Diva’s Daughter Disappoints on Debut

In a disappointing start to a highly-spruiked career, the second foal of triple Melbourne Cup winning wonder mare Makybe Diva failed to come up with the goods in her race debut in Victoria this week.

Mark Kavanagh

Mark Kavanagh - the trainer of Makybe Diva's first daughter La Dolce Diva

The Mark Kavanagh-trained Fusaichi Pegasus filly La Dolce Diva, purchased for a costly $1.2 million at last year’s Sydney Easter Yearling Sales, made a mediocre entrance to racing on Thursday at Geelong.

After originally being earmarked to race first-up at Sandown Lakeside last Saturday, Kavanagh scratched Makybe Diva’s first daughter from the race due to the unsuitably wet conditions at the track.

La Dolce Diva then lined-up for the first time in Thursday’s $15,000 Geelong Cup Packages SV 2YO Fillies Maiden Plate (1200m).

A wide barrier nine draw did the two-year-old no favours, and La Dolce Diva failed to come within nine and a half lengths of winner Tully Plenty in finishing seventh.

La Dolce Diva’s half-brother, Galileo colt Rockstardom was Makybe Diva’s first foal and has also had an unspectacular start to their career on the track.

Purchased for a massive $1.5 million, the Danny O’Brien-trained Rockstardom has started seven times to date but remains a maiden.

Rockstardom was spelled after finished dead last in the Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) last start at Flemington on Anzac Day, and hopes for La Dolce Diva are that she will be able to bounce back from her debut flop and be more competitive on the track than her half-sibling.

Described by jockey Michael Rodd as “a work in progress”, La Dolce Diva is sure to have benefited from the experience of her first race appearance, which was what Thursday was about according to Kavanagh’s son Levi.

“She is a long way off,” Rodd said.

“She is a nice type and moves well but she is still only a two-year-old and is going to need time.”

With her dam being one of Australia’s most iconic and impressive stayers in recent history, La Dolce Diva is bred to stay and as she steps up in distance over time is sure to find her feet.

“Today was just about getting her to the races, getting out of the gates and racing in a big field,” Kavanagh said on Thursday.

“She has shown us good ability and has been finishing off quite well in jumpouts, but there is more pressure in a race.

“She was a lot quicker out of the gates than she has been in jumpouts and is coming along well.”

Part-owned by Tony Santic’s Makybe Racing and Breeding syndicate, La Dolce Diva is likely to be given one more run before being sent to the paddock for a brief spell ahead of the spring.

“She will have a freshen and come back for something in the spring,” Kavanagh confirmed.

“I would say she will be nominated for a lot of different races but there are no plans until we give her a few more runs.”

In related news, a half-brother to gun galloper Hay List made the exact opposite impression in their race debut this week.

Also prepared by Hay List’s dedicated trainer John McNair, Delzao gelding Sound Of The Ocean is from Hay List’s dam Sing Hallelujah.

The three-year-old raced for the first time at Gosford on Thursday, holding on to defeat a field of 12 in a final stride victory in the $16,000 Schweppes Maiden Handicap (1100m) carting 58kg.

Ridden by his Brazilian work rider Diego Lima, Sound Of The Ocean jumped a little slowly before settling midfield and showed a good ability to quicken when running down the leaders to score his maiden race and maiden win by a short half-head over Mighty Mandi.

While still a long way from becoming a dual Group 1 winner like older half-brother Hay List, Sound Of The Ocean impressed McNair with the run all the same.

“It was very exciting for him,” McNair said.

“I thought the race was a bit short for the horse and he only got up in the last stride.

“It was a terribly weak field, you can’t get carried away with it.

“I can tell you he is no Hay List, apart from Black Caviar, you may never see another one like him.”

Of Hay List, McNair confirmed the champ was recovering well from the adverse health and bout of colic that saw him miss the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) in Brisbane last month.

“He is on the improve and I’ll probably know more when I take his bandage off,” McNair said.

“All the signs are encouraging.

“He is happy, as relaxed as he can be, which is usually a very good sign.”