Regarded as the weight for age championship of Australasia, the Cox Plate has provided its share of racing highlights over the years.
The 2040 metre event, staged at Melbourne’s Moonee Valley racecourse, carries Australia’s richest weight for age prize of $3 million and attracts the best of the best.
Some of the great names of Australasian racing – Sunline, Kingston Town, Makybe Diva, Better Loosen Up, Bonecrusher and Northerly – rank among the great race winners.
On the eve of the 2013 Caulfield Cup, Grandstand looks back at some of the memorable Cox Plate moments.
Kingston Town can’t win – 1982
The 1982 Cox Plate is remembered as much for Bill Collins’ race call as it is for Kingston Town’s miraculous win.
Hard-ridden as the field approached the home turn, renowned race caller Collins declared “Kingston Town can’t win”.
Moments later the great horse started to round up the field before storming to his third successive Cox Plate victory.
His three Cox Plate titles were listed among Kingston Town’s 14 Group One wins. He ended his career as the first horse in Australia to pass the million-dollar earnings barrier.
Bonecrusher v Our Waverley Star – 1986
Dubbed “the race of the century”, the 1986 Cox Plate will forever be remembered as the battle between Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star.
The New Zealand pair rounded the field and put themselves in front 600 metres from the finish before staging a stride-for-stride battle up the Moonee Valley straight.
It was Bonecrusher that was declared the winner after the judges were forced to split the pair in a photo finish.
Super Impose survives the carnage – 1992
Eight-year-old Super Impose beat a quality field that included 12 multiple Group One winners to win the 1992 Cox Plate.
Some of the field, including pre-race favourite Naturalism, were involved in a fall as they approached the home turn.
Super Impose stalked Let’s Elope as the field headed for home before getting the better of the finish to win by a nose.
Recognised as one of Australia’s great milers, the win in weight for age conditions came as a surprise to some.
The win took Super Impose to a then Australasian record $5.6 million in prize money, and gave him the rare feat of Group wins at each of the eight city racetracks in Sydney and Melbourne.
Sunline stamps her dominance – 2000
Already regarded as one of the greats of Australian racing, Sunline headed out in the 2000 Cox Plate looking to repeat her winning effort of the previous year.
What followed was one of her greatest-ever races, as she blitzed the field, storming away up the Moonee Valley straight to win by seven lengths.
In winning the race, Sunline became the first Australasian horse to pass $6 million in career earnings.
Northerly double breaks Sunline’s heart – 2001-2002
Many showed up to Moonee Valley in 2001 looking forward to the battle between Northerly and Sunline but hoping to see the great mare win here third successive Cox Plate.
Typically, Sunline led the field to the home turn, while Viscount battled on with her and Northerly loomed.
Northerly narrowly edged past Sunline and Viscount to be first past the post but, due to some buffeting in the home straight, had to withstand a series of protests before being declared the winner.
Sunline and Northerly again lined up for a battle in the 2002 Cox Plate.
This time, Northerly raced past Sunline at the top of the straight to secure back-to-back wins, while Sunline finished fourth.
The Diva delivers – 2005
One of Australia’s most popular horses, Makybe Diva, lined up in the 2005 Cox Plate in the lead-up to capturing her unprecedented third-straight Melbourne Cup.
The Moonee Valley crowd were there to see one thing and that was a Makybe Diva win.
As the field swept for home, a wall of runners spread eight-wide with Makybe Diva one of the widest runners.
The great mare delivered what everyone had come to see, securing a comfortable win before setting her sights on the Melbourne Cup.