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Your Guide to the Cox Plate

For fans of horse racing, either Australian or international, the Cox Plate is one of those events that is not to be missed. It's a highly sought-after prize for trainers and jockeys from every corner of the globe and is one of the most historic sporting events in the country. The Cox Plate is worth in excess of AU$3 million, making it the second richest race in Australia, exceeded only by the Melbourne Cup.

A Closer Look at
This Event

The W.S. Cox Plate is a Group 1 thoroughbred race that is open to horses aged three or older. The event is held at Melbourne's Moonee Valley Racecourse in late October each year. It extends over a distance of 2040m (1 mile, 2 furlongs) on a left-handed, turf track that inclines uphill for the last four furlongs. The weight requirement varies based on age, hemisphere, and gender.

fact file

location: Moonee Valley Racecourse

grade: Group 1 thoroughbreds

race type: Flat


Named after the founder of the Moonee Valley Racecourse, William Samuel Cox, the Cox Plate is scheduled each year between the country's two other desirable meets, namely the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup. As an added bonus, the Cox Plate winner gains immediate entry into the Melbourne Cup that season without being subjected to the balloting system.

The Cox Plate is a particular favourite for local and international connections, trainers, and punters alike. The race itself is regarded by many as the truest test of a horse's racing ability and as a result, is widely known in Australia as 'the greatest two minutes in sport'. In 1999, the Cox Plate was the only southern hemisphere race to be included in the Emirates World Series Racing Championship.

The event was first run in 1922 at a distance of 1900m with a prize of 1000 Pounds. Seven-year-old Violencello won the inaugural Cox Plate. The distance has changed three times since then. Its current distance of 2040m was established in 1986.


Have a look at some of the records for the Cox Plate (as of 2017) .

  • Winx is the current record holder for both the fastest time of 2m:2.94sec (2017) and widest margin of 8 lengths in (2016).

  • Only two horses have won this event three times. The first was Kingston Town who won from 1980 to 1982 followed by Winx who won from 2015 to 2017.

  • Only one runner has managed to claim the Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup, and Melbourne Cup in one year - Rising Fast (1954).

  • The most successful jockey is Derby Monro with five wins from 1933 to 1952.

  • The most successful trainer is T.J. Smith with seven winners from 1957 to 1984.

Best Moments

The Cox Plate has been won by several notable entrants in its 95-year existence including Phar Lap, Sunline and Northerly. These are a few of the best moments in recent history (as of 2017) .

jockey racing horse
  • The 2015, 2016 and 2017 events were notable for the record setting performances of superstar mare Winx. 2015 marked a new record time of 2m: 2.98sec. 2016 produced an eight-length record-setting margin. 2017 topped both previous years with a record number of wins a new record time of 2m: 2.94sec.

  • 2011 was memorable for its longest-priced winner of the past decade - 25/1 shot Pinker Pinker. The surprise win marked the only Group 1 victory of the four-year-old's career.