An Aussie Legend

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First past the post for the 3rd year in a row.
Winning the 2005 Melbourne Cup


Is she the greatest ? 
There has been much debate about how she ranks alongside Phar Lap (in Australia) and the likes of Sea Biscuit, Najinsky and others overseas.   Particularly in Australia, there have been some extraordinary horses - Octagonal, Kingston Town, Northerly - all named horses of the year, and many many others - Chiquita, Sunline - the list goes on and on.  The gallant and huge mare Empire Rose who won the Cup - a New Zealand born and bred mare.   She was so big that racing organisers had to have a special barrier made for her to start from.    
Makybe Diva is not that size.  She was bred in Ireland, born in England, and was imported to Australia on  29th February 2002 and has resided and still does, in Victoria.   The rest is history. 
The beauty of all this is the fact that in this troubled world, a horse - a mare to be precise, can cause such excitement, enthusiasm and accolades of the kind we have never seen before.  As the trainer put it  " Go and find the smallest child on this course because they will be the  only person here that will live long enough to see something like this again - we won't live long enough to see it again "  .....  such has been her performance. 
And the beauty too is that again in this troubled world, every year on the first Tuesday in November,  an entire nation can come to a standstill to watch the running of the Melbourne Cup - the greatest and highest stakes Group 1 and longest staying handicap race in the world.   The State of Victoria has a holiday to celebrate it, ( which has turned into a 4 day weekend for many who include the Monday in with it !! ),  and it is broadcast to 800 million viewers around the world.  
The excitement is palpable.   The lead up is awesome.   There is a grand parade the Friday before the great day - through the streets of Melbourne - with jockeys, trainers, and winners of the Melbourne Cup from past years walking through the cheering throngs.   The colour is wonderful - tickertape and confetti rain down.   Somehow the horses always behave themselves in that noise and bustle, as they seem to know they are there to celebrate their own victories, and to be in something big.  There are Cup day breakfasts - big time events, and pre-Cup balls, dinners and special events.  I could go on and on but will leave that at that.
A little about the Diva herself.    Her stable name is Esme ! Why ?   In an Australian produced and very long running soapie called " Neighbours " - (England would know all about that) - there is a character named Esme who is the neighbourhood sticky beak, is so inquisitive that she finds out everyone else's business.   Makybe Diva is a sticky beak - she absolutely must know what's going on, and investigates every little thing.     And does she know she's the Diva - she is a camera junkie.   Loves to pose, knows how to put on the best look - ears forward, head held high.   She is one character of a horse.    But then many greats have been that way.   Dear old Gunsynd, from Gundawindi in Queensland was a great horse, but refused to go into the starting barriers unless he had had his fill of posing for cameras, and he'd nod continually to the crowd as he cantered past them to the starting gates,  stopping here and there to soak up the atmosphere - and the camera clicks and do a bit more nodding.    

Makybe Diva started off her career showing little of the greatness she would ultimately achieve.  As a 3 year old she won a few - had some placings, and was beaten outright on a few  occasions.  She won the Wangaratta Maiden (not a high class race !) in August 2002.
Then she started - and these are the highlights :
*  Won five in a row culminating in the listed Werribee Cup and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington. (Victoria, where the Melbourne Cup is run)
*  Won the 2003 Melbourne Cup.
*  Won the 2004 Sydney Cup. 
    Then went to a new trainer - Lee Freedman. *  Was 2nd in the Caulfield Cup 2004  (this too is a huge race inthe Spring Carnival)
*  Won the 2004 Melbourne Cup.
*  Crowned Australian Horse of the Year for 2004-05.
*  Won the Australian Cup 2005 - at Flemington
*  Won the BMW Stakes at Rosehill (in Sydney) - a high stakes winning race.
*  Won the W.S. Cox Plate at Moonee Valley (Melbourne) .... the richest weight for age race in the world.
*  Won the 2005 Melbourne Cup. She carried a huge weight and it was thought she couldn't do it with that
weight (58 kgs, or just on 9 stone)
Her prize money is $14,526,685.   
On a bitter sweet note, Makybe Diva wore the bridle of Mummify, another high stakes winner and grand horse  who just the previous week had to be put to sleep as he had broken down  badly in a track training accident.   His trainer Lee Freedman was devastated at his loss.   
At the end of the Melbourne Cup last week, her owner with tears in his eyes, announced that she  will never race again - she has been retired to take up stud duties, and have the wonderful life of  a brood mare, in open paddocks, with the world as it should be for happy horses.    
It was a beautiful moment - and the huge crowd (106,000+) cheered and most likely wept with joy.  It was SO the right thing to do. 
Much speculation has been had about what a foal of hers would bring. There are figures bandied about of between $4 and $6 million.
There is a State Reception to be held in her honour in Federation Square in Melbourne in the near future.
I, and a million others could write books and books about her, and no doubt some will. I am hoping they bring out a DVD of her runs and achievements. And there sure would be enough photo's of her to fill several of them.

The joy that this brave, extraordinary (and inquisitive) mare has brought to millions is to be marvelled at. In today's world, that is just too wonderful. 
Annie ...


Thank you Sandy for supplying this image
of our beautiful girl.

Further to last year (November 05) update, I have some more information about the great mare Makybe Diva .
Call me a nut - but I adore horses, and everybody
loves a champion.


As mentioned in the first part of this page, the Diva is a sticky nose - inquisitive, and doesn't seem
to respect gold cups too much
either judging by the nosing she's doing in
the above photograph.   One cup each is given to
the Owner, Trainer and Jockey.   
I believe the owner gets the larger cup.
Anyway, she has now earned the greatest accolade of
any horse - maybe in history.   Time will tell.
Below is part of the story :



Three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva is the world's best filly or mare and the highest-rated stayer beyond 2700m, according to the World Thoroughbred Rankings released on Tuesday by the International Federation of Horse Authorities (IFHA).

The rankings, which are compiled collaboratively by handicappers from around the globe, rate Makybe Diva as the highest-rated filly or mare in the world and the best of any sex at a distance of 2700 metres or further.

Racing Victoria Limited Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter said Makybe Diva was finally given the credit she deserved, as the world's best mare.

"By carrying 58 kilograms in the Melbourne Cup the win ensured she was recognised internationally for the champion she is,"