New Zealand-bred So You Think wins his second W.S. Cox Plate in 2010

Ladbrokes Cox Plate Tour heads across the ditch

Kia Ora Aotearoa,

The Ladbrokes Cox Plate Tour will head abroad next week as the MVRC travel to New Zealand.

New Zealand has a rich affiliation with the history of the W.S. Cox Plate. Some of our greatest champions, both equine and human have heralded from the land of the long white cloud.

In 1930 and 1931, New Zealand’s greatest ever racehorse Phar Lap, conquered the Cox Plate with back-to-back successes. Some 89 years later, his legend continues to live on, and his eponyms will take priority as stop 1 on the tour. Timaru, the birthplace of Phar Lap, Phar Lap raceway, the Phar Lap statue and the National Museum of New Zealand where Phar Lap’s skeleton is displayed will all feature prominently on the tour.

Phar Lap, Beau Vite, Rising Fast, Redcraze, Dulcify, Red Anchor, Bonecrusher, Super Impose, Octagonal, Might And Power, Sunline and So You Think. They are just some of the champion New Zealand thoroughbred who have won the Cox Plate – some more than once. We will tell their stories as we continue to celebrate a decorated Centenary of the Cox Plate.

As well as donning our great champions on the track, the Cox Plate has also become famous for off the track achievements. The most famous example is champion sire Zabeel, who has bred four individual Cox Plate winners, the most in the race’s history. They are Octagonal, Might And Power, Maldivian and Savabeel. Savabeel currently stands at Waikato Stud along with another New Zealand-bred Cox Plate champion Ocean Park. A visit to Waikato along with Te Rapa Stables and Cambridge Stud in the Matamata region is penciled in for week two of the tour when we travel to the North Island.

And while they call Australia home now, a few of our most successful jockeys and trainers were born and grew up in New Zealand. All made bold moves to come to Australia with ambitions that landed at The Valley.

In 1975, Wanganui-born Brent Thomson ventured to Australia as a fresh-faced seventeen-year-old to ride for legendary trainer Colin Hayes. Nicknamed ‘The Babe,’ Thomson made the Cox Plate his own and could do no wrong as champion apprentice. With his first four rides in the race, he won four Cox Plates – a record that is likely never to be repeated. Fury’s Order in 1975, Family Of Man 1977, So Called 1978 and Dulcify the best of them all in 1979.

In more recent times, it is often forgotten that the Cox Plate’s greatest ever horse was trained by a man who was born in Foxton, New Zealand. Chris Waller first came to Australia in 1998, permanently re-located in 2000, and as they say – the rest is history. His four consecutive Cox Plate victories with the legendary mare Winx from 2015-2018 will stand the test of time as the greatest training performance of his career.

And as for those four wins by Winx, we may not ever see that even in a second century of the race.

Amongst unpacking the stories of past Cox Plate greats, The New Zealand leg of the tour will also see us visit key racecourses and allow for those on course to come and visit. We will have a pop-up activation at Ashburton Racecourse on Thursday 7 July, as well as Te Rapa Racecourse on Saturday 9 July.

The pop-up activations at Ashburton and Te Rapa will allow us to engage with New Zealand Racing fans in a new and exciting way. Fans will get an opportunity for a photo with the iconic Cox Plate trophy and to go in the running to win an all-inclusive experience at this year’s Ladbrokes Cox Plate Carnival including flights and accommodation for two people.

We can’t wait to board the plane to Christchurch early next week as we embark on an exciting chapter in W.S. Cox Plate history. Follow our socials to stay updated with all the latest content.