"The Diva" is one of only five horses to have won the Cup more than once in the 145 year history of the event. The others are Archer in 1861 and 1862, Peter Pan in 1932 and 1934, Rain Lover in 1968 and 1969 and Think Big in 1974 and 1975.
Makybe Diva is owned by South Australian tuna fisherman Tony Santic, who named her after the first two letters in five of his employees' names (Maureen, Kylie, Belinda, Diane and Vanessa). The nature of her performances is emphasised by the fact that she is the only mare among the list of multiple winners, and is among only 11 mares, and three fillies to have won the cup in its history.
The Makybe Diva story began in 1998 in England. Tony Santic's bloodstock agent John Foote purchased Tugela in foal to Desert King for 60,000 guineas at the December 1998 Tattersall's Sale. As normally happens with Santic's British-purchased horses, she was taken to Dick Fowlston's Britton House Stud in Somerset to board before being sent on to Australia. Tugela gave birth to a bay filly weighing at five minutes past midnight on 21 March 1999. The filly was offered for sale at the December 2000 Tattersall's sales but did not make the reserve. Called Makybe Diva, the filly remained at Britton House Stud until August of 2000, when she and Tugela were shipped to Australia.
Originally trained by David Hall, Makybe Diva made her racetrack debut in July 2002 as a three-year-old in a maiden race at Benalla in Victoria, and finished fourth. At her next start in August, as a four-year-old, Makybe Diva won her maiden race before moving through the classes, winning two events in a row. She had her first metropolitan start when winning a fillies and mares handicap over at Flemington. She followed with wins over the fields in the Listed Werribee Cup and Group 2 VRC Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Makybe Diva returned briefly in the autumn for two showings over short distance races. But owner Tony Santic and trainer David Hall had other plans in mind for the spring.
Makybe Diva resumed racing in the spring over , but while being reasonably competitive, she did not win any major races. Second up at her next start in the Group 3 Stock Stakes she came from behind to finish fourth, beaten by just over two lengths. She then started 5-1 equal favourite in the Group 2 Turnbull Stakes, where she again began in the back of the field, before finishing fourth, beaten by only one length.
After finishing as a 14-1 outsider in the Caulfield Cup, she began her partnership with Sydney jockey Glen Boss. Coming from near last with to go in the race, she finished fourth behind the Lee Freedman trained Mummify. The first Tuesday in November 2003 was her first Melbourne Cup victory. Starting as an $8 second favourite, Makybe Diva raced at the back of the field until the finishing straight, where jockey Boss picked his way through the field to win by one and a half lengths.
In the autumn of 2004, she resumed over with , followed by a third place finish in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup. Following this, she was blocked when making a winning run in the Australian Cup before being taken to Sydney, where she placed third in the Ranvet Stakes and The BMW Stakes, both Group 1 races. The Group 1 Sydney Cup over was to be her final run for the campaign. Sent out as a $3.50 second favourite, she began off the pace, but charged home to record a win by half a length, becoming the first mare to ever win the Sydney Cup / Melbourne Cup double in the same season, and only the fourth horse to have accomplished the double win.
Her campaign in the spring of 2004, was aimed at winning the Melbourne Cup for a second time. It followed the pattern of her previous cup winning campaign, even though she appeared to be racing better than before. A close second in the Group 2 John F Feehan Stakes over at Moonee Valley, showed her competitiveness in shorter races. In the 2004 Caulfield Cup Maybe Diva drew barrier 18 and settled at the back of the field. She charged home late to be narrowly defeated by arch rival Elvstroem who controlled the race from the outset leading all the way.
Makybe Diva was sent out a $3.60 favourite, and won the 2004 Melbourne Cup. In driving rain, the mare defeated a field featuring multiple Irish St. Leger winner Vinnie Roe, Caulfield Cup winners Mummify and Elvstroem, Mamool from the Godolphin stable, as well as the 2002 Melbourne Cup winner Media Puzzle.
