In honour of the founder of Moonee Valley, William Samuel Cox, the Moonee Valley Racing Club 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 nine-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 Sportingbet 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 its introduction in 1922, the Sportingbet 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 mare Makybe Diva (pictured), have all etched their names on the W.S. Cox Plate Wall of Champions that now takes pride of place in the Octagonal Lounge.
Today the Sportingbet Cox Plate carries total prizemoney of $3m. It is the third richest race in Australia behind the Melbourne Cup.
Almost every winner has been an outstanding horse - Phar Lap, Kingston Town, Rising Fast, Dulcify, Gunsynd, Super Impose, Octagonal, Might and Power, Sunline and Makybe Diva.
The list of winners reads like a Who Who's of the Australian turf.
It is hard to knock many of the winners. In 2012 we saw the kiwi Ocean Park hold off the 3yo brigade but it was only two years before we were eulogising the greatness of So You Think for his back to back performances after his first one was as a youngster.
The Group 1 Sportingbet Cox Plate is undoubtedly the weight-for-age Championship of Australasia.