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Makybe Diva joins the company of legends

Makybe Diva winning her third Melbourne Cup

Makybe Diva winning her third Melbourne Cup
Yes, we are dedicated to the New Zealand thoroughbred and to New Zealand breeders, but we're also dedicated to celebrating the thoroughbred horse.

So we happily joined the millions around the world who applauded the ascent of Makybe Diva from champion to legend on Tuesday. The seven-year-old mare's historic third Melbourne Cup victory may have been aided by a track prepared for her, but the ease of her win was such that it's hard to make excuses for her rivals. The outstanding performance of New Zealand-bred, -owned and -trained Xcellent, who ran third, further weakens claims that the track was a major factor, because the four-year-old son of Pentire appears to have a distinct preference for firm ground.

Retired immediately after the race by her owner Tony Santic, Makybe Diva ends her racing career as the all-time leading Australasian stake-earner with $A14.6 million prizemoney from 15 wins and seven placings. The mare's seven Group One victories were all in races that are not only valuable, but also celebrated in Australian turf history: the Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate and Australian Cup in Melbourne; and in Sydney, the Tancred Stakes and Sydney Cup.

Makybe Diva has won admission to the room labelled "Immortal Heroes of the Melbourne Cup", but the room's long-standing residents - including New Zealand-breds Carbine, Phar Lap, Rising Fast and Galilee - are not about to leave. Seventy-five years after his 1930 Melbourne Cup win Phar Lap is still talked about. Indeed, the second question directed to Makybe Diva's trainer Lee Freedman on Tuesday was "How does she measure up against Phar Lap?"

The ultimate test belongs to history. We can be confident that "the Diva" and her Melbourne Cup treble will be remembered in another 75 years' time.

But so will Phar Lap.

- Susan Archer


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