Jockey Dwayne Dunn is predicting Entirely Platinum to “land close” and travel up on the speed in Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington Racecourse.
Twelve months ago the Hawkes Racing-trained Entirely Platinum ran a brave third in a blanket-finish beaten only a quarter-length by the winner Fawkner in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
A now seven-year-old son of Pentire, the gelding returns for a second shot at the weight-for-age classic this weekend with the race now worth $500,000 in total prize money.
Dunn rode Entirely Platinum for the finish in last spring’s Makybe Diva Stakes trifecta, which followed the duo’s second in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) first-up that season.
Unplaced in six subsequent runs across the spring – autumn, the galloper final finished in the money again first-up on August 13 at Caulfield.
With his regular rider Dunn in the saddle, Entirely Platinum ran better than his $21 odds to cross a length away third behind Miss Rose De Lago in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m).
The warhorse now lines-up in the Group 1 on Saturday for his fifth run at the Flemington track and Dunn plans to be closer to the pace from barrier one, which last produced a Makybe Diva Stakes winner with Northerly (2002).
“He ran super [in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes],” Dunn told Racing Victoria.
“We rode him a bit more conservative at Caulfield, just the way the race panned out for him, and he hit the line solid out wide.
“I’m probably glad he didn’t get a run at Moonee Valley [in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes]; I’m not sure whether he’d turn the corners that well there.
“Barrier one should be a positive for him, he should land close. If he’s not the leader, he’s in the first 3-4 and he loves Flemington and he runs well.”
Entirely Platinum’s four previous runs at the iconic course have produced just the one third place effort.
He is also in the middle of a winning drought not having crossed first-past-the-post since August of 2014.
The Makybe Diva Stakes markets at Ladbrokes.com.au reflect these statistics and have the horse rated a $14 shot for the win with betting led by Darren Weir’s Memsie Stakes winner Black Heart Bart ($2.30).
Dunn though isn’t ruling his horse out of the race for a placing, especially if he can produce a similar run to that in the same event last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
“He ran very well in this race last year, probably should’ve nearly won it so if he can repeat that performance, he’ll run well,” he said.
Entirely Platinum is one of nine horses running second-up in the race, and in the past 30 years 17 Makybe Diva Stakes winners have taken it out two runs into their campaign.
The other second-up runners looking to be the next on Saturday are: the favourite Black Heart Bart, Weir’s Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance, He Or She, Alpine Eagle, Tarzino, Ayers Rock, Rising Romance and Sofia Rosa.