The Past Five Winners Of The W.S Cox Plate
Some big names in the world of racing from both home and abroad have won the time honoured WS Cox Plate and we take a look at the past five winners of the race and understand who they were, how did they win and where did they go after winning the $5m Moonee Valley showpiece.
2018 Cox Plate Winner - Winx
Trainer - Chris Waller
Jockey - Hugh Bowman
Price - $1.25
Winx before the 2018 Cox Plate
One of the main reasons we’re only going back as far as Winx in terms of past winners is that if you start off here you can have a four for one deal on previous winners with the Champion Mare winning an impressive three editions of the Cox Plate before we even got to 2018.
When you look at Winx before the 2018 Cox Plate she was already a superstar of Australian Racing. She’d claimed multiple editions of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, The Warwick Stakes, George Main as well as a host of other Group One titles under Weight For Age racing conditions.
The mighty mare had already won 22 Group One trophies and was on an unbeaten run stretching back 28 races. In taking out a fourth consecutive Cox Plate title Winx would be looking not only to extend her unbeaten run to 29 but also complete an unprecedented four-peat and go down in history.
Winx Wins The 2018 Cox Plate
Of course it was inevitable that the champion mare would end up winning the 2018 W.S Cox Plate.
It was seen as a potentially history-making day at Moonee Valley as over 40,000 racing fans crammed into the MRC metro track to witness the Queen Of The Turf win an unprecedented fourth W.S Cox Plate.
Competitors had travelled from far and wide to try and stop the Chris Waller trained Winx in the years leading up to the 2018 Cox Plate with very limited success. The best chance to defeat the streak had been Humidor in 2017 who landed within a neck of Winx.
Humidor would return and despite running on late it would be too greater task finishing third on the day. Benbatl for the Royal Blue of Godolphin would give a good showing to finish second however no-one was going to deny Winx and at the low price of $1.24 saluted for a fourth successive year.
The Valley crowd erupted as Winx crossed the finish line in first place but hearts would have been in mouths coming into the home straight as Bowman had to get to work on Winx and stave of the threat of Benbatl to win.
Winx After Winning The 2018 Cox Plate
Winx would return in the Autumn in the hunt for more big race titles. She would resume and win the Group 2 Apollo Stakes before going on to add three further Group One titles including a fourth Queen Elizabeth Stakes title.
The champion mare would be retired holding a 33 race unbeaten record that harboured 4 Cox Plate victories and 25 Group One titles that equated to over $30m in prize money. Not too shabby for a $125,000 purchase at the sales.
After racing Winx would be sent to the breeding barn where she would lose her first foal but follow that with a successful birth the following year. She now resides on the east coast of Australia enjoying a well deserved retirement.
2019 Cox Plate Winner - Lys Gracieux
Trainer - Yoshito Yahagi
Jockey - Damian Lane
Price - $2.50
Lys Gracieux before the 2019 Cox Plate
It was an exciting renewal of the Cox Plate in 2019 as it was the first season we knew that Winx wouldn’t be claiming the title.
The mighty mare maintained a firm grip on the title as she’d dominated the past four editions of the race and 2019 presented the first chance for someone else a real chance to win the time honoured Weight For Age Race.
Contenders had travelled from far and wide to race in the 2019 Cox Plate and there was none they were more excited about then Japanese runner Lys Gracieux who travelled to Australia with trainer Yoshito Yahagi.
Lys Gracieux arrived in an Australia as a five year old having won at Group Level in his native Japan but also competed at the highest level in Hong Kong by racing at Sha Tin. The Japanese runner had some strong form lines amongst the likes of Danon Premium Kiseki and bookmakers weren’t willing to take any chances.
Lys Gracieux Wins The 2019 Cox Plate
Lys Gracieux was installed as the a $2.50 favourite for the 2019 Cox Plate and was up against a stacked field of 13 which included four last start winners at Group One level. There was also competition from Ireland, New Zealand and Australia’s best as the Japanese runner lined up for the race.
Jumping from a wide Moonee Valley barrier Lys Gracieux was forced back in the field having to settle for a place four rows back and one off the fence as the front runners jostled for early position heading into the first turn.
