With the running of the Sydney Cup this weekend we take a look at some of the most memorable runnings of the race including Makybe Diva’s win.
“She’s as tough as they come.”
Toughness was what jockey Craig Newitt declared was the main attribute which helped the John O’Shea-trained Jessicabeel to victory in the 2010 Sydney Cup.
The win had O’Shea looking forward to the first Tuesday in November as the mare stamped herself a genuine Melbourne Cup prospect with her sustained finish at the end of the gruelling 3200 metres.
“I was very confident coming here today,” O’Shea said.
“This is very gratifying. We went to New Zealand and bought stayers and now (Rosehill Guineas winner) Zabrasive and this mare have qualified for the Melbourne Cup.”
But it was not to be.
The Zabeel mare failed to win a race in five starts after her Sydney Cup success and Melbourne Cup plans were aborted after a setback caused her withdrawal from the Caulfield Cup and she subsequently finished last in the Lexus Stakes.
Jessicabeel was passed in at last week’s Australian Easter Broodmare Sale in Sydney where she failed to reach her reserve of $500,000.
The canny Kiwis got the cash in 1991 when Just A Dancer, a flop in the Chairman’s Handicap a week earlier, landed the Sydney Cup in a canter.
Renowned trainer Graeme Rogerson persevered with a Sydney campaign for the Star Way entire despite indifferent lead-up form in New Zealand and a second last of six at 40-1 in Better Loosen Up’s Australian Cup at Flemington.
Just A Dancer was backed from 7-1 to 6-1 on a dead track in the Chairman’s Handicap but was never in the hunt and finished ninth of 15 to Prizaan.
But he backed up in the Cup just seven days later with Grant Cooksley in the saddle and, after firming from 50-1 to 40-1, gave nothing else a chance with a fast-finishing, four-length drubbing of Castletown.
In between champion Octagonal and his champion son Lonhro, Tie The Knot more than admirably wore the mantle as Sydney’s favourite racehorse.
The Nassipour gelding burst into prominence with his win in Sydney’s Spring Champion Stakes in 1997 before a gallant second to Second Coming in the Victorian Derby.
He again missed out on Classic glory the following autumn when runner-up to Gold Guru in the AJC Australian Derby but just a week later had his fans cheering from the rafters at Randwick when he gathered in 1995 Caulfield-Melbourne Cup hero Doriemus to win the Sydney Cup by a long neck.
He was even more impressive in the Sydney Cup of 1999, carrying 10kg over the 47kg limit and donkey-licking a smart field by six lengths as odds-on favourite.
Almost lost in the euphoria of her unbelievable three Melbourne Cup victories was the outstanding achievement of Makybe Diva to win the Sydney Cup of 2004.
The mighty mare was spelled after her first Melbourne Cup success in 2003 and incredibly was winless in five starts before the Randwick feature the following autumn.
In her final lead-up to the Sydney Cup, Makybe Diva was favourite but beaten more than four lengths when third to Grand Zulu and Mummify over the 2400m of The BMW at Rosehill.
All that was forgotten when Glen Boss brought her with her customary whirlwind finish under 55.5kg to claim the coveted prize.
The rest is history.