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10 Top Moments from the Makybe Diva

September 5, 2016

The Makybe Diva Stakes was formerly known as the Craiglee Stakes and was first held at Flemington in 1948.  Here are some interesting Australian Racing Facts for this Spring feature.

 


  • The Makybe Diva Stakes was upgraded to Group 1 status in 2013

  • Only two horses have ever won the race twice, and it has been almost 60 years since the last of these were victorious with Sailor's Guide winning in 1956 and 1957.  The legendary mare, Chicquita was the only other dual winner in 1950 and 1951.

  • In spite of being a traditional Melbourne Cup lead up race, the last Melbourne Cup winner to take out the Makybe Diva was Shocking in 2010.   However he had won the Cup in 2009.  Rain Lover in 1969 was the last horse to complete the Craiglee/Melbourne Cup double in the same season.

  • The first Craiglee was run over 10 furlongs, or the equivalent of 2000m and was won by the Melbourne Cup favourite, Lungi.  The race changed to 8 furlongs, the equivalent of today's 1600m distance in 1965 when Light Fingers was successful.

  • Great Western was the first Northern Hemisphere bred stallion to win the race in 1952.  We had to wait until Jeune in 1995 for the second NH bred and he had won the Melbourne Cup the previous year.  Hugs Dancer and Foreteller are the other NH horses to have won the race.

  • In the second running of the Craiglee in 1949, much was made of the "Double C" runners.  Champions Carbon Copy and Comic Court shared these initials and the race was considered a match race between the two.  Comic Court started a short priced favourite and duly saluted, although Carbon Copy retained favouritism for the Melbourne Cup.

  • Chicquita was a rather controversial winner in 1950 when she won in a close photo finish.  The white line drawn on the Judge's photo was short of the Winning Post having a number of punters claiming that the result was wrong.  Photo Finish cameras take an image that is around the width of a hair and are placed exactly on the finishing line, so cannot record any other position.  The small error occurred by the Judge who drew the line.  The official margin was a short half head.

  • Chicquita was to go on to produce the 1964 Golden Slipper winner, Eskimo Prince by Todman who had been the winner of the first Golden Slipper in 1957.

  • The Craiglee Stakes was named after the property of the same name belonging to one of Melbourne's original founding fathers in James Johnston.  By the time the race was named, the property was held by Wilfred Johnston who was the Chief Stipendiary Steward for the Victorian Racing Club.  It is now the site of the Craiglee Winery.

  • Twenty three New Zealand bred horses have won the Craiglee/Makybe Diva.  The last one was Vigor in 2009, while the first carried a similar name in Vogel who won in 1954.. From 1984 to 1987, four NZ bred horses won in a row.

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