It may be small in numbers, but the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) is stacked with talent for the $750,000 feature at Flemington on Saturday.
Heading the acceptances is last-start Memsie Stakes (1400m) winner Mr Brightside, who will be chasing his maiden Flemington Group 1 triumph this weekend.
Despite winning just one race from six goes at Flemington, online bookmakers did not hesitate in installing Mr Brightside as a -117.65 favourite.
A winner of nine races at 1600m, Mr Brightside is arguably one of the best milers in the country, and a win in Saturday’s Group 1 would further emphasise that.
Having finished second in this race last year, the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Alligator Blood (+260) will be looking to go one better this weekend and build on a near-bombproof record at Flemington.
The seven-year-old has won three of his four starts at Flemington, including two at Group 1 level, with his sole defeat coming when losing by the barest of margins to I’m Thunderstruck in the 2022 Makybe Diva Stakes.
Following a runner-up effort in the Memsie Stakes, Princess Grace (+360) is one of three Chris Waller runners and will be looking to turn the tables on Mr Brightside as she steps up to the mile third-up from a spell.
The effort in the Memsie Stakes came after finishing second in the Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m) upon resumption.
Osipenko (+1300) and Francesco Guardi (+3300) are the two other runners from the Waller yard.
Kiwi galloper Aegon (+1700) and 2021 Melbourne Cup placegetter Spanish Mission (+4500) round out a small but star-studded lineup.
The 2023 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes is race seven on Saturday’s stacked 10-race card at Flemington.
Makybe Diva Stakes 2023 field