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Cox Plate preview: What you need to know about the 12 starters in the prestigious Group 1 race worth $5MILLION at Moonee Valley

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  • Reading time:9 mins read


Dubbed by many Australian racing fans as the ‘greatest two minutes in sport’, Saturday will see the WS Cox Plate staged for the 102nd time.

Boasting a whopping prize purse of $5million – including $3million to the winner – this Group 1 feature over 2040m always attracts a world-class field.

When it comes to picking a winner, outstanding three-year-old colt Militarize has caught the attention of many punters, with Alligator Blood and 2022 Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip also expected to be heavily in the mix.

Below is Daily Mail Australia’s runner-by-runner guide to the 2023 Cox Plate.

1. Romantic Warrior (barrier 7)

Strong performer based in Hong Kong, a jaw-dropping $14million in career prizemoney tells the story.

Odds: $4

Trainer: Danny Shum

Jockey: James McDonald

James McDonald will ride Romantic Warrior in the Cox Plate on Saturday evening

2. Zaaki (barrier 12) 

Always an honest performer, but class of field could prove his undoing.

Odds: $19

Trainer: Annabel Neasham 

Jockey: Damian Lane

3. Mr Brightside (barrier 2)

In super from, if he leads heading into the straight will take some stopping. Has four Group 1 winners to his name.

Odds: $8

Trainer: Ben, JD and Will Hayes 

Jockey: Craig Williams

4. Alligator Blood (barrier 5) 

Favourite with many punters, the seven-year-old gelding is ultra consistent. Last start dominant Group 1 win at Caulfield.

Odds: $5.50

Trainer: Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott

Jockey: Tim Clark 

Tim Clark has the vote of confidence from trainers Adrian Bott and Gai Waterhouse to ride Alligator Blood in the Cox Plate

5. Gold Trip (barrier 8) 

Can win this, looked electric in the Turnbull Stakes. Also last year’s Melbourne Cup winner.

Odds: $8.50

Trainer: Ciaran Maher and David Eustace

Jockey: Mark Zahra 

6. My Oberon (barrier 4) 

Prefer others, win will be a major shock given the quality of opposition.

Odds: $51

Trainer: Annabel Neasham

Jockey: Jamie Mott 

7. Pinstriped (barrier 11) 

Group 2 winner at the same track, but significant step up here.

Odds: $61

Trainer: Enver Jusufovic

Jockey: Ben Allen

The Cox Plate always attracts a healthy number of punters at Mooney Valley (pictured, in 2022)

The Cox Plate always attracts a healthy number of punters at Mooney Valley (pictured, in 2022)

8. Fangirl (barrier 9)

Won in impressive fashion at Randwick last start. Another favourite with punters and master trainer Chris Waller said she could be a superstar in the making.

Odds: $9

Trainer: Chris Waller

Jockey: Zac Purton

9. Duais (barrier 1)

Quality mare who does her best work late, don’t discount. Inside barrier could also be an advantage. Damien Oliver’s last Cox Plate before he retires in December.

Odds: $31

Trainer: Ed Cummings

Jockey: Damien Oliver 

10. Victoria Road (barrier 6) 

Highly fancied type from Ireland. Jockey Blake Shinn also knows the ‘Valley’ track like the back of his hand.

Odds: $10

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Jockey: Blake Shinn

Blake Shinn will be tasked with winning the Cox Plate on board Irish chance Victoria Road

Blake Shinn will be tasked with winning the Cox Plate on board Irish chance Victoria Road

Gun apprentice jockey Zac Lloyd will be on board Militarize (left) for the 102nd staging of the Cox Plate

Gun apprentice jockey Zac Lloyd will be on board Militarize (left) for the 102nd staging of the Cox Plate

11. Militarize (barrier 3)

Genuine hope. Discount Guineas run, had no luck, ran home well. 

Odds: $7.50

Trainer: Chris Waller 

Jockey: Zac Lloyd (apprentice)

12. King Colorado (barrier 10)

Exotic chance at best. Gun jockey in Michael Dee is a plus.

Odds: $21

Trainer: Ciaran Maher and David Eustace

Jockey: Michael Dee

Bet Right CEO Anthony Waller couldn’t split Alligator Blood and New Zealand entrant Mr Brightside, to be ridden by the vastly experienced Craig Williams. 

‘Between them, they have amassed career prizemoney approaching $20million,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘Both have delivered an amazing ride for respective connections and fans, and I think they will be the two who fight out this heavyweight title fight.’

Waller’s final selection was promising colt Militarize, who will be out to atone after running unplaced in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas.

He pointed to the rising star’s closing sectionals combined with a significant weight advantage as the reasons why punters should expect a bold showing on Saturday.

Bet Right Selections:

1. Alligator Blood

2. Mr Brightside

3. Militarize



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