Black Heart Bart has opened the short-priced favourite in pre-field Makybe Diva Stakes 2016 betting for the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival’s second Group 1 race of the season on Saturday.
Fifteen weight-for-age hopefuls are nominated for the $500,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington Racecourse this year with early markets at Ladbrokes.com.au firmly led by Black Heart Bart at $2.10.
An ultra-consistent Blackfriars six-year-old, Black Heart Bart has run top two in his past seven runs dating back to December including two Group 1 seconds and two Group 1 wins.
His elite level victories came in Adelaide on May 21 in The Goodwood (1200m) and then Melbourne last start when winning the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) first-up on August 27.
The Memsie Stakes – Makybe Diva Stakes has been recently achieved by Weekend Hussler (2008, when the first leg only held Group status) and Dissident (2014), with Black Heart Bart well fancied to do the same.
No six-year-old has taken out the Makybe Diva Stakes however since the late champion Northerly (2002).
Two other nominees are also at single-figures in the futures Makybe Diva Stakes odds this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with the fellow Weir-trained Palentino ($6) and the Mick Price-trained Tarzino ($8.50).
Dissident two years ago was the last four-year-old Makybe Diva Stakes winner, and the best fancied of that age group this spring is Teofilo stallion Palentino.
The galloper is best known for his win in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) over the Flemington mile back in March, the same track and distance he is back over for the first time since on Saturday.
Palentino was last seen running fifth to his stablemate in the Memsie Stakes second-up when beaten just under five lengths, while fellow four-year-old Tarzino ran eighth in the same lead-up.
Price’s Tavistock stallion won last November’s Group 1 Victorian Derby (2500m) as well as the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on the back of his Australian Guineas second to Palentino in the autumn.
A fourth to Tavago in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) followed before the Memsie Stakes return that his trainer Price, who won the Makybe Diva Stakes a decade ago with Pompeii Ruler (2006), believes he can improve on this weekend.
The next best fancied in the current markets ahead of Wednesday’s final acceptances and Makybe Diva Stakes barrier draw are Our Ivanhowe ($11) and Rising Romance ($13).
Lee & Anthony Freedman saddle-up seven-year-old German import Our Ivanhowe for the first time since his Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) win in Brisbane on May 21.
The stallion is best known for his Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) third last October and chases his first win at Flemington and over less than 2000m.
Southern Speed (2012) was the last mare to beat home the boys in the Makybe Diva Stakes, and the best fancied of the females this season is the Lindsay Park-raced Rising Romance.
A six-year-old daughter of Ekraar, she comes off a second in the Memsie Stakes in her first run since an overseas bid in Hong Kong.
The 2014 ATC Oaks winner has only won once in the past two years, but she’s tipped to run well in the Makybe Diva Stakes again after the second to Fawkner last September.
Check out the full all-in Makybe Diva Stakes 2016 betting odds before markets firm with the release of the field of final acceptances later in the week – prices courtesy of Ladbrokes.com.au.