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The first Group One of Spring and also the first Group One at HQ, Flemington Racecourse. The 1600m weight-for-age Makybe Diva Stakes has attracted a 13 horse field, with 10 having won at Group One level previously.
Exciting five-year-old gelding Incentivise, who will have his first run in Melbourne on the path to both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups after an exciting Queensland Winter Carnival, is currently listed as $4.20 favourite (via Sportsbet on Thursday afternoon). However, there are three other main chances all below $7, being Mo’unga, Tofane and Inspirational Girl.
The final field of 13 horses includes four from the G1 Winx Stakes, five from the G1 Memsie Stakes, three contesting the race first up from a spell and one that had a run five weeks ago before being prepped for this run. Read on below to find out runner by runner preview of the 2021 Makybe Diva Stakes.
1. Sir Dragonet (8) – $27
Jockey – Ben Allen
Trainer – C Maher & D Eustace
The 2020 Cox Plate winner steps out for his first run as a six-year-old and while he won that Cox Plate first up last year, he is priced at $27 for a reason. He has a good first up record, 6:2-2-0, but finished 9th in his only run at 1600m, hasn’t won below 2040m and is 8: 1-1-0 on a good surface, which he will find here.
“He’s come up well, usually takes a bit of racing, short of his best, will just have a nice hit out, on the Cox Plate path”
— SENTrack (@SEN_track) September 6, 2021
2. Fifty Stars (13) – $34
Jockey – John Allen
Trainer – Tom Dabernig
Will only improve from his run in the Memsie, which was quite ordinary to be honest. Has a good second up record, 7: 2-2-1, and a good record at this track/distance, 6: 2-2-0, but the wide draw raises questions once again. Can he afford to go back given there will be no tempo in the race?
3. Keiai Nautique (10) – $13
Jockey – Craig Newitt
Trainer – Matthew Smith
One of the most exciting runs we have seen this season saw Keiai Nautique come from last to finish just 0.37L off Mo’unga in the Winx Stakes. Benefited from a fast pace in that race and won’t get that here while he also has a suspect 6: 0-0-0 second up record. However, he has only ever won at 1600m and he will relish the big track at Flemington. Juicy odds given that.
4. Imaging (9) – $27
Jockey – Damien Thornton
Trainer – Chris Waller
Was quite plain in the Winx Stakes, despite finishing just 1.76L off Mo’unga in 7th place. Has a good second up record, 7:3-2-0, but has now only won just 1/14 races in Australia and should find a few better here.
5. Mount Popa (6) – $46
Jockey – Fred Kersley
Trainer – M, W & J Hawkes
He didn’t impress in the Winx Stakes first up but given he has already qualified for the Caulfield Cup, he is just slowly building to that. He improves second up and relishes a good track but needs further at this level.
6. Incentivise (3) – $4
Jockey – Brett Prebble
Trainer – Peter Moody
After opening at $7.50 on Wednesday, the money keeps coming for Incentivise. He is now down to $4 and the clear favourite in the race. He has won six consecutive races, capped off with the G3 2400m Tattersall’s Cup in June, but will he be wound up enough to win first up, giving a fitness edge to some of the other main fancies?
💰 The punters have come hard for Incentivise in Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes! 💰 pic.twitter.com/k35ryUDCwp
— SENTrack (@SEN_track) September 8, 2021
7. Explosive Jack (1) – $46
Jockey – Harry Coffey
Trainer – C Maher & D Eustace
The 2x Derby winner has his first run on a path to continue showing that he can be a top-level stayer. He is 1/1 first up but that was a maiden race in November last year and has only raced against his own age. Will need further to properly compete at G1 level.
8. Johnny Get Angry (2) – $126
Jockey – Lachlan King
Trainer – Denis Pagan
The feel good story of last year’s carnival, giving Denis Pagan a Group One win in the Victoria Derby. He had a bit of a wind up run five weeks ago in the 1200m G3 Aurie’s Star and while this is an extra 400m on that, he will still need further.
9. Aegon (4) – $10
Jockey – Luke Currie
Trainer – M Baker & A Forsman
One of the best runs out of the Memsie Stakes saw Aegon come from last at the 400m to finish just 2.2L off Behemoth in his first go under WFA conditions. Ran the fastest last 600, 400m and 200m of the race, will only be better for the run as he is 2/2 second up and has also won a G1 over 1600m in New Zealand. Won’t have the fast tempo to work off in this but he has proven he has the ability to make a splash at good odds.
10. Mo’unga (11) – $5
Jockey – Jye McNeil
Trainer – Annabel Neasham
Didn’t Mo’unga make a name for himself in the Winx Stakes. Stalking champion mare Verry Elleegant and then out-sprinting her to the line. He had a perfect run there and is challenged with a wide draw again, but similar tactics of pushing forward to be competitive should be expected.
11. Colette (12) – $18
Jockey – Damien Oliver
Trainer – James Cummings
Considering everything was against her in the Memsie, Colette actually had an incredible run. On a good track and drawing the widest barrier, she made very good ground late and showed she could be in with a big carnival. However, she hasn’t won second up and still needs some give in the turf at this level, which she won’t get given how good the drainage is at Flemington.
“I’m really looking forward to riding her in the Makybe Diva (Stakes) on Saturday.”@CWilliamsJockey gives Tofane a big push ahead of her Group 1 assignment. @BallymoreStabls pic.twitter.com/WgYxbOQVC5
— Racing.com (@Racing) September 8, 2021
12. Tofane (7) – $5
Jockey – Craig Williams
Trainer – Michael Moroney
Was beaten as favourite with no luck in the Memsie and now goes above 1400m for the first time in her career. The camp has big hopes for her this prep and given the lack of speed she is expected to go forward. As long as she gets a run in the straight, she has every chance in this.
13. Inspirational Girl (5) – SCRATCHED
Jockey – Damian Lane
Trainer – Danny O’Brien
Had a strong finish in the Memsie but clearly wasn’t up to it. Will only improve though, given it was her first run since December last year. We saw what Superstorm was able to do second up last week and there are expectations that she will be able to deliver Group One success this campaign. Her G1 Railway win was a 1600m on a Good 4, which is ominous for this, especially with a good draw.
Looking at the history of this race, just two of the last 11 favourites have actually gone on to win the race. None of the last five winners have won first up while Fierce Impact, last year’s winner, contested the Winx Stakes first up before coming down and winning here. However, the three winners from 2016-18 all contested the Memsie Stakes first up, without winning, before going on to win this race.
Those statistics make it look enticing to bet around the favourite, Incentivise, and look for some value elsewhere. The next two horses in line, Mo’unga and Tofane both present themselves as good options while Aegon could very well win this and Fifty Stars is over the odds but we are siding with Mo’unga. The wide draw didn’t impact him in the Winx Stakes and having an extra week off between runs, compared to those coming from the Memsie, should give him a bit of an advantage here. Tofane could take a lot of chasing but Mo’unga has proven that he can chase down and out-sprint some top quality stayers and middle distance horses, even when posted wide. He should find cover in the run and given Sportsbet are offering bonus back up to 4th, you should be safe to either win or get a bonus back as a worst case scenario!
Best Memsie Stakes Tip: Mo’unga – Win ($5)
If you need more news, information and predictions, head over to our Makybe Diva Stakes page for all your punting needs!
*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of Sportsbet.