COVID-19 makes 2020 Plate like no other

By: Friday 23 October 2020

The WS Cox Plate will lack its usual amphitheatre-like atmosphere when the race is run at an empty Moonee Valley.

Cox Plate day usually has about 30,000 racegoers with the countdown to the $5 million race producing scenes that are unique in world racing.

Crowds get closer to the horses at Moonee Valley than any other Melbourne racetrack.

But that won't be the case in 2020 as spectators remain locked out in line with Victoria's COVID-19 restrictions.

Horses will parade in silence and head through the famous tunnel and onto the track without the usual cheers to greet the competitors.

Leading Melbourne jockey Ben Melham said the quiet environment would help most horses perform at their best on the big occasion.

"It's a lot easier for the horses because they don't get wound up as much without the crowds," Melham said.

"From that regard, it helps them conserve their energy more in the run so it won't be a disadvantage for them."