In honour of the founder of the Moonee Valley Racing Club, William Samuel Cox, the MVRC Committee decided to run a weight-for-age race over 2040m.
Offering a purse of 1000 Pounds, the W.S. Cox Plate was first run in 1922 and was won by imported stallion Violencello. He was a seven-year-old who the previous year had won the Caulfield Cup at only his fifth start in Australia after being brought out from England.
Strategically placed on the racing calendar between the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, the W.S. Cox Plate has become a race of great importance and prestige. It is regarded as the best weight-for-age race in Australasia and one of the most exciting race days in the world. Since it's introduction in 1922, the W.S. Cox Plate has always attracted a field of the best horses on offer – the who’s who of the Australasian turf have won this race.
Phar Lap, Kingston Town, Rising Fast, Dulcify, Gunsynd, Super Impose, Octagonal, Might and Power, Sunline, Northerly and more recently champion mares Makybe Diva, So You Think and Winx, have all etched their names on the W.S. Cox Plate Wall of Champions that now takes pride of place in the Octagonal Member’s Lounge.
The achievements of Winx victorious in four consecutive years (2015 – 2016 – 2017 – 2018) now has her standing alone as the only four-time winner and the greatest we have ever seen at The Valley.
The Cox Plate has been conducted over four different distances – 1900 metres (1922-1943), 2000 metres (1944-1973), 2050 metres (1974-1985) and 2040 metres (1986-current).
Today the Ladbrokes Cox Plate carries total prize money of $5,000,000. The W.S. Cox Plate has provided racegoers with many great turf memories and will continue to for many more years to come.
Renowned journalist and author Les Carlyon once wrote – “For a scribbler casting around pearls, the Cox Plate has become a tease. The problem is: how do you write about the race without appearing to slobber? I’ll explain.
Moonee Valley Racing Club, rather like that good colt Shakespeare in his Classic year, insists on staging masterpiece after masterpiece. They gave us the Kingston Town trilogy; that used up a few pearls. Then as a variation, they staged the Bonecrusher – Our Waverley Star slugfest. And how do you follow that?”