Resuming racing in February, Makybe Diva put in close finishes behind Elvstroem in both the C F Orr Stakes and St George Stakes, at Caulfield. On March 12, she won the Australian Cup, a weight for age event over , and in the process broke the Australian record and setting an unofficial world record for on turf. She proceeded to win Sydney's most important WFA race, The BMW Stakes, with a last-to-first burst. In April and May, she raced in Japan, where she failed in two starts, the latter of which was over in the Group One Tenno Sho (Emperor's Cup).
A three quarter brother to Makybe Diva, by Redoute's Choice, was sold in April 2005 for an Australian record price of $2.5 million. Subsequently named Musket, the colt won his debut at Canterbury in August 2006.
On 1 November 2005, Makybe Diva defied the odds by creating history in winning a record third Melbourne Cup. Immediately after the race, trainer Lee Freedman said of the achievement: "Go find the smallest child on this course, and there will be the only example of a person who will live long enough to see that again." During the presentation of the Melbourne Cup, owner Tony Santic announced that Makybe Diva would "retire from racing as of today".
Makybe Diva carried 58 kg during the record third Melbourne Cup, 2.5 kg above the standard weight-for-age scale. The last horse to carry more than weight-for-age and win was Rain Lover, who was 2 kg over when he won his second cup in 1969, with 60.5 kg. Makybe Diva, who broke her own weight-carrying record for a mare of 55.5 kg, which she set in 2004, was the highest-weighted winner of the cup since Think Big won his second Melbourne Cup with 58.5 kg in 1975.
At the end of the 2005 - 2006 season Makybe Diva was named Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year for the second time, becoming just the third horse to win that accolade more than once. She was also named Australian Champion Stayer, winning this award for the third consecutive year as well as Australian Champion Middle Distance Racehorse.
In 2006 the inaugural Sprit of Sport Award (for 2005) was given to Makybe Diva and her connections (Lee Freedman, Tony Santic, and Glen Boss) by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame for her three successive Melbourne Cups.
It was announced on 5th August 2006, that Makybe Diva would be honoured at Flemington Racecourse with a bronze statue, in recognition of her historic 3 Melbourne Cup wins. A life-sized bronze statue was also erected on the foreshore in Santic's home town of Port Lincoln, South Australia.
Makybe Diva headed the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities ratings for the 2005 - 2006 official end of season assessment. She was given a rating of 124, ahead of Electrocutionist, David Junior and Heart's Cry on 123.
At 3.16am on the morning of the 17th of August 2007, AEST time, Makybe Diva gave birth to her first foal, at Coolmore Stud in the Hunter Valley of NSW. Coolmore's Peter O'Brien, said the bay colt "...is a lovely colt with a white face and two white feet," and that "both mother and son were doing very well.
Makybe Diva was due to be served by Encosta De Lago in the spring of 2007 until the outbreak of equine influenza forced the stud to be quarantined. Owner Tony Santic sent the Diva to American champion Fusaichi Pegasus instead.
On the 20th August, 2008, Makybe gave birth to her second foal, a filly by the aforementioned Fusaichi Pegasus.
