Ad Makybe Diva ridden by Glen Boss celebrates as he wins the 2003 Melbourne Cup. (Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

It’s a Diva Day at Flemington for Sofitel Girls’ Day Out

15 September 2023 Written by VRC

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) is preparing to kick start spring Group 1 racing at Flemington tomorrow with Sofitel Girls’ Day Out featuring a special guest in three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva.

The Group 1 $750,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) will see headline horses Alligator Blood, Mr Brightside and Princess Grace compete for Group 1 glory, with the race’s namesake, Australia's champion mare Makybe Diva, set to parade in the Mounting Yard before the running of the feature race alongside her regular jockey Glen Boss and owner Tony Santic.

The special appearance is the first time Makybe Diva has appeared publicly at Flemington with crowds since her record-breaking 2005 Cup triumph.

Racegoers will be able to visit Makybe Diva in the race day stalls throughout the day with her three Cup trophies on display near her statue on the front lawn from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

The race day will be complemented by a strong support card including the $300,000 Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) for mares where Western Australia’s golden girl Amelia’s Jewel will look to enhance her status as the country’s most exciting racehorse.

In the $300,000 Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) for sprinters, Jason Warren’s super star sprinter Benedetta will return to Flemington.

Off the track Australian-born international model and body diversity advocate Georgina Burke will attend Flemington’s first spring race day as part of her Melbourne Cup Carnival Ambassador role.

The New York-based model was born and raised in rural Queensland where she inherited a love of horses from her parents, before relocating to London at just 17 to pursue an international modelling career for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue and J.Crew. In her capacity as official ambassador, Georgina will attend tomorrow, Penfolds Victoria Derby Day on Saturday, November 4 and Lexus Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday, November 7.

Other familiar faces enjoying race day tomorrow will include Hall of Fame trainer and VRC Ambassador Gai Waterhouse AO, VRC Ambassador Crystal Kimber-Peters and friend of the VRC and model Demi Brereton.

VRC Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich said the club was looking forward to the return of Group 1 racing at Flemington under sunny skies.

“This time of year in Melbourne is always such an exciting time when we see the best horses return and people can get back on track to enjoy the best that Flemington has to offer,” Mr Rosich said.

“It is a privilege to welcome a champion of the turf and Australian sport in Makybe Diva back to Flemington, thanks to her owner Tony Santic. The VRC are looking forward to this special occasion to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her first Melbourne Cup win,”

“The Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes is a race that delivers unforgettable performances with this year’s edition shaping up to be another memorable contest with current champions Alligator Blood and Mr Brightside lining up with the hope of adding another Group 1 to their CV.” For VRC Members and guests Meet the Milliner returns to The Atrium alongside the ever-popular Pamper Lounge. Racegoers will also be able to commemorate their racewear look with fashion illustrators located in the The Club Stand.

The Flemington Family Lawn will host family fun activities including lawn games and a Mister Whippy Ice Cream van to provide treats for the whole family to enjoy.

And racegoers can support the VRC’s Pin & Win charity partner, the Australian Childhood Foundation by purchasing a 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup lapel pin on-course for $7. All purchasers will go into the draw to win a share in over $188,000 of prizes including a brand-new Lexus. All proceeds raised from pin sales will go towards the Foundation’s National Trauma Recovery Program.

Gates open at 11:00am ahead of race 1 at 12:10pm. General Admission tickets are $30 per person with children under 12 admitted free to Flemington. More information and ticketing details.

Sofitel Girls’ Day Out Race Program

Race  Time Name 
1 12:10pm Robert Cram Sprint (1100m)
2 12:40pm The Melbourne Cup Carnival on sale now (2500m)
3 1:15pm Listed The Sofitel (1400m)
4 1:50pm Listed Winning Edge Presentations Poseidon Stakes (1100m) 
5 2:30pm Listed Exford Plate (1400m)
6 3:05pm Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m)
7 3:40pm Group 1 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m)
8 4:15pm Group 2 Furphy Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m)
9 4:55pm Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m)
10 5:25pm Australian Childhood Foundation Plate (1700m)