The race has provided its fair share of surprises in recent years with seven of the past 16 winners scoring at double figure odds or higher including the 2013 winner Shamus Award ($21).
Five favourites have won since 2000 and they were Sunline in 2000 at $2.40, Northerly in 2002 at $4 and Makybe Diva in 2005 at $2. So You Think is the shortest priced winner since 2000, starting at $1.50 when he won his second Cox Plate in 2010. Winx scored as a $4.50 chance last year.
The average winning price of the winners has been $10.20. This year, Winx is a $1.95 popular elect in early markets with William Hill, while Hartnell was posted at $3 after the Tuesday morning barrier draw. Vadamos, at $13, is closer to the average winning price, while Yankee Rose at $14, Black Heart Bart at $16 and Hauraki at $18 are next in the market.
This year sees two clear-cut top picks, similar to 2001 when Northerly and Sunline dominated the betting. On that occasion, the West Australian started as second pick and rolled the mighty mare.
The weight-for-age race has seen both young and old gallopers succeed. Three-year-olds have won the race on three occasions since 2000 with Savabeel (2004), So You Think (2009) and Shamus Award all successful with the lightweight. All of those gallopers were colts, meaning that the filly, Yankee Rose, will be out to defy history. Samantha Miss came close to winning as a filly back in 2008, running 2nd to Maldivian.
Four-year-olds have been the most successful in the Cox Plate in recent years, winning four of the past five edition's of the race. This year, there are no gallopers aged four. Six-year-olds have won the race on four occasions since 2000, while only two five-year-olds have saulted in that time.
This year, Winx, Awesome Rock and Hauraki are the gallopers aged five, while Black Heart Bart, Hartnell, Happy Clapper, Vadamos and Lucia Valentina are aged six.
Winx and Lucia Valentina are the only two mares in the race this year and will be aiming to join Sunline (2000), Makybe Diva (2005) and Pinker Pinker (2011) as other mares to win the Cox Plate since 2000.
Winx will be aiming to become the fourth galloper to win back to back running's of the Cox Plate since 2000 after Sunline achieved the feat in 2000, Northerly in 2002 and So You Think in 2010. Fields Of Omagh also won the race on two occasions, with those victories coming in 2003 and 2006.
An interesting statistic is that horses drawn between Barrier 3 and Barrier 7 have won 11 of the 16 Cox Plates since 2000.
The race favourites, Winx and Hartnell, have drawn ideally in Barrier's 3 and 7 respectively. Others to draw in plum spots are Happy Clapper (4), Awesome Rock (5) and Black Heart Bart (7).
It is anticipated that Hartnell will push towards the lead, or settle handy in this edition of the race, but Winx shouldn't be too far away. Gallopers settling in the first half of the field have generally had a superior record in the Cox Plate compared to those who get back. Winx should have plenty of options from the draw.
The most successful jockeys in the race since 2000 have been Glen Boss with three wins and Craig Williams with two. Neither of those two hoops will be in action this year after Williams was outed following his Caulfield Cup ride on Real Love.
The key lead ups to the Cox Plate have been the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and the Turnbull Stakes (2000m). Four winners have come through the Caulfield Stakes and three have claimed the Caulfield Stakes/ Cox Plate double.
Winx won the Caulfield Stakes this year and will be looking to join Ocean Park (2012), So You Think (2010) and Northerly (2002) as horses to complete that double.
Finally, for people who are keen to back Vadamos, the only true international galloper in the race, keep in mind that the foreigners have a poor record.
Of the gallopers who were trained internationally in their lead up to racing in the Cox Plate, only Adelaide has won, while Grandera is the only other one to have placed since 2000, coming 3rd in 2002 behind Northerly.