10/29/2004 11:00PM

Makybe Diva favored in bid for a repeat Cup victory


Makybe Diva, winner of last year's Melbourne Cup, is favored for a repeat success in this year's running of Australia's greatest race, to be run at Flemington on Tuesday. She is trying to be only the fifth dual winner in the Cup's 143-year history.

The 6-year-old Makybe Diva, who was bred by her Australian owners, Emily Krstina Pty Ltd., in England, has been in great form. It is a measure of her improvement that, having given She's Archie two pounds when she defeated her by 1 1/4 lengths last year, she is now expected to have no trouble giving She's Archie nine pounds.

Dermot Weld, still the only Northern Hemisphere trainer to have won the race, with Vintage Crop in 1993 and Media Puzzle two years ago, runs both Vinnie Roe and Media Puzzle.

Vinnie Roe, who won his fourth consecutive Irish St. Leger last month, is the second favorite but could scratch if the going continues to firm up.

Godolphin also has two runners in the $3,120,000 (U.S.), two-mile contest: Mamool (to be ridden by Frankie Dettori), who went lame and finished last 12 months ago, and Razkalla. Fantastic Love, Godolphin's third intended runner, missed the cut. He was No. 25, one more than the safety limit.

Trainer Michael Stoute runs Distinction, who missed the Caulfield Cup on Oct. 16 because he had not recovered from his journey here, but is now back in shape. The 1 1/2-mile Caulfield Cup was won by Elvstroem over Makybe Diva and Grey Song, but bettors expect Makybe Diva to come out best over the extra half-mile.