and Kiwi champion, took out the Plate in 1957, as a 7 year old, ridden by George Moore. Noholme took nearly a full second off the race record in a brilliant front running display to win in 1959.

The mighty Tulloch, who is often compared to Phar Lap and Carbine, won the following year, and again set a new race record. Tobin Bronze became a dual winner of the race with victories in 1966 and 1967. The 1969 Cox Plate was won by the New Zealand 3 year old colt Daryl's Joy, who went on to race successfully in the USA. The popular Goondiwindi grey, Gunsynd, was trainer Tommy Smith's third winner of the Cox Plate in 1972, and the New Zealand Derby winner Fury's Order staggered to victory on a bog track in 1975. Surround became the first 3 year old filly to win the race in 1976, when she defeated the VRC Derby winner Unaware.

The ill-fated Dulcify strode away to win by 7 lengths in 1979. He was later to be sent out favourite in the Melbourne Cup but had to be put down after breaking a pelvis during the race. The only triple winner of the Cox Plate, the mighty Kingston Town, won in 1980, 1981 and 1982. On each occassion he was ridden by a different jockey: Malcolm Johnston in 1980, Ron Quinton in 1981, and Peter Cook in 1982. After winning in 1983, Strawberry Road raced in Europe and the US where he ran 5th in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp and 3rd to Seattle Song in the 1984 Washington International at Laurel. Red Anchor's victory in 1984 was trainer T.J. Smith's seventh Cox Plate winner. The 1986 Cox Plate was an epic two horse war over the final 800 metres before Bonecrusher triumphed over Our Waverly Star by a neck. Rubiton, the winner in 1987, was to go on to a successful stud career where he sired a future Cox Plate winner in Fields of Omagh. Better Loosen Up was 30 lengths from the lead, with 1000 metres to run, before winning the 1989 Plate in record time. He went on to become the first Australian horse to win the Japan Cup. The 8 year old Super Impose won in 1992 and defeated a top class field which included Better Loosen Up and Lets Elope. Australian Horse of the Year Octagonal was successful in defeating Mahogany in 1995, while Saintly gave Bart Cummings his second winner of the race in 1996. The 'Peoples Champion' Might and Power led throughout to win in 1998 and returned to scale to a massive ovation from racegoers. In a brilliant front running display, Sunline won the 1999 Cox Plate, and returned in 2000 to win again by 7 lengths and equal Dulcify's record winning margin.

Cox Plate Winners

See also: Australian horse-racing, Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival

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