Makybe Diva: The Indomitable Mare

Makybe Diva is an exuberant and well-trained British-bred thoroughbred mare, who went straight into the Australian horse-racing record books by becoming the first horse to win three consecutive Melbourne Cups. In addition, Makybe Diva also became the first mare to register wins in different Melbourne Cups, a feat that is yet to be matched.

While records are meant to be broken, everything appears to be moving in a similar direction with many of the staying horses and staying races being endangered by an era that appears to favor sprinters and millers more. According to Lee Freedman, an accomplished Australian thoroughbred trainer, the record set by Makybe at the Melbourne Cup will not be broken anytime soon.

Although Makybe Diva was bred in Britain, she was later shipped to Australian where she underwent intensive training. Being one of the highest stake earners in Australia's horse racing history, Makybe Diva amassed a career earning of AU $14 Million in just 4 years.

Makybe Diva's Profile

  • Place of birth: Somerset, United Kingdom

  • Date of birth: 21 March 1999

  • Sex: Mare

  • Owner: Makybe Diva is owned by Tony Šantić, a Southern blue-fin farmer and a renowned thoroughbred owner

  • Trainer(s): David Hall and Lee Freedman

  • Sire: Desert King

  • Dam: Tugela

  • Jockey/s: Glen Boss, F. Aleski, S. King, D. Oliver, L. Currie, V. Hall and S. Arnold

  • Record: 39: 15-4-3

  • Career earnings: AU$14,526,685

Makybe Diva Achievements

Makybe Diva took part in her first-ever competitive race at the age of 3. With little to no racing experience, Makybe finished an impressive 4th. Although her first season was not great, she finally managed to get her head in the game in the season that followed, by winning 6 out of 8 competitive races including the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Werribee Cup.

After turning 5, Makybe Diva would get her first win at the Melbourne Cup Tourney on 4th November 2003. The horse would once again emerge victorious at the 2004 and 2005 Melbourne Cups. During her final season in 2005, Makybe Diva won 4 of 5 races that she participated in, including the Memsie Stake, Turnbull Stake, Cox Plate, and the highly coveted Melbourne Cup.

At the Cox Plate, Makybe Diva delivered another impressive performance by coming from 8 horses down, to win the race. In her final Melbourne Cup appearance, she weighed 58 kgs, which is half a kilogram above a mare's recommended weight to scale ratio. At the race, Makybe Diva would first settle at the back, before steadily gaining some ground and finally taking a premature final sprint with more than 300m remaining.

Notable Remarks

For many years, the collective stake winnings of AU$14 million by Makybe Diva was yet to be matched. However, in 2019, Redzel, a well-trained Australian thoroughbred and race track champion, finally surpassed the prize money record. By the end of her racing career, Makybe Diva was awarded the highly coveted Spirit of Sports Award and named Australia's Champion Racehorse for the second time.

Upon retirement from racing, the thoroughbred was inducted into the Australian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. On top of that, a life-size statue was erected in honour of Makybe Diva at the Flemington Racecourse. Because of her impressive performance on the racing track over the years, Makybe Diva became a highly sought-after breeder. As it is the case with many accomplished thoroughbreds, none of Makybe’s offspring came close to achieving what she accomplished on the racing track.

On 17th August 2007, Makybe Diva gave birth to her first fowl, Rockstardom in Hunter Valley. After turning one year, Rockstardom was purchased by Daniel O’Brien Racing for a record-breaking fee of AU$1.5 Million. Over the next three years, Rockstardom would put out an above-average performance winning just two out of 12 competitive races and earning about AU$26,115. On July 2013, Rockstardom succumbed to a skull injury at the Chris Wallers stable.

Although Makybe Diva won 3 Melbourne cups, her last win at the 2005 Melbourne Cup was marred by controversies. Many of the participants at the race suggested that the watery tracks somehow gave Makybe Diva an edge over the other horses. However, despite the controversies, the win stood, which meant that Makybe Diva had set a new Melbourne record and also broke the weight-carrying record by a mare. Makybe is currently enjoying retirement at a boutique thoroughbred farm in Australia.