It’s tough having a three-time Melbourne Cup winner for a sister.
It’s harder still to manage expectations when you’re training her younger sibling.
That is the challenge that has faced Hawkes Racing as the stable negotiates the spring campaign of Makybe Diva’s three-quarter relation La Amistad.
Spoken of as a Melbourne Cup contender after a facile off-season win the McKell Cup, La Amistad resumed with a minor placing over a mile and followed with two midfield efforts over a middle distance.
For a horse other than Makybe Diva’s sister, her efforts have been encouraging and progressive.
La Amistad gets her first real opportunity to step out from that shadow in Saturday’s Group One Metropolitan when she rises to 2400m, a distance at which she is unbeaten.
“A 2400-metre race is very different to a 2000-metre race,” trainer Michael Hawkes said.
“She’s a staying mare so she just wants a journey.”
La Amistad was a last-start fourth in the Hill Stakes (2000m), a race dominated by the leader Junoob whose final 600-metre sectional impossible for backmarkers to run him down.
It followed a midfield effort behind Epsom Handicap fancy He’s Your Man in a race where La Amistad was left flat-footed when the field sprinted but stuck on like a horse with her pedigree should.
The Hawkes stable, renowned for its patient approach, has been satisfied with her form.
Saturday’s race has long been a crucial fork in the road and the stakes are high.
“Last start her run was really good. There was no speed, they walked in front and to run where she did was very credible,” Hawkes said.
“She’s on target and this is the race we’ve set her for so hopefully she wins.
“If she doesn’t win this then she doesn’t get a run in the Caulfield Cup.”
Victorian Spillway, also hoping to win and earn a Caulfield Cup penalty, is a $4.60 Metropolitan favourite with La Amistad at $8.