Makybe Diva Stakes 2022 Preview: Contenders, Betting & Winner Trends

Many of Australia’s finest milers will converge upon Flemington to battle it out in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes on Saturday.

I’m Thunderstruck has been installed as the favourite after finishing second in the G1 Memsie Stakes over 1400m at Caulfield a fortnight ago. He got the better of Cascadian in that race, and that duo will renew hostilities on Saturday.

The field also features three more multiple G1 winners – Regal Power, Alligator Blood and Mo’unga, who finished second in this race last year. Mo’unga is the sole returning runner from 2021 in the field, which features only mature horses aged at least five.

This is the second G1 race of the Melbourne Spring Carnival, and several leading trainers will be keen to put down a marker. Many winners of the Makybe Diva Stakes have gone on to clinch the Cox Plate, the Melbourne Cup and the Caulfield Cup, so it is not one to be missed.


Race Background & History

This race was inaugurated in 1948, when Lungi stormed to victory. The legendary Comic Court won it the following year, before back-to-back triumphs for Chicquita.

It was originally known as the Craiglee Stakes, named after the home of former VRC stipendiary stewards chairman Wilfred Henry Johnston. The race was renamed in 2007 to honour champion Australian thoroughbred Makybe Diva, who set a new record by winning three consecutive Melbourne Cups between 2003 and 2005, along with the 2005 Cox Plate.

The race was run over a distance of 2000m before it was brought down to 1600m in 1965. It was upgraded from Group 2 to Group 1 status in 2013, and the prize money has continued to increase ever since.


Makybe Diva Stakes Notable Winners

There have been many illustrious winners of the Makybe Diva Stakes over the years:


  • Comic Court | A former Melbourne Cup winner who also clinched the VRC Derby, two Memsie Stakes wins, two Turnbull Stakes, two Mackinnon Stakes, the William Reid Stakes, the C F Orr Stakes and lots of other big races. This versatile thoroughbred clinched the Makybe Diva Stakes in 1949.


  • Sailor’s Guide | An Australian Hall of Fame inductee who won back-to-back Makybe Diva Stakes in 1956 and 1957. He flourished in Australia before heading to America to win the Washington DC Stakes, which evolved into the Breeders’ Cup Turf.


  • Light Fingers | Another Australian Racing Hall of Fame inductee who won the Melbourne Cup and the Makybe Diva Stakes in 1965.


  • Tobin Bronze | This crowd favourite won 24 of his 44 Australian starts, including two Cox Plates, the Caulfield Cup and the Makybe Diva Stakes, earning him a place in the Hall of Fame.


  • Rain Lover | A champion thoroughbred who found fame by winning back-to-back Melbourne Cups in 1968 and 1969. He also won the Makybe Diva Stakes in 1969, and he was named Australian Horse of the Year before joining the Hall of Fame.


  • Rose of Kingston | The 1982 Australian Horse of the Year, who won the Makybe Diva Stakes, Australasian Oaks, Australian Derby and Coongy Stakes that year.


  • Zabeel | This New Zealand-bred racehorse won the 1990 Makybe Diva Stakes, but he is best known for becoming a champion sire. He sired Australian champions Octagonal  and Might and Power, who won the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups, two Cox Plates and the Sydney three-year-old triple crown, along with Hong Kong record holder Vengeance of Rain and 150 other stakes winners.


  • Jeune | The 1994 Melbourne Cup winner, who went on to win the Makybe Diva Stakes the following year.


  • Northerly | Possibly the greatest Australian middle-distance horse of the early 21st century. He won two Cox Plates, the Caulfield Cup, two Australian Cups and two Underwood Stakes, along with the 2002 Makybe Diva Stakes.


  • Weekend Hussler | Won nine out of 11 starts as a three-year-olds, including six Group 1 triumphs. That equalled Kingston Town’s Australian record for the most Group 1 wins in a single season, earning him the Australian Horse of the Year title.


  • Shocking | Winner of the 2009 Melbourne Cup. Shocking went on to win the Makybe Diva Stakes the following year and the Australian Cup in 2011.


Makybe Diva 2021 Winner

Incentivise produced a gutsy display to hold off the rampaging Mo’unga and win the 2021 Makybe Diva Stakes. It was his first Group 1 start, and he went off as the $2.70 second favourite behind Verry Elleegant.

