Russian Camelot will proceed towards next month's Melbourne Cup after finishing third in Saturday's $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley.

Irish-bred horses filled the first four placings in the 2020 Cox Plate as Sir Dragonet ($7.50) defeated Armory ($7.50) by 1.25 lengths. Russian Camelot ($3.50 favourite) finished two lengths behind the winner while Mugatoo ($26) was fourth.

Russian Camelot settled one-off the fence with cover in the early stages from the outside barrier of 14 and struck the front coming to the home turn before surrendering his advantage on straightening.

"Damien (Oliver) gave him a superb ride from that gate and he probably got left there a bit early too, he was a sitting shot for the two that went by him," said Russian Camelot's trainer Danny O'Brien.

"He had to go forward on what was a pretty hot tempo, I think he's the only one that's held on from up front. You can't always win and you can only ask for 100 per cent effort from the horse.

"Albeit he hasn't won today but that was his best performance, Damien (Oliver) was very proud of him, he's never put in more than he has done today. We're really proud of him.

"We've always thought we would go to the Melbourne Cup, provided we are happy, and he's run out of his skin again today, so we're happy.

"We'll see over the next 10 days but at this stage you'll see him at Flemington on Tuesday week."

Russian Camelot, who like Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet is an entire by Camelot, has raced nine times for four wins and four minor placings.

By Carl Di Iorio for Racing.com