PP, I agree with the demise of the quality of the race these days but is better than the Galaxy by a bit.
It will be interesting to see if Bivouac can win. He comfortably beat Yes Yes Yes in the spring but then could not win the Manikato or the Ascot Vale. I think he is the horse to beat but needs luck.
Not so sure about The Galaxy comparison.
The last three Galaxy's were won by Nature Strip (winner of two other G1's), In Her Time (Lightning Stakes winner) and Russian Revolution (who won the Oakleigh Plate)
The last three Oakleigh's have been won by Booker (who???), Russian Revolution and Sheidel. Flamerge and Shamal Wind before that.
Since Lankan Rupee in 2014, the only winner to win a subsequent
Group 1 was Flamberge (William Reid).
Some good winners before that but as I said just in recent years the existence of the race as a handicap is impacting on class. Connections of good horses have many WFA options.
In fact one could argue that one of the reasons for the deterioration is local competition, and especially the decision to move the William Reid to a March date. When everybody's favourite horse Bomber Bill won the race in 2001, it was known as the Australia Stakes and was run on Jan 25th.
The William Reid/Australia Stks (G1 version) race was won by Black Caviar (twice), Apache Cat (twice) and Sunlight last year. That quality of sprinter avoids the Oakleigh Plate these days.