The Cox Plate is one of the greatest weight-for-age races in the world, but 2023 could see the Group 1 feature moved from its regular October slot for the first time in 100 years.
Racing Victoria has not hidden its desire to revamp the spring racing schedule, with the idea of the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate changing dates being discussed since the end of the 2022 Spring Carnival.
There are plans to move around many of the meetings and races throughout the spring, with the most significant move on the cards being to shift the Cox Plate from its October 28 date in 2023 to potentially November 25.
It is being reported that the Moonee Valley Racing Club has discussed multiple scheduling options for the Cox Plate but is yet to agree on the specific changes.
The chief executive of the Moonee Valley Racing Club, Michael Browell, confirmed that a “huge boost in prizemoney” for the Cox Plate would be the driving factor for the late-November change.
“RV, the ball is in their court, they need to come up with an offer to make us consider the change,” Browell said.
“The Cox Plate would need a huge boost in prizemoney… we have put it to RV, it is whether or not they can cash the cheque we're asking them to write.”
Browell also said that the potential Cox Plate shift from October 28 to November 29 was tied into Champions Day being the Melbourne Cup Carnival finale.
“We see genuine upside, if you were starting with a clean sheet of paper and you were working out when would be the best place to run the best race in the country, two weeks after a $3m 1600m (Champions Mile) race and a $3m 2000m race (Champions Stakes) would be the ideal,” he said.
“Going potentially to two weeks after the last day at Flemington gives us a chance to pick up the four-year-olds that have run in the Golden Eagle.”
The proposed move could see changes for the Group 1 Moir Stakes and Group 1 Manikato Stakes, with the latter expected to be run on Cox Plate Day again, as we saw in 2022, due to the postponed Manikato Stakes Friday night meeting.
The Moir Stakes could be moved to later in the Spring Carnival, giving it space from The Everest and thus allowing the best sprinters in the country to run in both races as an extra lead-up for the VRC Champions Sprint at Flemington on Champions Day.
Racing Victoria CEO Andrew Jones has gone on the record saying that work on a new look Spring Carnival was still ongoing.
“No final decision has been made in regard to Spring and we will continue to have discussions with the necessary stakeholders,” he said.
The possible changes to the Victorian Spring Carnival could look like this:
- Cox Plate moves from October 29 to November 25
- Moir Stakes moves from September 29 to October 28
- Thousand Guineas moves from October 18 to November 19
- Memsie Stakes moves later into Spring Carnival