Cox Plate Tips & Preview 2023

Adam Cusworth Adam Cusworth
Image from Moonee Valley Racing Club Facebook

Looking for Cox Plate tips and best bets? We dissect times and form to find the winner of the 2023 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.


It is the Hong Kong galloper, Romantic Warrior, that heads the market with Dabble at the $4 quote, ahead of the local hero, Alligator Blood, at $5.50. Mr Brightside has firmed since the barrier draw and is into $7, while the 2022 Melbourne Cup (3200m) winner, Gold Trip, is $8. Fangirl and Militarize (both $8.50) are others under double figures. 

There is a field of 12 contenders in action for the $5 million weight-for-age championship and the European galloper, Victoria Road, has been a drifter and is out to $12. Zaaki ($19), King Colorado ($26), Duais ($26), My Oberon ($51) and Pinstriped ($67) make up the rest of the field. 


Romantic Warrior came down from Hong Kong with some world class form and was first up in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on October 7. He was a tad disappointing in that race when swamped by Gold Trip but will strip fitter. The Danny Shum-trained galloper knocked over Prognosis and Dubai Honour at his previous go over the 2000m, which was at Group 1 level back in Hong Kong. Dubai Honour toyed with the likes of Anamoe in Australia. 

Romantic Warrior went 13.2 lengths faster than standard in the Turnbull Stakes, while the winner, Gold Trip, went 15.6 lengths faster. He has since gone 18.6 lengths faster than standard in a solidly run Caulfield Cup (2400m) last weekend when 3rd behind Without A Fight, conceding 3kg to that galloper. 

Best last start benchmark figures belong to Alligator Blood, who went 19 lengths faster than standard benchmark in his Might And Power Stakes (2000m) win. He settled handy on a hectic tempo that day before clearing out to win by two lengths from Vow And Declare. Duais chased well for 3rd that day. 

Question marks on the Waterhouse/Bott galloper are over his form at Moonee Valley but he looks to be going better than this time last year when 4th behind Anamoe in the Cox Plate. 

Three runners come out of the King Charles Stakes (1600m) that was taken out by Fangirl on October 14 at Randwick. The Chris Waller-trained galloper will be out to emulate Winx (at least in part) by winning this race and went 7.7 lengths faster than standard. That came off a slow early tempo. 

Mr Brightisde lacked his usual acceleration and was runner-up, while My Oberon was 3rd. This is an interesting formline for me. Fangirl was close behind Anamoe in a couple of runs earlier this year and is going as good as ever. Mr Brightside shouldn’t be discounted and three from four at Moonee Valley, claiming the All Star Mile (1600m) at his last go at the track. Alligator Blood was 4th in that race. 

My Oberon was a big winner on this day last year in the Crystal Mile, going 16.8 lengths faster than standard. That came on a Heavy 8 track and the Anabel Neasham-trained galloper is yet to win since then, while he is likely to cop a Good surface this time around. 

Victoria Road represents a bit of X-factor. He is regarded as inferior compared to the likes of Benbatl, who chased home Winx in 2018. The Aidan O’Brien-trained galloper scored an excellent win in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, defeating Silver Knott but there are question marks on that form. But the imports have an excellent record in this race in recent times and he has come in from as much as $101 in September. 

Not sure this season’s crop of local three-year-olds are up to the task and the likes of Militarize and King Colorado will both need to produce big personal bests. It will be interesting to see where both settle in the run after getting back in previous gallops. 

Of the others, Zaaki has placed in his two runs this time in but appears to be past his best. Pinstriped booked a berth in this race by winning the Feehan Stakes (1600m) and might be overs at the price. 


It will be on for young and old at the 600m mark and we can expect to see Alligator Blood and Romantic Warrior going hard. I am a big fan of the two favourites and find them hard to separate. Will they go too hard? Alligator Blood’s performance in the Might And Power showed that he can sustain a solid clip. Romantic Warrior has improvement to come but will need to be at his best at the Valley. One that is over the odds in my opinion is Pinstriped. The Enver Jusfovic-trained galloper has clocked up some excellent figures in all three of his runs this time in and is two from two at the Valley. Form around him has been rock solid and he didn’t have things go his way in the Toorak Handicap (1600m) last time. Worth thought at the price.