Makybe Diva Named Australia's Horse of Year

Makybe Diva was named Australia's Horse of the Year for the second time in a row in a landslide and the 7-year-old mare also secured two divisional honors in ceremonies Aug 2.

Now retired at Smytzer's Lodge near Geelong, Makybe Diva is the third two-time Horse of the Year in the 37-year history of the Australian award, joining Might And Power (1998, 1999) and Sunline (2000, 2001, 2002).

The Desert King mare was named Champion Stayer and Middle Distance Champion as well. It was also announced that Makybe Diva won a public poll as Australia's Most Popular Racehorse.

The three-time Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) winner, Makybe Diva was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame last month.

Makybe Diva capped a season in which she won four of five starts with her victory in the Melbourne Cup under 128 pounds. That broke her 2004 record for most weight carried by a mare to victory in Australia's most prestigious race.

She gained 145 of a possible 150 votes in garnering the top award. Eremein (2), Serenade Rose (2), and Takeover Target (1) were the only other horses to register votes.

"To be on par with Might And Power and Sunline is fantastic because they were both such great horses, and I am just so thrilled to be accepting this award for our great mare once again," owner Tony Santic said during the ceremony at Melbourne's Crown Paladium.

Makybe Diva finished her career as Australasia's highest ever stakes earner with $14,526,685 from 15 wins and seven placings in 36 starts. She ended her career in the care of trainer Lee Freedman, who took over from David Hall midway through 2004.

She won 11 stakes races from 7 furlongs to 2 miles, including seven group ones. She was retired after her third Melbourne Cup win in November last year.