The “will she or won’t she” question that dominates all Melbourne Cup
news and speculation moved a step closer to resolution this morning
with super mare Makybe Diva completing a key gallop – but the suspense

With her race jockey Glen Boss in the saddle, the champion was given
her first serious workout to gauge how she is progressing after her
brilliant Cox Plate victory last Saturday. But while Boss said the mare
was on track for a start, he claimed a decision would still not be made
until a final track gallop on Saturday. “She looks like she’s in great
shape. I couldn’t fault her this morning, so I think Saturday’s a
really crucial morning for her.”

Owner Tony Santic wouldn’t be drawn on his thoughts as to confirmation
of a run around Flemington next Tuesday in the quest for an historic
“three-peat.” Predictably they’re leaving it to trainer Lee Freedman to
hold a news conference this afternoon to play out the next leg in
Australia’s greatest horse opera.

And it’s not
just the mare’s exponentially growing fan club or the connections of her cup
rivals and the bookies fretting over her crack at history, but also the VRC
anticipating a sporting media phenomenon not seen in Australia since Cathy
Freeman prepared to run the 400m at the Sydney Olympics. How
appropriate it would be that 75 years after he won the cup in 1930 that a new
generation gets to experience something of the raw emotion and unique Australian
connection to a champion thoroughbred, that so characterised the public’s affection and pride – if not
downright hysteria – for Phar Lap in his prime.