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A Long-Expected Party

Champion mare Makybe Diva (right, with her three Melbourne Cups) finally had her first foal — he’s a leggy bay colt by Irish-bred Epsom and Irish Derby winner Galileo, born at Coolmore Stud. There is much speculation in the Australian press as to the colt’s worth; the Diva’s 3/4 brother, Musket, recently sold for AUS $2.5 million and her owner, Tony Santic, is in the midst of an expensive divorce (although at least he’s not following the US example of being in the position of having to argue that he should be free while awaiting trial, like Curlin’s owners), so it’s possible the little guy will come up for auction as a yearling.

But let’s put aside thoughts of cash and legal entanglements for the moment and simply say ‘well done’ to Makybe Diva — she’s finally got her own website as well (although I’m still waiting for t-shirts) where pictures of the new colt will appear over the next few weeks. She’ll be paying a visit to Encosta De Lago later this spring.

There is a bit of controversy brewing about the recent release of the 2006-2007 ratings for racehorses in Australia and New Zealand; while no one argued over Miss Andretti’s top ranking (shared with Takeover Target, El Segundo, Pompeii Ruler and Delta Blues at 120 — but she’s nearly a lock for Horse of the Year), Miss Finland was overlooked at 111. (For comparison, Makybe Diva holds the highest rating in recent memory — 125 for 2005-2006).

Here’s an odd thing (for North American fans, at any rate) — there is extensive coverage of horse racing in all the major Australian newspapers, not just the odd article leading up to a particular event. Imagine! I would very much like to attend the Melbourne Cup to see how the experience compares to our big race days. And another peculiarity — Miss Andretti and Takeover Target are set to clash again in November; apparently Down Under it’s a Good Thing to have the two best horses in a particular category run against each other. Who knew? Oh, and she’ll head back to Britain to defend her Royal Ascot success next year at seven. Ahem.

Finally, since we are speaking of things Antipodean, I’d like to thank the good people of Australia and New Zealand for whatever they did that got Crowded House back together — they were amazing live. Don’t forget the new Lucksmiths album is coming out the first of September, followed by a US tour!

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