Jockey Brett Prebble took him to the front and he was never caught, eventually finishing half a length clear of Mo’unga. Incentivise has since won the Turnbull Stakes, and he finished three lengths clear of his rivals to clinch the Caulfield Cup. Meanwhile, Verry Ellegaant went on to win the Melbourne Cup, while Mo’unga is a multiple Group 1 winner, showing just how strong the Makybe Diva Stakes field tends to be.


Makybe Diva Time & Date

The Makybe Diva Stakes will take place at Flemington Racecourse at 2.55pm AEST on Saturday 10th September. It is a Group 1 race taking place over 1600m on the left-handed turf track. The Makybe Diva Stakes is run at weight for age conditions, open to three-year-olds and older, but only mature milers are taking part this year.


Makybe Diva Stakes Field & Contenders

I’m Thunderstruck

The Mike Price-trained five-year-old got the better of several illustrious rivals to finish second in the Memsie Stakes a fortnight ago. Cascadian was third, Western Empire was fifth and Alligator Blood finished seventh, while he finished well clear of elite runners such as Duais and Tofane.

I’m Thunderstruck won the $7.5 million Golden Eagle over 1500m last year, but he still has just one G1 victory to his name – the Toorak Handicap. However, that race takes place over 1600m, and he may relish a return to that distance on Saturday.

We have priced I’m Thunderstruck at $11.00 to win the Cox Plate, leaving him behind only three horses in the futures betting, and he is the clear favourite for the Makybe Diva Stakes this weekend.


Alligator Blood

Alligator Blood announced himself as a serious contender for the country’s greatest prizes when he won the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap. His preparations for the Memsie Stakes were plunged into chaos after part-owner Allan Endresz was declared an undischarged bankrupt. He was ultimately cleared to compete, but he could only finish seventh.

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained gelding ended up in a tough spot in that race, and he did not have room to build up speed. He is coming out of Barrier 4 for the Makybe Diva Stakes, and he could be dangerous if he gets a better run. He is the only horse in the field to win over a mile at Flemington, having clinched the 2020 Australian Guineas, and it will be interesting to see if he can recapture that form.



Cascadian was going strong in the closing stages of the Memsie Stakes, and he looks well-suited to a longer distance. He also performed well in trials, suggesting that he could be better than ever this season.

Along with Mo’unga, Cascadian is one of just two horses in the Makybe Diva Stakes field to secure a G1 weight-for-age victory. He prevailed at the 2022 All Aged Stakes, which suggests he could become the first Northern Hemisphere-bred winner of this race since Foreteller in 2013.


Western Empire

Western Empire went off as the favourite for the Memsie Stakes following his eye-catching victory in the 2021 Railway Stakes over 1600m. He was in the mix as they approached the final furlong, but he ran out of steam and finished fifth.

The last 200m let Western Empire down in that race, but that can be attributed to the long break he had between races. If he is closer to full fitness on Saturday, he will be a major contender.



The 2021 Winx Stakes winner finished a narrow second in this race last year. He returned to action in the 2022 Winx Stakes, but he finished dead last in a field of 10. Mo’unga will need to generate a major improvement to threaten here once again.


Makybe Diva Stakes Odds

Horse Fixed Win Fixed Place
I’m Thunderstruck 2.25 1.24
Alligator Blood 5.00 1.65
Cascadian 5.50 1.75
Western Empire 6.50 1.90
Mo’unga 9.50 2.35
Regal Power 19.00 3.70
She’s Ideel 31.00 4.80
Nonconformist 34.00 5.50


Makybe Diva Stakes Prize Money 

Prize money for the Makybe Diva Stakes has increased to $1 million. It is a very prestigious Group 1 race too, which has attracted a star-studded field of experienced talents.


Makybe Diva Stakes Tips

Cascadian looked really sharp in the final 200m of the Memsie Stakes. He has already won the 2021 Doncaster Mile and the 2022 All Aged Stakes, and he could be in for yet another Group 1 triumph on Saturday. The field for this race is extremely strong, so it will be a hard-fought affair, but odds of $5.50 on a Cascadian win look tempting.


**Odds quoted are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change.