Reigning Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed will race in Melbourne for the first time this spring when she takes on a crack field of fellow stayers in the 2012 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington Racecourse.
The five-year-old Southern Image mare is one of 12 gallopers engaged in this year’s edition of the $300,000 Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) which is one of the key early Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival lead-ups for the cup types.
Prepared by Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas in Adelaide, Southern Speed will be third-up for the season having had two good runs back home at Morphettville last month.
A first-up third to Happy Trails in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) was followed by a big three length victory in the Listed Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) on August 25, Clare Lindop aboard for both runs.
Lindop will be replaced on Saturday however by ace hoop Craig Williams who was in the saddle for Southern Speed’s success in the Caulfield Cup last spring, the duo a top chance again on Saturday with the fitness edge.
“She’s going terrific,” co-trained Macdonald said.
“I couldn’t be happier with her this preparation.”
The talented mare is heading towards a title defense in the first of the big spring majors in Melbourne this time in with the $2.65 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) again on the agenda.
She has a tough task ahead however if she is to become the first ever mare to record multiple Caulfield Cup victories after receiving 54.5kg in the weights on Wednesday.
There is a chance Southern Speed may also run in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley seven days after the Caulfield Cup, Macdonald keeping his options open with her.
Futures Caulfield Cup betting at bookmaker.com.au have Southern Speed rated as a $21 chance, equal with reigning Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden, who Craig Williams is committed to ride – markets led by the Lloyd Williams-owned Green Moon.
In the early Makybe Diva Stakes odds meanwhile she is paying $3.40 as the narrow second elect behind the Peter Moody-trained Manighar ($3.30) who resumes after a stellar autumn – winter campaign that produced three Group 1 victories.
The other most notable rivals Southern Speed will face in the Makybe Diva on Saturday then include Doomben Cup winner Mawingo ($5) and the resuming December Draw ($8) who hasn’t raced since pulling up lame when running dead last as the beaten favourite in last October’s Caulfield Cup.
To get behind Southern Speed for her Flemington run on Saturday and access the futures Caulfield Cup odds, head over to bookmaker.com.au who are also giving away $400 bonus bets to new depositing customers that quote the code BONUSBET!