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How To Fix The Cox Plate

November 14, 2014

I have something of a love-hate relationship with horse racing (including the harness code), which includes long bouts of ignoring the results for long periods — I often only find out the winners of these events weeks and in many cases months after they have been run — as well as eschewing the opportunities to bet on these things.

Anyway, I have just found out the result of the WS Cox Plate, the supposed ‘Weight-for-Age Championship of Australasia, and I am not encouraged. Instead of finding the best horse in the land, we had a visitor named “Adelaide” take the trophy at 7/1, with 7/2 favourite Fawkner in second, and Kiwi mare Silent Achiever third at 25/1.

“But these are outstanding Group One horses.” you say, and they are; I never said otherwise. But the race itself wasn’t elite. There were plenty of Group One winners, sure, but they were never going to crown a king (or queen) of the Australasian turf: fourteen goodish thoroughbreds does not a championship make.

So here’s a few tips:

  • No more three-year-olds — only horses four and up to run
  • No more “full” fields — pick just eight runners, plus an emergency
  • Only those who have won a Group One race can take part — no exceptions

This would put the Cox Plate on a similar plane to harness racing’s Miracle Mile, a race which rarely produces iffy winners (yes, Shamus Award’s win was iffy — he was a maiden after nine starts!), as a runner has to have reached a certain level just to be considered for the race.

Go to it, Racing Victoria.

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