|W.S. Cox Plate wins
Makybe Diva is a name widely known across Australia and the world, both in and outside racing circles, because she is the only three-time winner of the Melbourne Cup. Such a remarkable feat tends to overshadow the fact that she also won a Cox Plate as a seven-year-old mare, which was to be her second last start in her career.
And what an impressive win it was, in a race which was a truly unique one.
Jockeys were shaking their heads after the race saying they had never ridden in a race like it. It was like the winning post was before the turn. The race was on from the 800-metre mark. In an amazing spectacle with 200 metres to go, there were eight horses across the track all making their runs, with Makybe Diva six out and eight wide and travelling comfortably, with jockey Glen Boss almost smirking at the ease at which she was travelling. Turning it into a true staying test was only going to suit one horse, and in the finish, she won easily.
The scenes after the race were of the like that the day has never seen before, with the crowd donning Makybe Diva masks and flags to cheer on the winner as she paraded down the Valley straight. Before the race, the Club had distributed 10,000 cardboard masks in Maykbe Diva’s colours to the crowd, with many needing to remove them to wipe away tears given the impact the mare had on them. Leviathan owner Tony Santic ran down to greet her to lead her in, with himself and jockey wearing their upmarket masks and whipping the crowd into a frenzied excitement. The Clerk of the Course Shane Patterson also wasn’t immune, putting on his Makybe Diva mask to join in the celebrations.
The scene repeated ten days later when she went on to win her third Melbourne Cup and was retired after the race.
“I don’t think this country has seen a better horse in the last 30 or 40 years,” said trainer Lee Freedman who knows what a champion horse looks like given his distinguished career in racing. Given her rare achievement of winning three Melbourne Cups and a Cox Plate, her standing in the pantheon of champions is unrivalled.
It was to be Glen Boss’ first Cox Plate win, before going on to win two more on So You Think (2009) and Ocean Park (2012), and he was in awe of her ability and what she was able to achieve that day. “She just hit the pedal, and it was over in a moment,” he recalls. He was the lucky one to get on her back, and their partnership is now part of racing folklore.
Makybe Diva is now enjoying her retirement from both racing and breeding after producing ten foals throughout her breeding career. Her bronze statue now stands proudly at Flemington Racecourse given her heroics in the Melbourne Cup, but her legacy in the W.S. Cox Plate is assured forever on a day many on course, and those watching from afar, will never forget.