Sunday at the Sunshine Coast sees the postponed...
Hot favourite to win the Ladbrokes Cox Plate next month, Mystic Journey headlines the 18 nominations taken for the Group 1 $750,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington Racecourse this weekend.
Adam Trinder’s history-making daughter of Needs Further chases her eighth straight win when she lines-up as the punter’s pick in the 2019 Makybe Diva Stakes field.
She returns to the track and distance where she became the first Tasmanian Group 1 winner in over a century when taking out the Australian Guineas last March.
As a filly she also won the inaugural All-Star Mile over the 1600m at Flemington, while her spring got off to the right start with a first-up Caulfield win on August 17 in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m).
Trinder opted to keep Mystic Journey fresh for her second-up start in the Makybe Diva Stakes, which she pays $2.10 in futures markets to win at Ladbrokes.com.au on Saturday.
Mystic Journey is also the $5 favourite in all-in Cox Plate 2019 odds at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au for the $5 million Australasian weight-for-age championship at The Valley on October 26.
The bonny mare faces a similar line-up of rivals in the Makybe Diva Stakes as she did in her spring kick-off, but Trinder knows she will need to be improving to beat them home again.
“We all knew that come Makybe Diva and going forward, there’s going to be nowhere to hide because all of the best horses will start to step up,” Trinder told Racenet this week.
“We can only hope that will be us on Saturday.
“There are a lot of improvers in the race that have all been seen at the races, all bar Yucatan, and the exposure of how the horses have returned from their winter break is there to be seen.
“We’re in the big league now and everyone has the same objective.
“She has made really good improvement from her Lawrence win first-up so she’ll present better again on Saturday.”
The other best finisher in the P.B. Lawrence nominated to take on Mystic Journey again on Saturday is third-placegetter Hartnell.
Godolphin’s evergreen nine-year-old was runner-up in the 2017 Makybe Diva Stakes, but bypassed the race last spring.
He has had the benefit of one extra run than the favourite heading into the weekend having placed a close fourth only 1.25 lengths off the winner Scales Of Justice on August 31 in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m).
Hartnell is listed as a $12 hope in pre-field Makybe Diva Stakes betting, with Mystic Journey and three other nominees shorter than him in the markets.
Second-elect at $5.50 is the Memsie Stakes winner Scales Of Justice, the Lindsay Smith-trained Not A Single Doubt stallion in flying form this prep.
Despite having just turned seven, Scales Of Justice is racing in peak form coming into the Makybe Diva Stakes on the back of two wins and a second this campaign.
The Memsie Stakes success was his second Group 1 victory, incredibly coming three years after his 2016 Railway Stakes victory over the mile in Perth.
The WA expat returns to Flemington for just the second time on the weekend, his only other start at the track producing a second to Redkirk Warrior in the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) in 2017.
The other best in betting are Team Williams’ import Yucatan ($8) racing for the first time since his 11th in the Melbourne Cup last November, and the Lindsay Park-trained Frankel five-year-old Rostropovich ($10) who ran fifth in both the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
The Makybe Diva Stakes 2019 final acceptances and barriers are out on Wednesday followed by updated markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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