November 01, 2005

"She's immortal.": And so Makybe Diva, Australia's greatest horse, who raced away to win the Melbourne Cup for an unprecedented third time, yesterday entered Australian folklore.

posted by the red terror to other at 12:40 PM - 9 comments

Not the only racehorse to peg it, sadly.

posted by salmacis at 12:45 PM on November 01, 2005

I watched it in my local pub with a bunch of road workers. I was surprised what an emotional impact it had on this bunch of beery blokes. She won the top weight-for age-event, the Cox Plate, a couple of weeks ago, which is a better indication of quality than a handicap like the Melbourne Cup. Also, I had her with the field in the quinella. I'm not stupid when betting. Agreed that she's Australia's greatest horse, since Phar Lap was a Kiwi.

posted by owlhouse at 03:56 PM on November 01, 2005

Hate to break it to you owlhouse but she isn't an Australian horse either. Born and bred in England. ** On another note this horse dosen't even come close to being as good as Phar Lap. Look up their respective records and compare weight for age results (the true mark of a champion). Phar Lap also didn't have to have the track watered for him to win and he won overseas (Makybe Dive was a dismal failure in Japan). He also won a race on every day of the Spring carnival in 1930 (incl the Melbourne Cup) prior to dying in the US. Who know how much better he may have been considering he was only a five year old.

posted by BAC at 06:12 AM on November 02, 2005

Very sad news about Best Mate.

posted by the red terror at 07:41 AM on November 02, 2005

We cannot underestimate the Diva. She has won the Cup three years straight. No other horse has won it three times, let alone three-in-a-row, and she is a mare. She is the first top-weight to win the race in over 20 years. That all makes her special. She also won a Cox Plate in the same year as a Cup. She is now immortal. OKay, so, does that make her the equal of Phar Lap? I don't think so. IMO she's in a rariefied exclusive club that includes Tulloch, Rising Fast, Bernborough, Gloaming, Kingston Town and Sunline. I suppose it should say enough that she won three-in-a-row, and for that she is peerless, she does not have an equal, she walks alone. But true class in the modern era is proven at Moonee Valley in the Cox Plate, universally recognized as the Australasian championship. Makybe Diva only won one of those. It would have been fantastic to see her race more Cox Plates. It's also disconcerting that two of Australia's premier superstar horses -- Elvstroem and Starcraft -- who have travelled overseas and won huge Grade 1 races, were not in Australia to compete the Cox. I rate this years' Cox field as one of the weaker in recent memory. It also would have been nice to see the Diva prove her worth on the international stage. She failed badly in Japan last year (due to a number of factors), but we never saw her race overseas again. I am convinced that the Diva is the world's greatest mare -- no-one can convince me otherwise. But it would have been nice to see her race against the world's best horses in open stakes (ie. Dubai or Breeders Cup, etc.) I also suspect there will be a lingering memory of her third win being won with the VRC bending over backwards to make sure she ran -- only a 2.5 kg handicap on the back of two previous wins plus her multi-G1 form this season. And the watered track will sting a few fans too. So, I rate her just below the true immortals Carbine and Phar Lap. Phar Lap won way more G1 races, sometimes did it over the course of days, was sent to America to race in the world's richest purse, ran on dirt for the first time in his life, and ran away with the race after trailing the field by a dozen lengths at the start. Phar Lap was tested overseas and prevailed; he became front page news across America. The same cannot be said of the Diva. Having said all that, Makybe Diva is a freak. I felt myself elevating off the sofa when I saw her charging down the straight. A great sporting moment that will live forever in my memory.

posted by the red terror at 08:06 AM on November 02, 2005

Born and bred in England By Australians. Her dam Tugela was bought and owned by the Australian connections, who while still in England put her in foal to Desert King, who was available at the time. I understand the intention was always to bring thr offspring out here. I'm not sure you can compare eras, but it is clear that both Phar Lap and the Diva were/are freaks. More so in the case of the Diva, as Red Terror points out, because she's a mare. I'm also not sure about comparing types of races, as there aren't many G1 WFAs in Australia (there are more handicaps). Also the Melbourne Cup is 3200m, which tends to be a specialist distance. Genuine two milers don't get much of a run out and impress at other meetings/carnivals.

posted by owlhouse at 04:33 PM on November 02, 2005

"I understand the intention was always to bring thr offspring out here." She was originally offered for sale, but there were no buyers. Was the auction in England or Australia?

posted by the red terror at 06:44 PM on November 02, 2005

Not sure. I was into page 17 of the Thoroughbred Breeder's Guide when I fell asleep.

posted by owlhouse at 08:29 PM on November 02, 2005

Late breaking news: the Diva was, in fact, bred in Ireland. But that's a bit like claiming nationality on the basis of where your parents had a shag on their honeymoon.

posted by owlhouse at 04:24 PM on November 06, 2005

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