The historic 100th edition of the Cox Plate will not be affected by Covid-19 after the planned record prizemoney of $5 million AUD was guaranteed for the Melbourne Spring Carnival feature on October 24.
Australian racing has been hit by the global pandemic, just like many of the British Racecourses including Ayr, Hamilton, Kelso, Musselburgh and Perth. But despite an ongoing lockdown in Melbourne, racing has managed to continue – albeit behind closed doors.
There was fears that the lack of revenues since March would affect the major Spring Carnival races including the Cox Plate. But while some have seen prize pools reduced to help balance the books, the Cox Plate won’t be one of them.
In fact, the record level of prize money that had been planned will remain for the biggest race of the year at Moonee Valley Racecourse. The Moonee Valley Racing Club announced the decision in the build up to the Ladbrokes-sponsored event.
The Cox Plate sits along with the Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup as Australia’s biggest three races. It is known as the weight-for-age championship due to the unique nature of the conditions of the event. Cox Plate tips show Russian Camelot, Veryy Elleegant and Sir Dragoney as the favourites but anything can happen on the day during these strange times and as it’s the 100th event, it’s due to go down in history as not only the highest amount of prizemoney but because it’s all taking place behind closed doors for the first time.
“With prizemoney of $5m on offer, the Ladbrokes Cox Plate remains Australia’s richest Group 1 Weight-For-Age race and the richest turf 2,000 metre race in the world,” said Don Casboult, MVRC Chairman.
“It was of great importance that we were able to maintain the prizemoney of $5m for the 2020 Ladbrokes Cox Plate given the significance this year as we celebrate the 100th running of our signature race.
“The Ladbrokes Cox Plate is one of the world’s premier thoroughbred races and maintaining prizemoney at $5m will ensure we attract a world-class field again this year. The MVRC thanks Ladbrokes for their continued support of the W. S. Cox Plate and racing at The Valley.”
While the roll of honour for the 100th Cox Plate is guaranteed to be a household name, their performance at Moonee Valley won’t result in a rapturous welcome back into the winners’ circle.
That’s because the 2040m race will be run with only a handful of owners and racecourse staff, rather than a sell-out crowd, with Melbourne in the midst of a lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Danny O’Brien-trained Russian Camelot is the Cox Plate favourite from Arcadia Queen with Armoury and Sir Dragonet the only other two runners at single figure odds.