|4th||29/7/2002||3yo Maiden||Benalla||1200m||54.5||1:13.15||F. Alesci||Blues Explosion 1st|
|Won||13/08/2002||Maiden||Wangaratta||1600m||55||1:41.70||V. Hall||Sing Us a Tune 2nd|
|Won||3/9/2002||Class 1||Sale||1700m||55||1:43.97||V. Hall||Zanisa 2nd|
|Won||17/9/2002||Class 3||Ballarat||2000m||54.5||2:07.15||V. Hall||Our Fireman Sam 2nd|
|Won||3/10/2002||F & M Handicap||Flemington||2000m||52||2:02.31||B.Prebble||Little Miss Quick 2nd|
|Won||30/10/2002||Werribee Cup||Werribee||2000m||51.5||2:03.24||L. Currie||Aquiver 2nd|
|Won||9/11/2002||Queen Elizabeth Stakes||Flemington||2500m||52||2:35.78||L. Currie||Spirit of Westbury 2nd|
|8th||5/4/2003||Open Handicap||Caulfield||1400m||55.5||1:22.52||V. Hall||Karamazou 1st|
|6th||25/4/2003||Auckland RC Hcp.||Flemington||1600m||56.5||1:37.10||V. Hall||Old Man 1st|
|4th||30/08/2003||Noel Rundle Welter||Caulfield||1400m||58.5||1:25.32||L. Currie||C'Est Le Reve 1st|
|4th||13/09/2003||W H Stock Stakes||Moonee Valley||1600m||55.5||1:36.81||S. Arnold||Sunday Joy 1st|
|4th||4/10/2003||Turnbull Stakes||Flemington||2000m||56.5||2:04.06||L. Currie||Studebaker 1st|
|4th||18/10/2003||Caulfield Cup||Caulfield||2400m||51.5||2:25.98||G. Boss||Mummify 1st|
|Won||4/11/2003||Melbourne Cup||Flemington||3200m||51||3:19.90||G. Boss||She's Archie 2nd|
|7th||14/2/2004||Chester Manifold Stakes||Flemington||1400m||59.5||1:21.12||V. Hall||Mr Murphy 1st|
|3rd||28/2/2004||Carlyon cup||Caulfield||1600m||56.5||1:36.24||G. Boss||La Sirenuse 1st|
|6th||8/3/2004||Australian Cup||Flemington||2000m||55.5||2:01.67||G. Boss||Lonhro 1st|
|3rd||20/3/2004||Ranvet Stakes||Rosehill||2000m||55.5||2:03.22||G. Boss||Sound Action 1st|
|3rd||3/4/2004||The BMW Stakes||Rosehill||2400m||55.5||2:25.78||G. Boss||Grand Zulu 1st|
|Won||17/4/2004||Sydney Cup||Randwick||3200m||55.5||3:21.21||G. Boss||Manawa King 2nd|
|4th||28/08/2004||Memsie Stakes||Caulfield||1400m||55.5||1:23.02||L. CurrieS||Regal Roller 1st|
|2nd||11/09/2004||J F Feehan Stakes||Moonee Valley||1600m||55.5||1:42.50||L. Currie||Delzao 1st|
|7th||2/10/2004||Turnbull Stakes||Flemington||2000m||56.5||2:00.46||D. Oliver||Elvstroem 1st|
|2nd||16/10/2004||Caulfield Cup||Caulfield||2400m||55.5||2:31.37||G. Boss||Elvstroem 1st|
|Won||2/11/2004||Melbourne Cup||Flemington||3200m||55.5||3:28.55||G. Boss||Vinnie Roe 2nd|
|7th||12/2/2005||C F Orr Stakes||Caulfield||1400m||55.5||1:22.85||S. King||Elvstroem 1st|
|2nd||26/2/2005||St George Stakes||Caulfield||1800m||56.5||1:49.56||G. Boss||Elvstroem 1st|
|Won||12/3/2005||Australian Cup||Flemington||2000m||55.5||1:58.73||G. Boss||Winning Belle 2nd|
|Won||19/3/2005||The BMW Stakes||Rosehill||2400m||55.5||2:26.99||G. Boss||Grand Armee 2nd|
|7th||10/4/2005||April Stakes||Nakayama||2000m||59||2:00.1||G. Boss||Suzuno March 1st|
|7th||1/5/2005||Tenno Sho||Kyoto||3200m||56||3:16.5||G. Boss||Suzuka Mambo 1st|
|Won||27/08/2005||Memsie Stakes||Caulfield||1400m||55.5||1:26.75||S. King||Barely a Moment 2nd|
|2nd||10/09/2005||J F Feehan Stakes||Moonee Valley||1600m||55.5||1:37.64||G. Boss||Lad of the Manor 1st|
|Won||1/10/2005||Turnbull Stakes||Flemington||2000m||56.5||2:01.57||G. Boss||Lad of the Manor 2nd|
|Won||22/10/2005||Cox Plate||Moonee Valley||2040m||55.5||2:09.27||G. Boss||Lotteria 2nd|
|Won||1/11/2005||Melbourne Cup||Flemington||3200m||58||3:19.79||G. Boss||On a Jeune 2nd|