As the race went on Lys Gracieux got shuffled back further and was in the final four of the field as they entered the final bend.
Going into the corner however the field would bunch right up and the Japanese powerhouse would be able to gain position through the field and begin to challenge for the lead from a 6 wide position.
Travelling like a freight train Lys Graciuex would quickly gather in bottom weight Castlevecchio and cruise past under the ride of Damian Lane to win the Group One Weight For Age W.S. Cox Plate.
Lys Gracieux After Winning The 2019 Cox Plate
After the Cox Plate win Yoshito Yahagi had already confirmed that Lys Gracieux would be retired to stud after competing in the Arima Kinen over 2500m at Nakayama Racecourse.
Under the ride of Lane once again Lys Gracieux would go off as a $6.70 second favourite but would win the race confidently by over five lengths.
That win would earn the five year old the title of Japanese Horse Of The Year receiving 271 out of 274 votes. He would also retire with a rating of 126 which meant that he was the fifth best horse of the year having won the Arima Kinen and the Cox Plate in the same season.
2020 Cox Plate Winner - Sir Dragonet
Trainer - Ciaron Maher & David Eustace (prev Aiden O’Brien)
Jockey - Glen Boss
Price - $7.00
Sir Dragonet Before The 2020 Cox Plate
Sir Dragonet was originally raced under the watchful eye of Irish Champion trainer Aiden O’Brien who gave the son of Camelot his first start at Tipperary Racecourse in the spring of 2019.
Owned by Coolmore, Sir Dragonet would have a strong career around Group and Listed Level races but struggled to cut the mustard at the highest level finish in the minor placing or just outside in key races.
Probably his standout moment was when he finished fifth in the Epsom Derby. Sir Dragonet was amongst 7 runners in the race trained by Aiden O’Brien and in a blanket finish he ended in fifth place, just half a length off stablemate Anthony Van Dyck.
After a handful more starts for O’Brien and Coolmore Sir Dragonet was purchased by a group of Australian investors prior to the Spring of 2020 and transferred down under to the care of the Maher and Eustace stable.
Sir Dragonet Wins the 2020 Cox Plate
Sir Dragonet would have his first start away from the Northern Hemisphere in the W.S. Cox Plate and he delivered an excellent performance that would see him win the $5m contest ahead of Irish raider Armory and race favourite Russian Camelot.
Leading up to the race Sir Dragonet had been floating around the $11 mark however a late plunge drove him into second favouritism alongside Western Australian racehorse Arcadia Queen at $7.
The race would play out with three year old Grandslam leading a solid pace around Moonee Valley before the youngster hit a brick wall and Russian Camelot would emerge from the pack to fight out the finish.
Chased by Probabeel and Sir Dragonet it would be the latter under the ride of Glen Boss whou would prove too strong and cut between the front runners to win the 2020 Cox Plate for the Maher and Eustace stable on debut.
Sir Dragonet After The 2020 Cox Plate
After winning the 2020 Cox Plate Sir Dragonet would go on to line up in the Melbourne Cup a few weeks later where he would go off a $12 chance and finished in 6th place, three and a half lengths off the winner Twilight Payment.
He would then head for a well deserved spell and would return to win the Group One Tancred Stakes in the Autumn of 2021.
This would prove to be his final win however when unfortunately the former Irish Galloper would break down on the Moonee Valley track in the Spring of the same year and be euthanized on course during a training session.
Sir Dragonet’s career would finish with four wins from 19 starts and amassing a total of $5m in prize money.
2021 Cox Plate Winner - State Of Rest
Trainer - Joseph O’Brien
Jockey - John Allen
Price - $7.50
State Of Rest Wins The 2021 Cox Plate
In 2021 we saw another international claim the Group One W.S. Cox Plate when State Of Rest travelled down under for trainer Joseph O’Brien to claim the 2040m Moonee Valley feature.
Through the years leading up to 2021 Cox Plate there had been a growing trend of lightly raced 3 year olds travelling from the Northern Hemisphere to win Australia’s biggest races and there was no better example than the likes of Rekindling and Cross Counter who both won the Melbourne Cup for northern stables under low weights.
