The two former champions of the turf have the closest of ties to the Makybe operation. Relatives and offspring of the star duo continue to feature in the 2021 mating plans of the Gnarwarre farm.

Makybe Diva was raced by Santic, and following a glittering career that netted an unprecedented three G1 Melbourne Cup victories and success in the G1 Cox Plate she returned home for a breeding career.

Six of her eight foals that raced were winners and after producing a filly in 2019 to More Than Ready (USA), which has been retained, she was retired and remains in good health at Makybe.

“Pre-COVID we had the hope of putting her back in the public eye, she looks as good as she ever did and still a big, powerful mare,” Stud Manager Joe Murray said.

More Than Ready (USA) | Standing at WinStar Farm

“There was no reason physically to retire her (Makybe Diva), but Tony wanted to get her back out at Flemington and let people get up close and personal with her.

“There was no reason physically to retire her (Makybe Diva), but Tony wanted to get her back out at Flemington and let people get up close and personal with her.” – Joe Murray

“That obviously went pot when COVID hit. Last year, we did get her to Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day when there was nobody there which was a bit sad, but we did retire her for that purpose and we will keep trying to get her to the public.

“Once this is all behind us, we will hopefully be able to get her back to the races a bit more, ideally at Flemington which is her second home. She’s rugged up at the moment and running around with the other mares and when you get the rug off her she looks really good.”

Makybe Diva’s half-sister Valkyrie Diva (Jade Robbery {USA}) won the G3 Tesio S. and is a prized current member of the broodmare band as the dam of stakes winners Wonder KidJolly Banner (HK) (Lonhro), Wales (Redoute’s Choice) and C’Est Beau La Vie (Bernardini {USA}).

“She’s empty and is getting on in years, but her Zoustar yearling is an absolute cracker and has everything we wanted when we picked that mating,” Murray said.

“We’re going to keep her in Victoria and she will go to Toronado. She has nothing left to prove as a broodmare and Toronado is doing very well and is a versatile stallion. She can throw precocious horses and that mating matches up very well.”

It’s a done deal

La Dolce Diva (Fusaichi Pegasus {USA}) is a daughter of Makybe Diva and has left a stakes performer in Touch Of Mink (Not A Single Doubt). She produced a colt last year by Dundeel (NZ) and is in foal to Royal Meeting (Ire).

“Her Dundeel yearling is a cracker and the main reason she is going back to Dundeel. Some of early foals were big and a smaller mating suits her,” Murray said.

Last Bling is a winning daughter of Valkyrie Diva by Starspangledbanner and her maiden serve last year was to Toronado (Ire).

“We didn’t get to see the best of her as she always felt her knees a bit. She’s a beautiful-looking mare and she’s booked to Deep Field.” Murray said.

“We are looking at the speed there and we bred Quantum Mechanic who is by Deep Field and was third in the Group 1 (Queen of the Turf S.) so we’ve done well breeding to him.”

Star graduate

Starspangledbanner was sold by Makybe at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale for $120,000 and went on to domestic as well as international fame and fortune with Group 1 wins in the Oakleigh Plate, the Caulfield Guineas, the Royal Ascot Golden Jubilee S. and the July Cup.

“He was born at the farm and Tony kept a share in him when he won the Guineas. The farm sold out when Coolmore bought into him,” Murray said.

Joe Murray | Photo courtesy of Makybe Farm

His dam Gold Anthem (Made Of Gold {USA}) has had 12 foals to race and 11 have been successful and includes the mother of the G1 Thousand Guineas winner Amicus (Fastnet Rock).

“Gold Anthem has left a legacy for the farm but is not in foal at the moment, it’s the first time she’s missed in 16 years. She is a phenomenal mare and she still looks amazing,” Murray said. “We’re going to give her one go with Frosted, what he’s doing down her and in America is very exciting.

“Gold Anthem has left a legacy for the farm but is not in foal at the moment, it’s the first time she’s missed in 16 years.” – Joe Murray

“I went to see him at Darley before the lockdown and he looks like he will put in the size and scope, so we will give her every chance.”

Away from Makybe-developed families is Summer Surf (Big Brown {USA}), a $250,000 Inglis Chairman’s Sale purchase last year for Santic. She is a half-sister to the G1 Golden Slipper S. winner and sire Farnan.

“She was in foal to Brave Smash and we got a beautiful filly out of her. Farnan looks like he will get well looked after with broodmares this year so we are going to try and develop the family more ourselves,” Murray said.

“She’s in foal to The Autumn Sun and is going back to him. We would all have liked to see The Autumn Sun race on, but he didn’t have to prove anything else.

“It’s a beautiful mating on pedigree with Redoute’s Choice coming in and the Not A Single Doubt cross, so hopefully it works for us.”

Regal union planned

Star Of Sydney (Starcraft {NZ}) is an unraced half-sister to the G1 AJC Sires’ Produce S. winner and sire Invader, and to the G2 HKJC Jockey Club Sprint winner Not Listenin’tome (Dylan Thomas {Ire}). She will visit newcomer King’s Legacy.

“We haven’t been able to get up to see him due to the lockdown, but the reports we’ve heard on the first-season sires, that as a type, he was the pick for most people,” Murray said.

“Star Of Sydney has a fantastic pedigree, and her Fastnet Rock we sold at Magic Millions this year (for $650,000) to Aquis was an absolute belter. We have an American Pharoah this year and we had one throw at him last year, but it was a late cover and she missed.”

Lot 828 – Fastnet Rock x Star Of Sydney (colt) sold for $650,000 to Tony Fung Investments and Phoenix Thoroughbreds

Two other notable matings locked in are Cailin Miss (Domesday), who is in foal to Headwater, and Faith In Hand (Fastnet Rock), who will both visit I Am Invincible.

A previous visit to the Yarraman Park Stud stallion for Cailin Miss produced the G3 Kevin Hayes S. winner La Mexicana while Faith In Hand is a sister to Amicus and from Starspangledbanner’s family.

“If La Mexicana can win a Group 1, we’re laughing, so it was a no-brainer that Cailin Miss went back to Vinnie,” Murray said.

La Mexicana with Jamie Kah aboard

“Faith In Hand has a Vinnie filly that we will be sending to the sales and one of the nicest fillies we’ve had on the farm, so we had to go back.

“We sold her Sebring filly for $280,000 at Magic Millions, and I would have to have kept her. The mare does everything right and she’s currently in foal to American Pharoah.”

Makybe Diva’s matings are a joint effort between Santic, Murray and the Belmont Bloodstock Agency’s Damon Gabbedy.

“My input is with regards to the physical and if I can, I will view the stallions, Damon has an extensive knowledge of the bloodlines and Tony does a bit of everything,” Murray said.

Belmont Bloodstock Agency’s Damon Gabbedy (right) at yearling inspections

Article Courtesy of TDN Australia