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Only twice since 2003 has the favourite in the Makybe Diva Stakes gone on to win, so it seems fitting that the 2018 event sees a number of horses vying for that top billing. Join The Roar for live race updates and our ongoing blog from 4pm (AEST).
Kementari, Kings Will Dream and old favourite Humidor are the clubhouse leaders among punters so far, but when it comes to recent form, Humidor stands alone.
An underdog win at the Memsie Stakes in early September, despite question marks over his ability to go the distance of 1400m, shows the six-year-old gelding is still as good as ever, and having beaten out both of the other Makybe favourites in that race, the New Zealander remains a safe choice.
The same can’t be said of Kementari, however- despite plenty of close runs in recent times, the three-year-old has failed to record a victory in his last five starts while being consistently popular with pundits.
Admittedly, two of those races were against none other than Winx, but it is beginning to look a worrying trend for the colt. Another close loss might well add her to several punters’ “never again” list.
Kings Will Dream is more of a smoky – with fast finishes in the Lawrence and Memsie Stakes recently (finishing third in the latter), both over 1400m, there is a feeling the current Melbourne Cup favourite will relish the extra distance here.
The five-year-old looks perfectly placed to make Flemington his own in the next few months, and a stirring performance here could really establish him as the horse to beat on November 6.
With plenty of other contenders, though, the Stakes are by no means a three-horse race.
Happy Clapper has enjoyed success at Flemington before, Black Heart Bart produced an age-defying run at the Memise to finish only a length behind Humidor, while the presence of Lloyd Williams and a herculean effort at Mooney Valley recently while carrying 62.5kgs means The Taj Mahal is arguably the value bet of the race.
Prediction: 1. Kings Will Dream 2. Humidor 3. The Taj Mahal 4. Kementari
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1. Happy Clapper (barrier 12) P. Webster- $8
2. Black Heart Bart (11) B. Rawiller- $21
3. Humidor (1) D. Lane- $4.20
4. Tosen Basil (2) J. Childs- $34
5. Jon Snow (4) S. Baster- $21
6. Comin’ Through (5) M. Walker- $11
7. Pounamu (3) B. Prebble- $34
8. Harlem (7) R. Bayliss- $61
9. The Taj Mahal (9) B. Melham- $21
10. Kings Will Dream (10) J. Allen- $4.50
11. Kementari (8) C. Williams- $4
12. Grunt (6) D. Oliver- $13