PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (previously known as the Craiglee Stakes)
Flemington Racecourse, Saturday 15th September 2018
Race 7: 4.10pm (AEST)
1600 metres, WFA
213X7 1. HAPPY CLAPPER (12), J: MARK ZAHRA, W: 59 KGS, 7.00
9X496 2. BLACK HEART BART (11), J: BRAD RAWILLER, W: 59 KGS, 20.00
84X81 3. HUMIDOR (1), J: DAMIAN LANE, W: 59 KGS, 4.20
3X56X 4. TOSEN BASIL (2), J: JORDAN CHILDS, W: 59 KGS, 34.00
139X4 5. JON SNOW (4), J: STEPHEN BASTER, W: 59 KGS, 19.00
561X1 6. COMIN’ THROUGH (5), J: MICHAEL WALKER, W: 59 KGS, 11.00
X3327 7. POUNAMU (3), J: BRETT PREBBLE, W: 59 KGS, 34.00
167X0 8. HARLEM (7), J: REGAN BAYLISS, W: 59 KGS, 67.00
1X8X7 9. THE TAJ MAHAL (9), J: BEN MELHAM, W: 59 KGS, 34.00
11X43 10. KINGS WILL DREAM (10), J: JOHN ALLEN, W: 59 KGS, 4.40
0X242 11. KEMENTARI (8), J: CRAIG WILLIAMS, W: 58.5 KGS, 3.70
11X58 12. GRUNT (6), J: DAMIEN OLIVER, W: 58.5 KGS, 14.00
The first Group 1 in Victoria was raced a fortnight ago, with the surprise winner of the Memsie Stakes being the noted middle-distance galloper Humidor (see video below). This time, some of the best gallopers in the nation step out over a mile, raced at Flemington racecourse. There are some interesting observations in the Makybe Diva Stakes (previously known as the Craiglee Stakes, a recent name change made in honour of the three-time Melbourne Cup winning mare).
For British readers, the name The Taj Mahal might jog some memories. The former Aidan O’Brien four year old from Ireland has been in Australia permanently since this time last year. He’s come along quietly, though was probably outshone by the deeds of his Irish stablemate Johannes Vermeer who also emigrated down under. With that horse now under an injury cloud, it’s up to TTM to step up to the plate, with some lucrative races on the horizon. On his day, he is up to the class assembled for this race. It will be his second start in this new Spring campaign, finishing seventh three weeks ago at Moonee Valley.
Jetting in to Melbourne from Western Australia is the Group 1 winner Pounamu. This bloke has had a checkered career. He started out his racing life in Sydney, was transferred to Perth and it took 13 races for him to break his duck. The plucky grey gelding has won a few races since then, including last years Group 1 Kingston Town Stakes over 1800 metres. He raced over the Australian winter in Perth (which doesn’t really have a winter, if you’ve ever lived over there you’d know), though it might be a bit ambitious of his connections to start him here against a quality line-up. He has gun jockey Brett Prebble onboard, who has returned to Australia after a lengthy stint riding in Hong Kong.
Having his first start in Australia for his new stable (Darren Weir) is former Japanese galloper Tosen Basil. Before leaving Japan, his last start was a sixth in the Tenno Sho (3200 metres) back in late April. He’s raced in some very prestigious races without landing the big prize. I think on past history, he’ll be gearing up for a run at longer distance races like the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup double. His run this Saturday will allow punters to get a good look at him for the first time.
Kiwi galloper Jon Snow returns to Australia for another stint. The former 2017 ATC Australian Derby winner impressed a few pundits over this side of the Tasman last year, winning three races (Tulloch Stakes, ATC Derby, JRA Cup), before firming tracks became his undoing. A noted soft/heavy track specialist, his new campaign kicked off in New Zealand two weeks ago, finishing a creditable fourth in the Tarzino Trophy over 1400 metres (see video below). Definitely a horse who appreciates the sting out of the ground as well as longer distances. He is trained by New Zealand’s premier horseman: Murray Baker.
In our last report on the Memsie stakes, we touched on former Yorkshire galloper Kings Will Dream. This horse is going from strength to strength and remains firm in the favouritism stakes for the looming Caulfield Cup. He ran an excellent third to Humidor in that race the other week, and you can’t help but be impressed by his improving form. He’s at a starting price (SP) of A$4.40, but will probably come in to less than that by race-time. Will be ridden by Irishman John Allen, who is one of Darren Weir’s top stable jockeys.
As mentioned, Humidor won last start in the Memsie, plus he also won this corresponding race last year. Upon winning two weeks ago, trainer Darren Weir was asked whether Humidor would start in the W.S Cox Plate against Winx, his short answer was ‘probably not’. Instead, he is being aimed for the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000 metres), on the fourth day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Sure to go well again this Saturday, this time, he’s currently the second favourite on the tote.
The current favourite is Godolphin’s Kementari. Punters still seem to be sticking by the horse, despite no wins in his three starts back. I’m certain that the horses connections wanted to avoid racing in his hometown of Sydney just to steer clear of champion mare Winx, and at least guarantee some better prize money down in Melbourne. It hasn’t quite worked out like that. I’m actually surprised by this, and also by many punters claiming indifference to jockey Craig Williams. Kementari will need to show something sooner rather than later to justify his credentials.
Black Heart Bart is another seasoned campaigner, and very adept over the 1400-1600 metre distance. His three runs back this campaign haven’t been inspiring, and one wonders whether his best work is now behind him. Knowing my luck, he could easily come out and win this. Probably good to have in your multiples and exotics if you wish to cast a wider safety net.
Like Kementari, one wonders whether Happy Clapper has avoided Sydney because of the ‘Winx Effect’. Just because you’re not racing against her doesn’t mean it gets easier racing elsewhere. This horse is a bit of a bullock and can race on the speed, but the wide barrier draw won’t make it easy for him. Punters don’t think so, he’s currently fourth favourite at A$7.00 SP.
For mine, the danger horse in the field is Comin’ Through. Winner fresh-up in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes two weeks back (see below), plus the Group 1 Doomben Cup up in Brisbane during the winter and a second in the Group 1 blue riband Doncaster Mile in the autumn, Comin’ Through is now starting to show his potential as a specialist miler. Expect to see his odds drop by race-time. He’s at 11’s now, but won’t stay at the price.
Comin’ Through, Humidor, Kings Will Dream
Video Reference Guide
2018 Memsie Stakes (Humidor)
2018 Tramway Stakes (Comin’ Through)
2018 Tarzino Trophy (Jon Snow)