The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Australia’s greatest race takes place at Moonee Valley on Saturday and our exclusive Cox Plate 2023 tips and best bets on the time-honoured classic can be found below.
The WS Cox Plate was first contested in 1922 but this year officially marks the 103rd running as there were two editions held back in 1946.
The Melbourne Cup may be the country’s most famous race but the now $5 million Cox Plate run over 2040m at weight-for-age is hands down the highest-rated with a glittering honour roll packed full of champions.
In fact, the event is dubbed the ‘Race Where Champions Are Made’.
So, who will be our next Cox Plate champion?
Are the internationals back on top this year with Hong Kong superstar Romantic Warrior chasing his fourth Group 1 or the Aidan O’Brien-trained Victoria Road looking to emulate State Of Rest from 2021?
Can reigning Melbourne Cup champion Gold Trip back-up from his Caulfield Cup placing and win this over less distance?
What about the Gator? Is the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained cult horse, Alligator Blood, going to get out and go all-the-way here to cement his championship status?
Read on below to see the horses we have on top of our Cox Plate selections for Saturday’s iconic Moonee Valley Race 9 at 5:10pm (AEDT) before heading to race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au for all the event’s markets.
To Win: #1 Romantic Warrior ($4 at time of publish) – BET NOW
Fantastic edition of the Cox Plate and we’ve got one of the more open affairs in recent years, but it is hard to go past this Hong Kong-trained favourite. The Sha Tin superstar will relish the 2040m second-up with a run down under now under his belt. His record at this distance is outstanding (7:5-1-0) and includes two Queen Elizabeth II Cup victories. Was a slashing fourth fresh in the Turnbull over the distance at Flemington making up late ground behind Gold Trip. James McDonald retains the ride and a decent barrier seven draw. Plenty to like and plenty to suggest he can salute for the punters. Easing slightly adding to his appeal. Lots of hype on the triple Group 1 winner but expect him to live up to expectations here so long as he is in for the fight.
The Danger: #4 Alligator Blood ($5.50 at time of publish) – BET NOW
He is slightly shorter than would like but this Waterhouse/Bott-trained galloper is going great guns and peaking at exactly the right time to prove he is right up to a Cox Plate. Back-to-back Group 1 victories over very good fields by impressive margins in the lead-up. Won the Underwood over 1800m then silenced the naysayers with his barnstorming performance over 2000m at Caulfield to salute in the Might And Power by two lengths. Tim Clark rode him to perfection there and retains the mount for the acid test. The Valley hasn’t been this horse’s preferred track but he has run well in his two previous starts here. Fifth only two lengths beaten at 20/1 behind Anamoe in last year’s race from wide out in gate 12 and fourth, again narrowly beaten, a length behind Mr Brightside in the autumn. Going the best he ever has, was first to draw with the ideal gate five start, likely to be up on speed, and with only a short straight to sustain a run he could just do it!
Each Way: #5 Gold Trip ($8.50 at time of publish) – BET NOW
If Gold Trip wins this he’ll go down as one of the best, ever, and really live up to that huge purchase price. The Maher/Eustace import is on the same trajectory as last spring when he won the Melbourne Cup after a Caulfield Cup second and Cox Plate ninth. It takes a pretty great horse to run in three majors in as many weeks and he’s doing it again here. Third in the Caulfield Cup last week by the six-year-old stallion was excellent. Forgivable Cox Plate performance last year and drawn well mid-field 12 months on. Mark Zahra is going as good as the horse and Turnbull Stakes victory two back was exceptional at this distance. Blinkers on. Watch him late.
Best Roughie: #8 Fangirl ($8.50 at time of publish) – BET NOW
Does Waller win his fifth Cox Plate here? He famously prepared four-time hero Winx (2015-18) and is after more glory. Fangirl is a very nice mare. She is a multiple Group 1 winner and was outstanding in Sydney last start dominating the beaten favourite Mr Brightside by nearly three lengths in the Group 1 $5 million King Charles III Stakes (1600m). The five-year-old daughter of Sebring is yet to win over further than 1850m but her margin last time out suggests she’ll get the trip. Sydney has always been her go to. How will she be the left-handed way at the notoriously tight Moonee Valley circuit? These are a couple of the questions she must answer in her hunt for greatness. One of the best in Zac Purton riding is another plus and she rates well. She is no Winx but she might just be a Cox Plate winner come Saturday afternoon.
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