Defending champion State Of Rest heads nominations


The Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) will host the Centenary of the W. S. Cox Plate this October as we bookend one hundred years of ‘Australia’s Best Race’. Expectation is building to see who will add their name into the history books 100 years after Violoncello won the very first edition in 1922.

With nominations now closed, 135 horses have declared their intentions to compete in the $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate over 2040m at The Valley on Saturday 22 October 2022.

The list of 135 entries includes 26 Group 1 winners, 47 three-year-olds (10 northern hemisphere and 37 southern hemisphere), 12 international runners, and 60 trainers.

The 2021 champion State Of Rest headlines the nomination list – looking to be back to defend his crown in what could be his final race of his career before a new life at stud beckons.

After winning the 2021 Ladbrokes Cox Plate, State Of Rest has continued his world-class form by claiming the Group 1 Prix Ganay at Longchamp and the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. The Joseph O’Brien-trained globetrotter has now won four Group 1 races in four different countries, and after being bought by a syndicate including Australian stud Newgate Farm, he will retire t take up stud duties.

If successful again this year, he will join champions Phar Lap, Young Idea, Beau Vite, Tranquil Star, Flight, Hydrogen, Tobin Bronze, Sunline, Northerly, Fields Of Omagh, and So You Think as dual winners. Only Kingston Town (three) and Winx (four) have more victories and will doubtless remain in such rarified air for another century to come.

Following the adjustments made to the International Injury Review, it is particularly pleasing to see an increased number of international nominations that will join State Of Rest on the plane to Australia. Of those, a horse that has recently come into Cox Plate calculations is the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Real World. Saeed’s Benbatl ran second in Winx’s record-breaking fourth Ladbrokes Cox Plate in 2018, and Real World is a lightly raced five-year-old who profiles very similarly. At his past two starts, he has twice run second to Baaeed, the highest-rated horse in the world.

Trained in the UK by James Ferguson, El Bodegon was a surprise nomination and brings class northern hemisphere formlines to the Ladbrokes Cox Plate discussion. He is a Group 1 winner in the Criterium De Saint-Cloud as a two-year-old and has twice been Group 1 placed as a three-year-old, splitting smart types Vadeni and Modern Games two starts ago in the French Derby.

Other internationally trained nominations include horses from the yard of Aidan O’Brien, William Haggas and Charlie Appleby.

The Annabel Neasham-trained Zaaki has claims to being the best Weight-For-Age horse in Australia and, again, represents one of the highlight horses on this year’s nomination list. Favourite in the 2021 Ladbrokes Cox Plate, he was sensationally scratched on race morning due to an elevated temperature. Zaaki recovered quickly and returned two weeks later to claim the Mackinnon Stakes on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. 

Godolphin is yet to win the Ladbrokes Cox Plate but could have three key chances this year with Nations Pride, Real World and 2021 runner-up Anamoe. The James Cummings-trained son of Street Boss was inches away from the ultimate prize last year – some may even say he was unfortunate not to win on protest. He will be back in 2022 even stronger than last year, and a win in a major would be the crowning achievement on top of a super career before he joins the Darley roster at stud.

I’m Thunderstruck for Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr. has looked like a Cox Plate horse since his victory at The Valley some twelve months ago and has booked in his opportunity this year. Fellow Group 1 winners Alligator Blood, Duais, Montefilia, Western Empire, Mr Brightside, Profondo, Mo’unga and Fireburn are other well-known names whose presence in the early nominations adds additional intrigue and delight.

The Chris Waller contingent consists of eight this year. Conqueror, Espiona, Fangirl, Hinged, Political Debate, Kolding, Kukeracha, Osipenko and Showcourt will all be staking their claims early in the season as the master trainer aims up for a fifth Ladbrokes Cox Plate.

MVRC CEO Michael Browell, said: “2022 marks the Centenary of the Ladbrokes Cox Plate, first run in 1922 and it is pleasing to see such a strong mix of local hopes and international raiders nominate”.

“This year’s Ladbrokes Cox Plate is sure to offer up a field worthy of such an occasion, and with the addition of crowds back for the first time since 2019, it promises to be the biggest event the Club has hosted since Winx 4.

“State Of Rest will be looking to defend his crown and sign off as a dual Cox Plate champion, but he will have stiff competition from the likes of Anamoe, Zaaki, I’m Thunderstruck, Western Empire and Real World who all loom as major threats this far out.

“The three-year-olds have a superb record in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate, and hopefully, another Anamoe can put its hand up in races like the Entry Education Stutt Stakes and Caulfield Guineas.

“We look forward to the best Spring Racing Carnival we have seen in years and will be watching each of these nominees closely as they plot their path to this milestone running of the 2022 Ladbrokes Cox Plate.”

This year also sees the return of the Ladbrokes Cox Plate boost bonus. Six local races have received the lucrative $1 million bonus if a horse is able to win both a lead-up race and the Ladbrokes Cox Plate. They include the ballot-exempt Clamms Seafood Feehan Stakes at The Valley on 3 September, the Makybe Diva Stakes, Underwood Stakes, Turnbull Stakes, Caulfield Guineas and Might And Power Stakes.

The Group 2 $500,000 Clamms Seafood Feehan Stakes (1600m) at The Valley on 3 September remains the only race that carries a ballot exemption into the 2022 Ladbrokes Cox Plate –providing an enticing ‘golden ticket’ for today’s nominees





Troy Ratcliffe
General Manager – Marketing & Communications
Moonee Valley Racing Club
T: 03 9373 2245 M: 0412 637 091