The Greatest Cox Plates Of All Time
The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most famous race and the Caulfield Cup has been won by a number of champions, but there is no event in Australia that has a more impressive honor roll than the Cox Plate.
The majority of the biggest names in the history of Australian racing have played some role in the Cox Plate and it would take a better man than me to rank all the winners of the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship, so instead we have picked out a few of the best winners of the past 35 odd years!
Did we miss any Cox Plate champions? Let us know who you think should have made the cut!
1986 Cox Plate – Bonecrusher Races Into Equine Immortality
This is arguably the greatest race in the history of Australian racing!
The 1986 Cox Plate was billed as a match between Kiwi superstars Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star and it more than lived up the hype.
Our Waverley Star looked like he had the race won, but Bonecrusher was able to fight back late and record a famous victory, while Bill Collins’ call of the epic contest is the stuff of legends.
2000 Cox Plate – Sunline Kills Them
Sunline won the Cox Plate for the first time in 1999 when she held off the fast-finishing Tie The Knot, but it was her dominant victory in 2000 that secured her position as one of the greatest mares in the history of racing.
The star mare was beaten in the Turnbull Stakes in the lead-up, but she took up the running in the early stages of the Cox Plate and she absolutely blew away her rivals to record one of the most dominant wins in the Cox Plate history.
Sunline finished her racing career with 13 wins at the highest level of racing and she is part of a select group of horses that have been able to win the Cox Plate in back-to-back years.
1982 Cox Plate – Kingston Town Can’t Win
Kingston Town won the Cox Plate on three occasions, but it was his third and final victory in 1982 that was easily the most famous.
The equine superstar was settled towards the tail of the field in the early stages of the race and he clearly had a lot of work to do coming into the straight, which led caller Bill Collins to famously announce that ‘Kingston Town can’t win’.
Kingston Town showed his trademark acceleration to get himself into the race and he swept past his rivals to record an historic win!
2001 Cox Plate – Northerly Wins Twice
Northerly was forced to win the 2001 Cox Plate on two occasions – on the racetrack and in the stewards room.
Northerly, champion mare Sunline and talented three-year-old Viscount fought out the finish and Northerly was able to cross the finish line in front of his rivals, but not before there was significant contact between all three horses.
The connections of Sunline and Viscount both lodged protests against Northerly and Viscount protested against Sunline and there was plenty of heated discussion in the stewards room about who moved against whom, when and what impact this has on the result, but all the protests were eventually dismissed and Northerly held on to the race.
2009 Cox Plate – So You Think Bolts In
Whobegotyou started the 2009 Cox Plate as a dominant favourite and he was expected to stamp himself as the biggest star in Australian racing, but instead it was a new star that had his coming out party.
So You Think was a relatively controversial inclusion in the 2009 Cox Plate field after he finished fifth behind Starspangledbanner in the Caulfield Guineas, but in just his fifth race start he led from start to finish to give trainer Bart Cummings another feature race win.
So You Think went on to win the Cox Plate another 12 months later and he likely could have emulated Kingston Town and made it three on the trot if he had remained in Australia under the care of Cummings.
1998 Cox Plate – Might And Power Makes The Earth Rumble
Might And Power’s more famous victories came in the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup, but he completed the career treble in the 1998 edition of the Cox Plate.
Trainer Jack Denham had finished second in the past two editions of the Cox Plate with Filante and he was desperate to win the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship with his star galloper, but Might And Power did not have it his own way in the early stages of the race and a heap of pressure was placed on him by his rivals.
Might And Power was eventually able to wear down his rivals and he ran to the line bravely to become the first horse since Rising Fast to win the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
2005 Cox Plate – The Great Mare Wins Another Major
Makybe Diva stamped herself as a legend when she won her third straight Melbourne Cup in 2005, but it was the Cox Plate that was her major target that preparation.
The great mare proved that she could win at weight-for-age level when she took out both the Australian Cup and The BMW during the 2005 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and she started the Cox Plate as a clear favourite following her win in the Turnbull Stakes.
Makybe Diva was roughly eight horses wide coming into the Moonee Valley straight, but she kicked clear of her rivals in the final stages of the race to record another famous win.
2015 Cox Plate – Winx Wins Her First
Winx is now known as one of the greatest horse’s to ever grace the track in Australia and has broken all the records
Her first win in the Cox Plate came in 2015 when we were unaware of her great talents.
1996 Cox Plate – Saintly Wins For Bart
Before Makybe Diva, the last horse to win the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in the same year was Saintly.
The Horse From Heaven was beaten in both the Craven Plate and The Metropolitan – not typical Caulfield Cup lead-up races- but Bart Cummings was confident that Saintly would be able to take out the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
As usual, Bart was correct and Saintly was able to take out the Cox Plate in a thrilling four way finish before he recorded one of the softest wins in the history of the Melbourne Cup just over a week later.
2016 Cox Plate – Winx Blitz
Winx had well and truly proven herself a champion by the Spring of 2016 and a second Cox Plate beckoned
The racing public had dubbed it a match race of sorts with honest galloper Hartnell
Winx had every runner off the bit rounding the sharp turn at the Valley and she kicked well clear to record one of the most dominant wins ever recorded in the Cox Plate.
1992 Cox Plate – Super Impose Avoids The Carnage
The 1992 Cox Plate was arguably one of the most star-studded in history, but sadly the race turned into a demolition derby.
Naturalism started the 1992 edition of the Cox Plate as a clear favourite, but it was absolute chaos at the 800 metre mark and the favourite lost his rider, while Sydeston, Palace Reign and Rough Habit were also knocked out of contention.
It looked as though Better Loosen Up and Let’s Elope were going to fight the race out, but it was Super Impose – who many experts thought was well past his best – that was able to finish over the top of his rivals and record a narrow win over Let’s Elope.
Replays of the race suggest that Let’s Elope cost Better Loosen Up the victory and she was demoted to fourth, but there could be no taking the race off Super!
2017 Cox Plate – Queen Equals The King
Winx was a bona fide superstar of the turf once her third Cox Plate rolled around and everyone was simply there for the party to see her equal Kingston Town’s record.
As she rounded the turn at The Valley, the crowd rose and cheered as one however Humidor loomed up to the great mare to challenge and the country had their hearts in their mouths
Winx had done enough however and she raced into the record books.
2014 Cox Plate – Adelaide Is The First European Winner
This time last year the Cox Plate remained the only major that was yet to leave Australia or New Zealand, but that all changed in a thrilling edition of the race.
Aidan O’Brien’s Coolmore had not returned to Australia since the controversial 2008 Melbourne Cup, so everybody stood up and took notice when they sent Adelaide to Melbourne for the Cox Plate.
Adelaide was settled at the tail of the field in the early stages of the race and Ryan Moore set the Galileo colt what seemed like an impossible task at the 1000 metre mark, but Adelaide was amazingly able to circle the entire field and tough it out to the line to give the Northern Hemisphere their first ever Cox Plate winner.
2018 Cox Plate – Winx enters Equine Eutopia
The Queen of the Turf set a record that will never be broken in our greatest race. Four Cox Plates in a row. I witnessed it and lived the story yet I still can not believe it.
What a superstar she was.