Jockey Damian Lane (centre) reacts after riding Lys Gracieux to Victory in race 9, the Ladbrokes Cox Plate during Cox Plate Day at Moonee Valley Racecourse, Melbourne, Saturday, October 26, 2019. (AAP Image/James Ross) NO ARCHIVING
Jockey Damian Lane (centre) reacts after riding Lys Gracieux to Victory in race 9, the Ladbrokes Cox Plate during Cox Plate Day at Moonee Valley Racecourse, Melbourne, Saturday, October 26, 2019. (AAP Image/James Ross) NO ARCHIVING

Cox Plate centenary edition under serious threat

A decision on the future of the 2020 Cox Plate will be made on June 1 amid growing fears the centenary edition of the weight-for-age championship will be postponed because of coronavirus.

The Cox Plate is scheduled for October 24, but Moonee Valley Racing Club chief executive Michael Browell has already broached the subject of a possible cancellation with racing authorities.

"June 1 is the date where we'll have a clearer picture and we'll be in a position to make a judgment on whether we go ahead (to the Cox Plate) or not," Browell said.

 

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"Racing Victoria and our key stakeholders have been advised accordingly.

"If we find that horses aren't in training on the first of June, I'd imagine it's going to be very difficult to be running a Cox Plate on October 24.

"If we (racing) are closed down and horses are sent to agistment, then you're starting from scratch and it could take between eight and 10 weeks to get going again.

"It's difficult to see a Cox Plate in those circumstances.

"There are lot of questions, but not a lot of answers at this point."

MVRC closed its three gaming venues on March 22 and all staff were last week asked to take leave.

 

Moonee Valley Racing Club CEO Michael Browell holds the Cox Plate. Picture: Rob Leeson
Moonee Valley Racing Club CEO Michael Browell holds the Cox Plate. Picture: Rob Leeson

 

Racing is not due to resume at The Valley until June 13.

"We're just in a holding pattern, we've got zero revenue in," Browell said.

"We don't know what the future holds."

Browell said the club's financial modelling was based on the possibility of racing not returning to normal for six months.

"As things are moving daily, we're yet to make any decisions regarding future business activities relating to the MVRC," he said.

"Once things become clearer, we'll be in a position to finalise plans for the remainder of this season and next season."

Prizemoney cuts are likely to be applied when racing does resume at The Valley, including the Cox Plate, which last year was worth a record $5 million when won by Lys Gracieux.

Victoria's two other spring crowns - the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups - are also likely to be affected by the current crisis either through postponements or stakemoney adjustments.

Originally published as Cox Plate centenary edition under serious threat



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