2019 Cox Plate

(Image: Racing Photos)

Bids to begin for 2026 Cox Plate

With Brent Zerafa

The Moonee Valley Racing Club expects to finalise the location for the 2026 Cox Plate by the middle of the year, following a tender process to identify the best fit.

Club chief executive Michael Browell told Racing.com that the prized date, which will be available due to the extensive track reconstruction at The Valley, is likely to be won by one of the other two Melbourne clubs but said the process will be thrown open.

"We will go through an expression of interest process over the next month or two to work out where our race meetings will be run through that closure period and most importantly, the 2026 Ladbrokes Cox Plate," Browell said.

"Whoever puts the best bid forward will be best placed to be hosting it. We've had great dialogue with all clubs that are in the mix. We are just getting through the Autumn Carnival and then we'll start that in earnest.

"We'll open it up to others - you'd have to think the metropolitan clubs are favourite to host it."

One of the unmovable considerations for The Valley will be when, not so much where, the race will be run in the spring of 2026.

"We want to retain the date, that's a key consideration for us, so it will either be at Caulfield, potentially just after the Caulfield Cup Carnival," Browell said.

"It could be at Flemington a week before the four days of the carnival, or it could be at another location."

WATCH: MVRC CEO Michael Browell discuss the club's options

The current Valley track will close down after the 2025 Cox Plate and after a year at another venue, the race is expected to return to a new-look Valley course in 2027.

Browell said he understands that both the Melbourne Racing Club and Victoria Racing Club face their own considerations when putting in their bids for the Cox Plate.

"That's part of the challenge both of those clubs will have in putting their bid forward," he said.

"At the end of a busy Caulfield Cup Carnival? What's the appetite to take on another feature meeting?

"Or Flemington, the hallowed turf of Flemington, opening it up to The Valley to run 10 races there a week out from Derby Day.

"So, it will be an interesting discussion around the table with RV (Racing Victoria).

"The race dates for next season are set to be released shortly so we'd like to think May or June this year, so there is a good lead time there to be able to transfer that meeting across and maximise the opportunities for the 2026 carnival."