Kiwi Cox Plates
New Zealand has a rich history in the Cox Plate. From quinellas to a race so impressive they dubbed it ‘The Race of the Century’, check out our favourite Kiwi connections of the great race:
Night March - 1929
Known as ‘The Kiwi’, Night March won the New Zealand Derby before heading across the ditch. He became the first horse to win both the Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate in the same year. This feat was repeated the following year by Phar Lap (who was a half brother to Night March) and later by Rising Fast, Saintly and more recently Makybe Diva.
Beau Vite - 1940 and 1941
Dual Cox Plate winner, Beau Vite, was bred in Shannon, New Zealand and sold for 900 Guineas at the National Yearling Sales in Wellington. The stallion boasted an impressive racing record of 60 starts for 31 wins, including winning the Canterbury Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap, Great Northern Derby, Auckland Cup, Awapuni Gold Cup, Craven Plate, W.S Cox Plate, LKS Mackinnon Stakes, AJC Plate and Chelmsford Stakes - what a superstar!
Bonecrusher - 1986
Dubbed ‘The Race of the Century', it was a Kiwi trifecta in the 1986 edition of the Cox Plate, with Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star settling down to an epic two-horse battle in the concluding stages of the race, and fellow New Zealander, The Fibert, running into third. Bonecrusher was purchased for just $3,500 at the Waikato Yearling Sales and went on to win an excess of $2 million in stakes. He was crowned Australian Horse of the Year in 1987 and was deservingly inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame.
Surfers Paradise - 1991
It was an underdog victory in the 1991 edition of the Cox Plate when Surfers Paradise came from last to take over the well-fancied Super Impose halfway down the straight of Moonee Valley. As the roar of the Melbourne crowd hushed, New Zealanders cheered home their own. It was a special victory for the O’Sullivan family, who had run second in three previous attempts at the race - with Shivaree in 1979 (Our) Waverley Star in 1986, and Horlicks in 1988.
Solvit - 1994
1994 saw another Kiwi quinella with Solvit outlasting Rough Habit to win a thrilling edition of the Cox Plate. Solvit was brilliantly rated by regular jock David Walsh, who clung on by the narrowest of margins to win in what was a complete Kiwi whitewash. The gelding retired at trainer Moira Murdoch’s farm and lived to the ripe old age of 26.
Sunline - 1999 and 2000
Known as ‘New Zealand’s mare of the world’, Sunline went back-to-back in Australia's premier weight-for-age race in 1999 and 2000 and was denied a third when she was narrowly beaten by Northerly in 2001. The superstar mare was the world’s highest-earning race mare of her time, winning 32 of her 45 starts and amassing more than $11 million in stakes.
Ocean Park - 2012
It was a year for the lads, with Ocean Park, All Too Hard and Pierro completing the trifecta in the 2012 edition of the Cox Plate. Superbly ridden by Glen Boss, the Gary Hennessy trained Ocean Park sat off the speed and chased home All Too Hard to win by a head. Ocean Park now stands at Waikato Stud.
Winx - 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Her mother was a Kiwi and her trainer started life in Foxton. Can we claim the mighty mare’s victories as our own? Alongside Phar Lap and pavlova, it’s up for debate, but any little bit of her four Cox Plate victories we can claim a part of, we will!
New Zealand’s Te Akau Shark and Verry Elleegant will line up in this year’s edition of the great race. Could another Kiwi victory be on the cards …?