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Cox Plate Tips - What do the trends point towards in the Cox Plate?

  • Does history suggest there is any danger to Winx and who can run the exacta?
In 2017, Winx held out Humidor in a classic edition of the Cox Plate

For the purists, the Cox Plate (2040m) is simply the best event on the Australian racing calendar and the Moonee Valley classic features an honour roll that is choc full of the greats. 

Phar Lap, Tulloch, Rising Fast and Kingston Town are just some of the names to have taken out Australia’s weight-for-age championship. In more recent times, Sunline, Northerly, Makybe Diva and So You Think have rocked the ampitheatre that is the Valley. 

Then of course, there is Winx. The modern day champion is going for a record breaking fourth win in the race after joining the great, Kingston Town, on three wins in 2017. 

The Chris Waller-trained mare is a $1.25 favourite in early markets with sportsbet and most are predicting the weight-for-age championship to be a stroll in the park for her.   

Is there any way she can get beaten? She was pushed to within a length by Humidor last year and won by a similar margin at her latest start, which came in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington. However, she overcame difficulties in both of those and has generally been far too good in her 28 run winning streak. 

In order to answer the question as to whether or not she can be beaten, we have gone through the record books, while we also look for a potential exacta horse. 

In terms of odds, we have to go way back to 1967 to see a horse start shorter than what Winx did last year and in 1967 it was the mighty Tobin Bronze that defeated six rivals as a 1/6 favourite ($1.16). Last year, Winx jumped as a $1.20 chance. 

Since the year 2000 that has been a mixture of dominance for favourites as well as plenty of surprises. Eight of the past 18 winners have scored at double figure odds or higher including the 2013 winner Shamus Award ($21), while seven favourites have won since 2000. 

Sunline scored in 2000 at $2.40, while her famous rival, Northerly, saluted at $4 in 2002. In 2005 Makybe Diva landed her Cox Plate triumph as a $2 favourite. 

Outside of Winx, So You Think is the shortest priced winner since 2000, starting at $1.50 when he won his second Cox Plate in 2010. Winx scored as a $4.50 chance in 2015 and as a $1.80 pop in 2016. 

The weight-for-age race has seen both young and old gallopers succeed. Three-year-olds have won the race on three occasions since 2000 with Savabeel (2004), So You Think (2009) and Shamus Award all successful with the lightweight but there are no youngsters in action in this year's edition. 

Winx is aged seven. Only Maybe Diva has scored at that age this millennium but the Chris Waller champion has defied the record books all along. Last year, she was able to break a bit of a hoodoo or gallopers going for three wins in this great race. 

Fields Of Omagh and Northerly both claimed the Cox Plate at their last appearance at Moonee Valley, as did So You Think, who was sold to overseas interests after his win in 2010.

The mighty Sunline came close in 2001, running 2nd to Northerly and, outside of Winx, that quartet are the only multiple winners since the 'King' saluted in 1980, 1981 and 1982. 

An interesting statistic is that horses drawn between barriers 3 and 7 have supplied 13 of the past 17 Cox Plates winners. This year it is Benbatl, Kings Will Dream, Savvy Coup, Winx and Humidor that occupy those spots. 

Winx has drawn barrier 6 and three winners have jumped from there, making it the most successful spot to jump from since 2000, along with barrier 5. 

It is anticipated that Benbatl will push towards the lead in the early stages but Winx shouldn't be too far away. Gallopers settling in the first half of the field have generally had a superior record in the Cox Plate compared to those that get back. Winx should have plenty of options from the draw. 

The most successful jockeys in the race since 2000 have been Hugh Bowman and Glen Boss with three wins, while Craig Williams has twice ridden the winner. Bowman has ridden Winx in all three of her wins and will be on the champion again. Williams and Boss won't be in action. 

The key lead ups to the Cox Plate have been the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and the Turnbull Stakes (2000m). Five winners have come through the Caulfield Stakes and four have claimed the Caulfield Stakes/ Cox Plate double. 

Benbatl won the Caulfield Stakes this year and in 2015 it was Winx that won that lead up. Ocean Park (2012), So You Think (2010) and Northerly (2002) are other horses to complete that double.

This year, Winx comes out of the Turnbull Stakes, the same path as she took last year, while El Segundo (2007) is another to come out of the Turnbull. Humidor will be out to emulate the feats of El Segundo, who finished 2nd in the 2006 Cox Plate, only to go one better the following year. 

Finally, for people who are keen on Benbatl or Rostropovich, keep in mind that the international gallopers generally have a poor record in the Cox Plate. 

Of the gallopers who were trained internationally in their lead up to racing in the Cox Plate, only Adelaide (2014) has won, while Grandera and Folkswood are the only other one to have placed since 2000 Grandera came 3rd in 2002 behind Northerly, while Folkswood finished in that spot behind Winx and Humidor last year.  

Selections based on trends:

Winx will win and on trends, the exacta horse looms as Humidor. 

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Cox Plate Tips - What do the trends point towards in the Cox Plate?

Does history suggest there is any danger to Winx and who can run the exacta?

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