Mares Represent in Makybe Diva Stakes 2011 Field

Only two mares have been accepted as part of the 16-horse final field for the race named in honour of arguably Australia’s greatest ever female racehorse, the 2011 Makybe Diva Stakes, with early Caulfield and Melbourne Cup favourite Lights Of Heaven and former AJC Oaks winner Once Were Wild to face off at Flemington.

Lights Of Heaven

Lights Of Heaven is one of two mares accepted for the 2011 Makybe Diva Stakes

Punters at Luxbet have a star-studded field to bet on in this year’s $300,000 Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), Peter Moody’s impressive Zabeel mare Lights Of Heaven the early favourite to take out the weight-for-age feature at her first look at the Flemington track.

The winner of her opening four career starts last season including the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2008m) at Morphettville, four-year-old Lights Of Heaven resumed ahead of an ambitious spring campaign with a luckless second behind 2011 Cox Plate favourite Whobegotyou in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m).

Lights Of Heaven has drawn barrier seven of 16 for Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes and is due to be ridden by Moody’s ace jockey Luke Nolen.

The mare sits at the top of the odds for the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15 paying $7 through Luxbet, and is also the top fancy for the richest race held in Australia each year, the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday November 1.

Despite being the only Caulfield Cup hopeful at single figure odds, her favouritism secured when given just 51.5kg with the release of weights yesterday, Moody is yet to confirm whether he will give Lights Of Heaven, or promising stablemate King’s Rose who won the Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m) last Saturday, the chance to become the first female Caulfield Cup winner since the mighty Kiwi Ethereal in 2001.

“Lights Of Heaven and King’s Rose still have to convince me they will run out a strong 2400 metres,” Moody said, hinting that the 2040 metres of the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 22 could be the more suitable spring option.

Along with Lights Of Heaven, the other mare in the Makybe Diva Stakes field is the Gai Waterhouse-trained Once Were Wild, the Johannesburg five-year-old racing for the first time since finishing ninth to Chris Waller’s Stand To Gain in the Sydney Cup on April 23.

History is against Lights Of Heaven and Once Were Wild on Saturday, the last mare to salute in the Makybe Diva Stakes being Saleous back in 1996.

Other headline entries in the highly-spruiked Makybe Diva Stakes 2011 include Murray Baker’s proven Group stayer Harris Tweed, Michael Moroney’s top import Glass Harmonium, boom Perth galloper Playing God and former The BMW hero Littorio.

Littorio was originally nominated for both the Makybe Diva as well as the feature race in Sydney this Saturday, the $175,000 Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m).

Trainer Nigel Blackiston, however, opted for the Makybe Diva Stakes in Melbourne with Littorio suffering an early blow with the extreme outside gate (16).

It has been over a year since Littorio raced, the Bellotto gelding having been sidelined due to a suspensory injury after their last-start ninth to Jessicabeel in the 2010 Sydney Cup.

Meanwhile Maluckyday is a dual acceptor in both the Makybe Diva and the Chelmsford, the Hawkes-trained stayer resuming for the season ahead of a second stint at the Melbourne Cup after their second behind Americain in the race last spring.

The first race of the new season offering a ballot exemption for the 2011 Caulfield Cup, the Makybe Diva Stakes is shaping up as a must-bet-on feature.

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2011 Makybe Diva Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw

# Form (Last 10) Horse Trainer Jockey Br. Wgt. Hcp. Rtg.
1 X58X08580X MASTER O’REILLY (NZ) Judy Mawer Matthew Allen 12 59kg 104
2 X0X545719X LITTORIO Nigel Blackiston Craig Williams 16 59kg 110
3 3X98125X8X HARRIS TWEED (NZ) Murray Baker Brad Rawiller 11 59kg 110
4 31112X447X MALUCKYDAY (NZ) Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Glen Boss 4 59kg 108
5 X152220X00 MIDAS TOUCH (GB) Robert Hickmott Nicholas Hall 5 59kg 111
6 111X0X0X00 ALANDI (IRE) Robert Hickmott Eddie Cassar 10 59kg 111
7 51X23245X0 AT FIRST SIGHT (IRE) Robert Hickmott Steven King 14 59kg 105
8 6X60X2312X GLASS HARMONIUM (IRE) Michael Moroney Ms Lisa Cropp 6 59kg 108
9 13332190X8 GUEST WING Shane A Edwards Luke Currie 15 59kg 93
10 X82281947X MY BENTLEY (NZ) Michael Kent James McDonald (a) 1 59kg 97
11 0222X3211X ERUPTIOUS (NZ) Michael Kent 13 59kg 88
12 2X2X3X3139 PRINCE OBAMA Jason Clifford Dean Yendall 3 59kg 89
13 314X06X12X DON CARLOS (GER) Michael Moroney Kerrin McEvoy 8 59kg 82
14 11X13322X2 PLAYING GOD Neville Parnham Steven Parnham 9 58.5kg 110
15 830X40919X ONCE WERE WILD Gai Waterhouse Damien Oliver 2 57kg 109
16 1111X2 LIGHTS OF HEAVEN (NZ) Peter G Moody Luke Nolen 7 56.5kg 105