Before the nation’s attention falls to the Melbourne Cup Spring Carnival, there is one more significant Group 1 race that demands extra attention. In less that 48 hours, Australian horse racing fans and punters will be treated to the prestigious W.S. Cox Plate. In the past, this race has stood as one of the top grass races in the world. With the Cox Plate Form Guide on the newsstand and the Cox Plate betting odds changing by the minute, this is one final chance to take a close look at the race.
The Cox Plate Race Description
As the perfect prelude to the Group 1 Melbourne Cup on November 1, the horses for the W.S. Cox Plate will head to the barrier on October 22, 2016 at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The race will be run on grass at a distance of 2040 meters. The field includes 3-year olds and over, competing for a total purse of AUS$3,000,000, of which AUS$1,800,000 goes to the winner. Weights will be assigned based on age and allowance conditions.
The 2016 W.S. Cox Plate has drawn a field of 10. The Cox Plate Form Guide list of entrants with Cx Plate odds and barrier posts are as follows.
- Happy Trails – 126-1
- Black Heart Bart – 23-1
- Hartnell (GB) – 3.4-1
- Hauraki – 20-1
- Happy Clapper – 101-1
- Vadamos (FR) – 18-1
- Awesome Rock – 81-1
- Winx – 1.8-1
- Lucia Valentina (NZ) – 18-1
- Yankee Rose – 15-1
There is no denying this is a stellar and representative field of Australia’s top handicap horses. While several horses like Lucia Valentina, Hartnell, Black Heart Bart and Vadamos have the credentials to win this race most any year, they all face the tall task of beating the wonder-mare Winx. Any Cox plate tips that point to any other horse have to be considered a shot in the dark.
Winx enters this race as the defending Cox Plate champion after an absolute amazing performance in this race last year. All this 5-year old mare has done is win 16 of her 22 races for total purses of AUS$7,498,175. She has won her last 12 races in a row, including eight Group 1 events over the best horses, males of female, in the country. Winx sits a pretty trip and seldom finds herself out of position to strike whenever the need arises. It will take an extraordinary performance by one of the other entrants to deny this mare her lucky 13th win in a row.
Cox Plate betting odds aside, the only two horses that would seem to have a realistic chance to upset the brilliant mare are Hartnell and Black Heart Bart. Hartnell is coming off a Group 1 win in the Turnbull Stakes, his third straight stakes victory in a row. He is currently listed as the future book favorite for the Melbourne Cup, which could cause his rider save something in reserve should the horse not trip out perfectly.
That leaves Black Heart Bart as the clear second-alternative. Over his last 10 races, Black Heart Bart has finished first or second, including three Group 1 wins in the Darley Goodwood, Memsie Stakes and the Underwood Stakes. He is coming off a nice second place finish to Winx in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes, but at no time did he look like he could challenge that opponent. At 23-1, the odds make Black Heart Bart worth a shot for the win, but a cold exacta Winx – Black Heart Bart is preferred.