Hong Kong raider comes good on his second Australian start 

Scott Mcglynn
Horse Racing Betting Tips
Horse Racing News
Hong Kong raider comes good on his second Australian start 

The 2023 Cox Plate lived up to its Group 1 status, providing one of the best races of the spring.

News Insights

  • Second time lucky for the Hong Kong Star
  • Return to Melbourne a boost for Brightside
  • Alligator continues to hang tough 
  • Gold Trip continues Melbourne Cup prep

These Spring Group 1 races continue to get better and better. The Cox Plate is always one of the highlights of the entire year, but the 2023 running proved to be a little more special than usual, with one of the best finishes in the history of the race.

The dust is settling on the 2023 Cox Plate, won by Hong Kong raider Romantic Warrior. Steady early fractions contributed to a blanket finish, and as always at Moonee Valley, there were a couple of hard luck stories. We break down what happened. 

Romantic Warrior

While the Turnbull run will have been disappointing for many, we wrote on more than one occasion here that he would be all the better for that initial experience of how things are done in Australia compared to his home in Hong Kong.

He had to be tough to run down two of the top stars in Australia, showing a smart turn of foot and an excellent attitude to get his nose in front right on the line. The margin of victory was 0.1L, but it was closer to a chin hair.

Mr Brightside

Another who arrived in the race off the back of a defeat that came in Sydney at the hands of Fangirl in the King Charles III Stakes. Given a smart ride by Craig Williams, he was hustled up the inside early after a slow exit from the barriers, which proved the right move in a race run slowly.

Produced to perfection to claim the leader inside the final 75m, it was a shame for connections that he was nailed right on the line. He lost absolutely nothing in defeat and continues to show career-best form this preparation. 

Alligator Blood

What more superlatives are there to give to one of the toughest horses in training? He is still to win when running at Moonee Valley, but he looked set to break that hoodoo when they turned into the short straight.

Similar to Mr Brightside insomuch as he appears to be in the form of his life this spring despite now being a seven-year-old. He turns up week in and week out and runs his race - he must be an absolute joy to be associated with.

The others

An inside trip for Duais saw her home in 4th to continue her excellent run of Group 1 form without looking good enough to end a losing run that stretches back to March 2022. Gold Trip continued his preparation for the Melbourne Cup in 5th, doing remarkably well given a steady pace over a trip too short was never going to play to his strengths. 

Sixth was Zaaki, who had the worst of the draw, so that run can be upgraded. A similar sentiment can be given to Fangirl, who was held up last in a slowly run race and then found trouble turning into the straight. Her 7th place finish was a better effort than the bare finishing position suggests.

Militarize took a more prominent position early but didn’t look to like the sharp bends before finishing 8th. Victoria Road had his chance in 9th but simply wasn’t good enough. Both My Oberon and Pinstriped in 10th and 11th were held up in a race that didn’t suit those that far back. King Colorado got a soft lead, so it was disappointing to see him fade out to finish last.

What a race! That is everything that we love about the great sport of horse racing. A pulsating contest which looked like a strong Group 1 on paper fully lived up to that billing, with the majority of the field emerging from the race with their reputations enhanced.