Top 10 Cox Plate magical moments
Ahead of the centenary Cox Plate, Stephen Brassel remembers 10 of the best Cox Plate moments.
1. MAKYBE DIVA (2005)
Charge of the light brigade
When the pedal goes to the metal in the Cox Plate it's no place for the faint-hearted as the field thunders to the home turn in the great race.
In 2005 champion mare Makybe Diva treated her opposition with disdain when she circled into the race with jockey Glenn Boss looking supremely confident.
They were spread 10 across the track with Makybe Diva out wide and Boss risking whiplash as he continued to look left and right before pushing the button and dashing for home on straightening.
Makybe Diva was under a soft ride from Boss as she easily accounted for Lotteria and Fields Of Omagh as no doubt 'Bossy' was thinking of bigger things to come just 10 days later with the Lee Freedman-trained galloper going on to win her third Melbourne Cup.
COX PLATE SWEEP: TAKE ON YOUR MATES
2. WINX (2018)
All hail the Queen
The 2018 Cox Plate was still to be run but the crowd stood as one to welcome champion mare Winx onto the track to defend her Moonee Valley crown for the third time.
Chris Waller and Hugh Bowman had been along for the ride three times previously and they knew what to expect, but the reception Winx received as she stepped out went to another level this time around.
To raucous cheers she stepped onto what had become her own playground and a few minutes later it was an even louder reception when she chalked up a fourth straight Plate easily accounting for Benbatl and Humidor.
3. BONECRUSHER (1986)
'Race of the Century'
It's not often a race goes perfectly to script but that's exactly what transpired in the 1986 edition of the Cox Plate.
The two star Kiwi gallopers Our Waverley Star and Bonecrusher had captured everyone's imagination and stymied betting on the race with bookies betting 10/1 the field 'bar two'.
Bonecrusher went to the post as a $1.90 favourite with Our Waverley Star the $4 second pick.
As the field made the turn at the bottom of the course Lance O'Sullivan made the first move on Our Waverley Star and issued the challenge to Gary Stewart on Bonecrusher to chase, and that he did.
First one had his nose in front, then the other until in the last few strides Bonecrusher was able to prevail with a distance to third placed The Filbert.
Race caller Bill Collins said it all of a two-horse war later described as The Race Of The Century when he said "and Bonecrusher races into equine immortality". And that he did.
4. SUPER IMPOSE (1992)
One for the old timers
The 1992 Cox Plate was an old knock 'em down, drag 'em out bar room brawl with the last man standing being champion 'miler' Super Impose who was in the twilight of his career.
Coming to the 600m hot favourite Naturalism was in trouble and went down along with Palace Reign and 1990 Caulfield Cup winner Sydeston.
But that wasn't the end of the chaos with the later stages delivering a concertina of interference with 1991 Melbourne Cup winner Let's Elope looming large but hanging in badly and causing interference to a host of horses on her inside.
All the while Greg Hall was winding up eight-year-old Super Impose on the outside and he charged over the top to take the prize from Let's Elope but the action continued into 'the room' where stewards upheld a protest from fifth placed Simon Marshall on Better Loosen Up against the runner-up.
5. NORTHERLY (2001)
Mayhem and protests
While the 1992 Plate was rough and tumble the 2001 edition was a similar late race smash 'em up derby, but on this occasion there were only three horses involved.
With the field in full flight down the straight Sunline moved out fractionally as the winning post loomed and she was fighting to hold off three-year-old Viscount while Northerly was charging late out wide under Damien Oliver.
Northerly moved in a horse width and tightened onto Viscount who was pushed onto Sunline's hindquarters.
Greg Childs was trying to straighten Sunline while Oliver was doing similar on Northerly and the youngster Viscount was the ham in the sandwich.
Protests were lodged, by Kerrin McEvoy on Viscount against the other two horses while Childs lodged a protest against Oliver but in the end all were dismissed and 'The Fighting Tiger' retained the race before coming back and repeating the dose a year later, minus the interference.
