The Valley’s first meeting on 15 September 1883 featured nine horses that faced Mr Doherty, the starter for the Maiden Plate. The first race resulted in a dead heat between Eveline and Pyrette. From that day on, racing at The Valley was conducted strictly ‘en regle’, with excellent accommodation for the public and healthy prizemoney for the competitors.
Cox passed on a racing dynasty after his death in 1895. Cox’s son Archie was employed as Moonee Valley’s secretary and stipendiary steward in 1905. His brother-in-law, Arthur Vaughan Hiskens took the reigns to become one of Victoria’s greatest racing administrators. Another of Sam’s sons, W.S. Junior was a leading amateur jumps jockey. His association with Redleap, on whom he won the VRC Grand National Hurdle and Steeplechase double in 1892, is legendary.
Renowned for its innovation, in 1998 the MVRC became Australia’s first metropolitan venue to flick the switch on night racing. On Australia Day that year, 30,000 patrons filled the course for what has now been a pivotal part of the clubs racing calendar for 22 seasons. Over 1.25 million racegoers have stepped through the turnstiles for The Valley’s popular night racing product and in 2010 introduced the 55 Second Challenge, a unique race series over the blistering distance of 955 metres.
Today, The Valley is home to four Group 1 races including the W.S. Cox Plate, Manikato Stakes, A.J. Moir Stakes and William Reid Stakes. Across the 2019/20 season The Valley will host 24 race meetings of which 17 will form part of the Ladbrokes Friday Night Lights Series.