The Cox Plate is one of the most prestigious races on the Australian calendar, held each year during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. Run over a distance of 2040 metres, the WS Cox Plate is named in honour of William Samuel Cox and worth $3 million in prize money. The Cox Plate has a long history in Australian racing, starting its life way back in 1922. Over the years, many of the nations best horses have won this event, which continues to attract a high quality field to Moonee Valley Racecourse each season.
The WS Cox Plate began in 1922, with a prize purse of 1000 pounds up for grabs in the inaugural event. Imported stallion Violencello took out the first race, a seven year old horse who had also won the Caulfield Cup in the previous season. Ever since the beginning, this event has been placed between the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup on the racing calendar, a strategic move to give this event more attention and prestige in the wider community.
Some of the most notable names to win the Cox Plate include Phar Lap, Kingston Town, Rising Fast, Dulcify, Gunsynd, Super Impose, Octagonal, Might and Power, Sunline, Northerly, Makybe Diva, and So You Think. As you can see, this is a very impressive list of Australian champions, with an increasing number of international horses also competing in recent years.
The WS Cox Plate was recently included in the Emirates World Series Racing Championship, making the cut in 1999 to join other world class races such as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Japan Cup, Dubai World Cup, Arlington Million, Hong Kong Cup, Canadian International Stakes, Grosser Preis von Baden, Irish Champion Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Turf, and Breeders’ Cup Classic.
In recent years, Cox Plate champions have included El Segundo in 2007, Maldivian in 2008. So You Think in 2009 and 2010, Pinker Pinker in 2011, and Ocean Park in 2012. This event is recognised by many as the truest test of a horses’ abilities in Australia. While it may be the third richest thoroughbred race in the country behind the Melbourne Cup and Golden Slipper, for many, the WS Cox Plate is the epitome of Australian racing.