Coursing History – Brightside chasing unique treble
Mr Brightside has started his spring campaign in a blaze of glory and the Lindsay Park gelding will complete a unique treble if he stretches his winning streak to five in Saturday’s $750,000 Group 1 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.
The son of Bullbars is striving to become the first horse to win the P B Lawrence Stakes, Memsie Stakes and Makybe Diva Stakes in the same campaign.
Lord, who won four-straight Memsies from 1958 to 1961, is the only horse to have won all three races but his Lawrence Stakes win came in 1958 and his Makybe Diva Stakes win three years later.
Weekend Hussler came closest to completing the treble, winning the Memsie and Makybe Diva after being edged out by Light Fantastic in the Lawrence Stakes in 2008.
‘The Hussler’ is one of 11 horses to have run in all three races in the same spring since 2000 with Black Heart Bart the next most consistent performer, having run second in the Memsie Stakes and third in both the Lawrence Stakes and Makybe Diva Stakes in 2019.
Aegon is the other horse engaged in this year’s Makybe Diva who contested both the Lawrence Stakes and Memsie Stakes, in which he finished third and ninth.
He will be double-figure odds in the 1600-metre weight-for-age event, but Mr Brightside will go around one of the shortest-priced favourites in recent Makybe Diva Stakes history.
He opened $2.15 with TAB but was swiftly backed into $1.90.
Mahogany won at $1.40 in 1994 – when the race was known by its original name, the Craiglee Stakes – but Weekend Hussler ($1.90) is the only odds-on winner since.
Others to start odds-on since Mahogany were Lights Of Heaven, who finished fifth at $1.90 in 2011, and Hartnell, who was the same price when second in 2017.
Mr Brightside and second favourite Alligator Blood are hoping to use the Makybe Diva Stakes as a springboard to Cox Plate success, something many have found beyond them in recent years.
Last year’s winner and Cox Plate runner-up I’m Thunderstruck came close to completing that double, something that hasn’t been done since Northerly in 2002.
In fact, no Cox Plate winner has come through the Makybe Diva Stakes since Northerly in 2002 and you have to go back to Almaarad in 1989 for the previous Cox Plate champion to have done it.
It’s been almost 30 years since a Melbourne Cup winner came via the Makybe Diva Stakes, Jeune (1994) being the most recent, but it has proven a good Caulfield Cup platform.
Incentivise two years ago joined Northerly (2002), Sky Heights (1999), Ming Dynasty (1977) and How Now (1976) as winners of both races in the same spring and is one of seven Caulfield Cup winners to come through the Makybe Diva in the past 25 years.
Caulfield Cup favourite and leading Lexus Melbourne Cup contender Francesco Guardi is among those targeting the feature staying handicaps engaged in this year’s Makybe Diva Stakes.