McKell Cup Assignment for Makybe Diva Sister La Amistad

A three-quarter sister to triple Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva, La Amistad races in Black Type company for just the second time this Saturday in the 2014 WJ McKell Cup.

James McDonald

James McDonald (pictured here with trainer Murray Baker) rides La Amistad in Saturday's WJ McKell Cup 2014. Photo: Steve Hart.

The four-year-old daughter of Redoute’s Choice out of Riverman mare Tugela will likely never achieve half the feats of her famous older sibling Makybe Diva, who amassed over $14.5 million in prize money during her 36 start career, but connections would be happy at this stage with a stakes win to get things going.

The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained La Amistad, owned by the Makybe Racing & Breeding Syndicate, has had just 10 starts to date.

Of those she’s won four and ran top three in another two, including back-to-back wins leading up to Saturday’s test.

Two back she put two lengths on a fair field at Echuca to win over 2100m and then won by an easy three lengths to defeat Saghann in a Benchmark 70 when stepped up to the mile and a half (2400m) at Warwick Farm on May 7.

Her only stakes start meanwhile was at Flemington during last year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival when a disappointing eighth behind veteran Precedence in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m).

For her latest win, her best yet, the promising stayer was ridden by Kiwi expat James McDonald.

The gun youngster stays on this weekend bypassing Brisbane’s Doomben 10,000 Day meeting in favour of Sydney’s Royal Randwick races where he will continue his Sydney Jockey Premiership battle with Nash Rawiller.

James has enjoyed 63 metropolitan winners in Sydney so far this season, sitting just three ahead of Rawiller who has eight weeks to turn things around and snare the trophy.

The racing at Randwick on Saturday is headlined by the $100,000 Listed WJ McKell Cup (2400m) where La Amistad’s possible rivals include her last start Lord Mayor’s Cup winning stable mate Zephyron and Gai Waterhouse’s VRC St Leger winner Order Of The Sun.

Encosta De Lago colt Order Of The Sun was last seen backing up from their seven length St Leger win at Flemington in Adelaide’s Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) on May 3.

There they failed to let down on the Slow (6) Morphettville track however and could only manage to run five and a half lengths away sixth behind the winner Kushadasi.

As for the Hawkes’ other WJ McKell Cup chance, Zephyron beat a good field last time out on May 10 including fellow nominees for Saturday I’m Imposing (2nd) and Seccessio (3rd) both prepared by Chris Waller.

Waller has also nominated for five others in the McKell Cup this year including the 59kg top weight Permit and the in-form Danchai coming off two Group 3 seconds most recently behind Pretty Pins in the Chairman’s Handicap over 2000m at Doomben.

McDonald though is happy with his mount rating La Amistad “raw” but “beautifully bred”.

“She’s still raw and still has a lot of maturing to do,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“Her best years are still to come but if she can win Saturday it will do her [worth] some good because she is beautifully bred.

“She was outstanding last time, and she put them away in a matter of 100 metres. To do that was pretty good.”

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