State Of Rest was another that fitted that mould having raced only 6 times as a two year old and only winning on debut. He had also race once at Group 1,2 and 3 level without placing with his three year old season looking be better.
Before heading to Melbourne his crowning day would be a win in the Saratoga Derby in the US. The Dery was graded at Group One level and jockey John Allen was able to claim victory by a short head before heading to the Cox Plate.
State Of Rest Wins The 2021 Cox Plate
The 2021 Cox Plate was one of the most thrilling editions of the race we have seen in recent times with the action starting before the runners had even got to the track.
Long time race favourite Zaaki was dramatically scratched on the morning of the race due to an elevated temperature. The Annabel Neasham runner had been the race favourite for months and his late scratching massively changed the complection of the race.
As the race played out there was more action on the track as in the final stages as State Of Race and Godolphin three year old Anamoe would settle down to duel for the title all the way up the straight.
State of Rest would come out on top by a short head however a protest would be immediately lodged after Allen appeared to shift line in the closing stages and cause Anamoe to lose momentum.
Anaome’s jockey Craig Willimas argued that the move had cost him the race but the protest was dismissed and State of Rest was crowned the 2021 Winner of the Cox Plate.
State Of Rest After The 2021 Cox Plate
Following his Cox Plate win State Of Rest would go for a spell and return in the May of 2022 at Group One Level in France. Under the ride of jockey Shane Crosse State of Rest would claim another Group One title in the Prix Canay before heading home and finishing third in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.
State of Rest would go on to claim another Group One in the form of the Prince Of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot before plans were made to travel down under once again to try and defend his Cox Plate crown.
Just as plans were about to head into full swing a scan by Racing Victoria Vets found an issue and State Of Rest was immediately retired from racing with a 12 start career that featured 5 wins and 4 placings.
2022 Cox Plate Winner - Anamoe
Trainer - James Cummings
Jockey - James McDonald
Price - $2.30
Anamoe Before The 2022 Cox Plate
Anamoe really announced to the world that he was a top class contender when finisher runner up to State Of Rest 12 months before.
He was already highly decorated in the two year old ranks having won a host of nursery races including the Sire’s Produce, The Run To The Rose and the Caulfield Guineas before finishing runner up in the 2021 Cox Plate.
After that run the stable were determined to correct what they felt had wronged them and he returned for his three year old season by winning the Winx Stakes first up before claiming the George Main Stakes and the Might And Power Stakes all at Group One level.
His performances in those races was something else. Anamoe never looked in danger and won with confidence each time. All the talk was on the Cox Plate and whether he could go one better for the stable in 2022.
Anamoe Wins The 2022 Cox Plate
Anamoe and Godolphin were able to avenge their defeat from 12 months before with an impressive win and a perfectly executed ride by James McDonald who managed to find the perfect spot in running and hold off the late charges.
In the straight Anamoe was able to push on past the long term leader Zaaki and put pay to the front runners in the home turn. The main concern for the Royal Blue silks was the fast finishing I’m Thunderstruck and El Bodegon who managed to get within half a length of the winner.
The victory was a significant one for Anamoe who stretched an impressive unbeaten run and went 11 wins from 20 starts. He would also make the Cox Plate a fourth Group One win in a row during the Spring.
As a result of winning the 2022 Cox Plate Anamoe was able to scoop a cool $3m in prize money and take his career earnings at that stage to just shy of $10m.
Anamoe After The 2022 Cox Plate
After winning the Group One W.S. Cox Plate Anamoe would go on to be one of the most watched race horses in Australia. He was a draw card for the Sydney Autumn Festival and big things were expected once again.
Anamoe would win first up once again in the Apollo Stakes, this time at Group 2 level, before winning two more Group Ones in the form of the George Ryder and Chipping Norton, taking his Group One tally to 9 titles overall.
His final race would be in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes where he would finish third behind UK horse Dubai Honour for William Haggis.
Despite the discussion of Anamoe heading to the UK to race at Royal Ascot plans were abandoned and Anamoe was retired to stud.
Anamoe would end his career with 14 wins from 25 starts including 9 wins at Group One Level.