6. KINGSTON TOWN (1982)
'Kingston Town can't win'
The words uttered by Bill Collins would go into folklore.
How wrong could anyone have been, but to put it on record was in some ways the perfect punctuation to The King's love affair with Moonee Valley.
Kingston Town had won the previous two Cox Plates under Malcolm Johnston and Ron Quinton but it was Peter Cook who had the reins as he went for an unprecedented third successive win in the great race in 1982.
However all was not looking good for the black champ as the field approached the home turn and Bill Collins, known as the 'accurate one' uttered those famous words "Kingston Town can't win" but a few strides later, when Cook eventually got the gelding into the clear the Tommy Smith-trained great overpowered the three-year-old Grosvenor and surged to the line to create history.
7. SUNLINE (2001)
The Kiwi powerhouse does it again
Sunline had endeared herself on both sides of the Tasman and the Kiwi mare was simply a beast who broke their hearts from the front. If she didn't lead she raced on the speed and dared the opposition to take the fight up to her.
After winning the 1999 edition of the Cox Plate beating champion stayer Tie The Knot and Caulfield Cup winner Sky Heights Sunline returned in 2000 and turned in the performance of her illustrious career.
Opening up a lead before the turn Sunline streaked away in the straight to win by seven lengths with jockey Greg Childs having time to have a good look around for the opposition - there were none!
8. DULCIFY (1979)
From triumph to tragedy
As much as he was remembered for one of the most phenomenal Cox Plate performances in its 99 runnings Dulcify is remembered just as much for what happened just 10 days later in the Melbourne Cup.
Dulcify was sublime as he raced away to win the Cox Plate by a widening seven-lengths after Brent Thomson let the Colin Hayes-trained galloper loose at the 500m mark.
Leaving his rivals lamenting Dulcify was in a world of his own in the straight as Thomson eased the gelding through the line in preparation for his First Tuesday assignment.
Just seven days later Dulcify won the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington from Shivaree, who had run second in the Plate, and he went into the Melbourne Cup as 3/1 favourite. He was Australia's favourite horse but a fractured pelvis in the run saw Dulcify break down and he was euthanised leaving the racing world in shock.
The sheer dominance of Dulcify's Cox Plate performance though remains widely regarded as the greatest Cox Plate win ever.
9. MIGHT AND POWER (1998)
'The earth starts to rumble'
Might and Power had put his bona fides forward as a super stayer winning the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup double in 1997 then he chalked up another four Group 1 wins before the 1998 Cox Plate, so it was no surprise to see him sent out as an odds on favourite.
Jockey Jim Cassidy was always intent on leading with the big horse but on this occasion the great Kiwi hoop had to earn his pay with Might And Power only fair to begin and he was crossed by runners getting to the post the first time.
However Cassidy was having no part of getting stuck in the pack and bullocked his way into the clear as the field turned out of the straight the first time and he then went forward to take up the vanguard.
As Cassidy started to up the tempo along the side of the track the opposition couldn't go with the champion galloper and he skipped clear on the home turn and had the race in his keep when three lengths clear soon after straightening, it was then race caller Bryan Martin let out the memorable line … "He's going to get it - the earth starts to rumble".
And rumble it did as Might and Power easily held his rivals to win clearly.
10. GUNSYND (1972)
'The Goodiwindi Grey'
Gunsynd had been originally trained in Queensland by Bill Wehlow but it was when he joined the stables of Tommy Smith in 1970 that the grey started his journey to greatness.
He was a supreme miler winning an Epsom, Doncaster, Toorak, George Main, George Adams and Blamey Stakes but he also stretched out to 2000m in the 1972 Caulfield Stakes and followed up with a win in the Cox Plate.
With Roy Higgins taking off before the home turn in the 1972 edition Gunsynd charged to the lead on straightening and easily held off All Shot.
He was one of the all time crowd favourites winning 29 of his 54 starts after being bought by a group of mates from Goondiwindi for just $1300 at the Brisbane horse sales in 1969.
Originally published as Top 10 Cox Plate magical moments