Makybe Diva Stakes Upgrade Is Long Overdue

The Australian Pattern Committee’s decision to upgrade the Makybe Diva Stakes to Group 1 status is long due.

Formerly known as the Craiglee Stakes, the Makybe Diva Stakes is run over 1600m at Flemington in September and has long been regarded as one of the most significant weight-for-age races of the Melbourne spring carnival. In fact, its record of finding subsequent Group 1 winners makes many people wonder why the APC hasn’t deemed it suitable for promotion to Group 1 status earlier.

First run in 1948, the Makybe Diva Stakes has had 48 runnings since being changed from its former distance of 2000m to 1600m in 1965.

The first winner of the shorter journey set a standard by which others would be judged, she was the AJC Oaks winner Light Fingers who went on to give Bart Cummings the first of his record 12 Melbourne Cups.

In subsequent years, the Makybe Diva Stakes honour roll reads like a who’s who of Australian racing which includes Tobin Bronze (1966), Rain Lover (1969), Gay Icarus (1973), How Now (1976), Ming Dynasty (1977), Family Of Man (1978), Dulcify (1979) Zabeel (1990), Mahogany (1994), Jeune (1995), Sky Heights (1999), Northerly (2002), Weekend Hussler (2008), Shocking (2010) and Southern Speed (2012).

But the Makybe Diva Stakes prophecy doesn’t always lie with the winner. Plenty of horses who ran placings in the Makybe Diva had gone on to win one of the big three Spring races. Horses like Tristarc (1985 Caulfield Cup), At Talaq (1986 Melbourne Cup), Almaarad (1987 Cox Plate), Sydeston (1990 Caulfield Cup), Subzero (1992 Melbourne Cup). Mummify (2003 Caulfield CUp), Elvstoem (2004 Caulfield Cup) had all placed in the Makybe Diva Stakes before they went on to claim their Group 1 glory.

This year’s Makybe Diva Stakes will undoubtedly be a revelation again as history tells us we may not see a more significant form race all Spring.

By Owens Wong



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