‘Absolutely devastated’: Cox Plate bombshell as favourite scratched MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 19: Zaaki during the Breakfast with the Best trackwork session at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 19, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)


One of the horses tipped to win the $5 million Cox Plate has been scratched hours out from the highly-anticipated event.

One of the horses tipped to win the 2021 Cox Plate has been scratched hours out from the highly-anticipated event.

The 2040m race at Melbourne’s Mooney Valley Racecourse is scheduled to get underway on Saturday afternoon at 5.10pm, with Zaaki touted as one of the favourites to claim the $3 million prize money.

But on Saturday morning, trainer Annabel Neesham confirmed the British horse would not take part in the event.

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“Absolutely devastated to report that Zaaki had been scratched from the Cox Plate due to an elevated temperature. Gutted for connections and James McDonald,” she said in a statement.

TAB bookmakers were so confident Zaaki would take out the Cox Plate, they paid out the triumph last month.

Earlier on Friday, Gold Trip was scratched from the weight-for-age race due to lameness in its legs.

“He felt fine to me,” Gold Trip jockey Damien Oliver told Racing.com.

“(Gold Trip) felt fine to me last week when I galloped him. Hopefully, he does take his place because he’s obviously a really good horse. For me, he’s sound and I have no problems with his action, and I’m very comfortable to ride him if he takes his place on Saturday.”

Showers are forecast on Friday (2 to 6mm) and Saturday (2 to 5mm) but it’s unlikely we’ll see a repeat of last year’s Soft 7 track unless the meteorologists have missed the mark.

Cox Plate Day schedule

Race 1 (12:15pm) – Restricted Listed $400,000 Inglis Banner (1000m)

Race 2 (12:50pm) – $130,000 Ladbrokes Handicap (1000m)

Race 3 (1:25pm) – Listed $175,000 PFD Food Services Crockett Stakes (1200m)

Race 4 (2:00pm) – Group 3 $200,000 Tandem Building Group Red Anchor Stakes (1200m)

Race 5 (2:35pm) – Group 2 $300,000 3 Point Motors Fillies Classic (1600m)

Race 6 (3:10pm) – Group 2 $300,000 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m)

Race 7 (3:45pm) – Group 2 $300,000 Drummond Golf Vase (2040m)

Race 8 (4:25pm) – Group 2 $1,000,000 McCafe Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m)

Race 9 (5:10pm) – Group 1 $5,000,000 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m)

Race 10 (5:50pm) – Group 3 $200,000 Powerflow Solutions Tesio Stakes (1600m)

Cox Plate runners and odds

1 – ZAAKI (GB), scratched

2 – DALASAN, $23

3 – GOLD TRIP (FR), scratched

4 – CALLSIGN MAV (NZ), $34

5 – MO‘UNGA (NZ), $7


7 – PROBABEEL (NZ), $9.50


9 – ANAMOE, $2.90

10 – CAPTIVANT, $11

What time in the Cox Plate?

The Ladbrokes Cox Plate is scheduled to get underway at 5.10pm AEDT on Saturday, October 23.

How to watch the Cox Plate

Australians will be able to watch the 2021 Cox Plate on Racing.com, Sky Racing or Seven’s free-to-air channels.