Possibly one of the greatest names in horse racing Makybe Diva was truly one of the best and deserves to have the Makybe Diva Stakes named after her in honour of her exploits on the racecourse.
The Makybe Diva Stakes is currently a Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Group One graded thoroughbred race held over a distance of 1600m. The Diva Stakes take place at Flemington Racecourse each year in September.
Total prize money for the Makybe Diva Stakes results at $750,000 with racing conditions set at Weight for age with horses three years or older eligible to qualify.
History of the Makybe Diva Stakes
The Makybe Diva Stakes has only been ran since 2007 as before that the race was named the Craiglee Stakes which was in 1948 as a Principal Grade Race.
When first run in 1948 the Craiglee Stakes were created to honour William Johnston, Chairman of the VRC stipendiary stewards between 1924 and 1945. The name Craiglee came from Johnston’s home in Sunbury where he resided during the period.
The Craiglee Stakes originally started off as a 2000m race before being re-shaped in 1965 to be a one mile (1600m) race. By the time the race was renamed in 2007 the Makybe Diva Stakes had firmly taken up the distance of 1600m and continues to this day.
Much like the distance, the grading of the now Makybe Diva Stakes has changed from the original Principle race in 1948 that was won by Lungi, to a Group One feature now entrenched in the Spring Racing Carnival.
The reason the Makybe Diva Stakes now sits prominently in the Spring Carnival schedule is due to the exploits of the great mare on the track when she famously won three Melbourne Cups back to back.
Such was the feat of the great Makybe Diva she remains the only horse in history to have completed a three-peat of the race that stops a nation. To add to that already bursting resume she was also able to win the W.S. Cox Plate in 2005 on the way to winning her third successive Melbourne Cup.
As well as huge racing feats in Melbourne Makybe Diva was also able to win a host of races across the country winning the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2002), Sydney Cup (2004) and the BMW Stakes (2005) to name a few.
Makybe Diva was retired from racing as a 7 year old and was sent to the breeding barn where she was served by greats including High Chaparral, Lonhro and Encosta De Lago.
The champion distance runner was inducted into Australian Racing Hall Of Fame in 2006 and the following year was written into history further when the Craiglee Stakes were renamed the Makybe Diva Stakes in 2007.
Race Venue For The Makybe Diva Stakes
The Makybe Diva Stakes is run over 1600m at Flemington Racecourse. It’s fitting that the race is run at the scene of so many of Makybe Diva’s great victories in the time honoured Melbourne Cup.
Flemington Racecourse is located in the southern suburbs of Melbourne and situated next to the Maribyrnong River where racing has taken place in the area since 1840.
The racecourse that hosts the Makybe Diva Stakes is an incredible place to visit with race days having a capacity of 120,000 visitors and Spring Carnival week seeing over half a million people pass through the famous gates of Flemington.
Flemington Racecourse also boasts the unique feature of a 6 furlong (1200m) straight aptly nicknamed ‘the Straight Six’. This gives horses and trainers a true test of speed with no home turns and just the straight distance to cover.
Given it’s unique track layout, likened to a pear shape, Flemington Racecourse plays host to some of Australia’s biggest races such as the VRC Oaks, VRC Derby, Newmarket Handicap and the Lightning Stakes.
It was the Melbourne Cup however that made Makybe Diva the immortal we know though with three wins back to back in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
The race takes place at Flemington Racecourse over a distance of 3200m which works out at just over 2 laps of the track starting half way down the straight six. To this day the Melbourne Cup remains the richest handicap and 3200m race in the world.
By winning the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse as well as her other achievements Makybe Diva was able to amass over $14m in prize money and it was a fitting tribute to name the Makybe Diva Stakes in her honour.
Previous Winners Of The Makybe Diva Stakes
Whether you look when it was the Craiglee Stakes or the Makybe Diva Stakes, winners have been high quality runners throughout its history.
The first winner of the race was Lungi back in 1948 however a more important victor was that of Comic Court who won the Craiglee (Makybe Diva) Stakes in 1949. Comic Court is often referred to as one of the best post war horses ever winning the Melbourne Cup in record time carrying 59kgs.
Roll forward a fair few years and winners of the Makybe Diva Stakes have lived up to that billing with the likes of Shocking winning the 2010 edition of the race a year after winning the Melbourne Cup on the same track.
After the 2010 win of the Makybe Diva Stakes by Shocking we have seen other great runners like Dissident, Fawkner and Palentino win the race before Humidor won the race in 2017.
Humidor was a horse of huge calibre and was oh so close to ruining the legacy of the great mare Winx when pushing her all the way on route to winning a third Cox Plate.
The most recent winner of the Makybe Diva Stakes has been Fierce Impact who won the race in 2020. The Matt Smith trained runner lived up to his breeding (Sire: Deep Impact) when defeating the hot favourite Russian Camelot in a thrilling finish.
It is without doubt that Makybe Diva is a legend of racing and deserves a race in her honour at the venue where she achieved so much.
To name the Makybe Diva stakes in her honour was a great move by the VRC and the level of competition in the race has lived up to her quality on the track.
The race itself is one of the best days to attend in Spring with so much talent on show leading into the Spring Carnival mixed with decent but not overwhelming crowds makes for a great day.
|Year||Makybe Diva Stakes Winners|
|2000||Go Flash Go|
|1992||Star Of The Realm|
|1982||Rose Of Kingston|
|1978||Family Of Man|