There have been some pretty great moments at the Cox Plate over the years – but not all great moments are created equal. Here are the ones that we think deserve to be regarded as the 5 Greatest Cox Plate Moments.
#5 Rising Fast 1954 Cox Plate
Rising Fast was a well-seasoned New Zealand five year old when he travelled to Australia for the 1954 Spring Carnival. While casual punters and race-goers might consider the Melbourne and Caulfield Cup handicaps to be the blue ribbon events of the spring carnival, racing aficionados will agree that the weight-for-age Cox Plate is the contest that establishes genuine racing champions. After taking out the Caulfield Cup-Cox Plate-Melbourne Cup grand slam, Rising Fast can lay claim to have been the greatest handicap stayer ever to run in Australia.
#4 Might And Power creates history with Cox Plate win
In 1998, Might and Power became only the second horse, after Rising Fast in 1954, to win the Cox Plate and the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups; and the first reigning Melbourne Cup winner since Phar Lap in 1931 to take out the Cox Plate. Anticipating history, around 40,000 people packed in to the Moonee Valley course to see him make the attempt. After swinging four-deep around the cluttered field, jockey Jim Cassidy took Might and Power into the home turn 2 lengths clear. Fighting off a late challenge by Northern Drake, Might and Power held on comfortably to win by just over a length in a new course record time of 2-3.54 for the 2,040m race.
#3 Tulloch – one of the Greatest Cox Plate Winners!
New Zealand bred Tulloch is regarded as one of the three finest racehorses in Australian racing history and, in 1960, a record 50,000 people turned out to Moonee Valley to watch him break the Australian Record for 1 1/4 miles (2,012m), running 2-1.1 to take the Cox Plate. It was an incredible comeback for a horse that had nearly died only two years earlier. In 1958 as a three year-old Tulloch had 16 starts for 14 wins; but over the next two years suffered recurring stomach infections and severe weight loss. Amazingly, Tulloch returned to the track in 1960 carrying the support of two nations with him in a final gallant but ultimately unsuccessful attempt on the Melbourne Cup.
#2 Three in a row for Kingston Town in Cox Plate
Kingston Town’s third consecutive Cox Plate win in 1982 was marked by race caller Bill Collins’s famously incorrect mid-race prediction that ‘Kingston Town can’t win’, which was hastily revised to ‘… he might win yet the champ … Kingston Town’s swamping them … Kingston Town!…’ Age sports-writer Glenn Lester has said that ‘the call is so intricately woven into the “King’s” ‘history-making third Cox Plate win that it’s difficult to decide which was the most memorable element of the race: the broadcast or the victory itself’.
#1 Race of the Century….. Nuff said
First place undoubtedly goes to the 1986 Cox Plate, known as ‘The Race of the Century’. This is one of the most replayed versions of the famous race and one of the most remembered horse races in Australia and New Zealand of all time. The contest centred on the much anticipated and heavily hyped encounter between two great New Zealand horses – Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star. The race really began at the 800 metre mark, when Bonecrusher, immediately shadowed by Our Waverley Star, cleared out from the rest of the field. From this point it was essentially a two-horse race, with both horses exchanging the lead until Bonecrusher – about to ride into legend – fought back down the straight to win by a neck. In what is considered one of the finest race calls ever, Bill Collins finished with ‘… and Bonecrusher races into equine immortality …’ We agree.
Who will win the 2012 Cox Plate?