Matamata gelding Xcellent could not confirm his New Zealand reputation, leaving it to great mare Makybe Diva to show the X-factor in a thrilling WS Cox Plate at Moonee Valley yesterday.

Xcellent finished ninth after mounting a run with 900m to run and being flushed out around 10 wide as Makybe Diva and God's Own were among a group to also start their runs.

The pressure told on the turn, as Australia's best racehorse raced away to win by a 1 1/4 lengths from a gallant Lotteria and Fields Of Omagh, with Xcellent struggling in the soft going.

Xcellent's trainer Mike Moroney said the gelding would now go on to the Melbourne Cup in 10 days, as long as he had suffered no ill effects from the run.

"He has had his hitout for the Melbourne Cup and as long as he comes through it all right it is a case of onwards and upwards for Flemington."

Xcellent took up his customary place at the rear of the field early and because of the slow pace, jockey Michael Coleman elected to make his run at the 900m.

"It was a slowly run affair and Mike had to take off when he did," said Moroney.

"However, just as he did, a few rushed out at the same time after seeing him coming.

"He was flushed wide but continued on well until the corner, when he staggered around and when the real pressure went on he started losing his footing a bit in the ground.

"I thought there was plenty of merit in the run."

Moroney's confidence about a winning performance from Xcellent took a dent on Friday, with a downpour dousing Moonee Valley, resulting in a slow track rating.

It improved earlier yesterday, but rain during the afternoon left the track a genuine slow.

- NZPA