Very few high grade performers in the northern hemisphere to-date can boast a triple cross of the1961 born super sire Northern Dancer in their breeding, yet two who have been honoured with Australian Horse of the Year titles in the past four years have had this pattern in the five generation extension of their pedigrees.
They are history making three times Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva, the Horse of the Year for 2005 and 2006, and Northerly, the recipient of the award in 2003, one in which four Group1 Victories included the Cox Plate - for the second time, the Caulfield Cup and VRC Australian Cup - also for the second time,
In addition to Makybe Diva and Northerly, three times Horse of the Year Sunline, a winner of 32 races, 13 Group1s including the Cox Plate twice and earner of $11,4,312, is inbred to Northern Dancer 4x4. It comes down on the top line through Danzig, Green Desert and Desert Sun - stands Eliza Park Victoria on $8.800 - and through her maternal sire Western Symphony, a son of Nijinsky, one Northern Dancer's greatest influences.
Nijinsky also played a significant role in the production of the Western Australian bred Northerly, winner of 19 races, including nine Group 1s, and earner of $9,341,850. He is by the Nijinsky sire Serheed and from North Bell, a mare got by Bellwater, a great grandson of Northern Dancer in male line, from North Fleur, a daughter of Far North, a three-quarter brother to Nijinsky.
Two of the doses of Northern Dancer in Makybe Diva's pedigree are close up in the breeding of her sire Desert King, an Irish Derby and Two Thousand Guineas winner who this year is at the Lynden Park Stud at Red Hill South in Victoria on $13,200.
Desert King is by Danzig's mighty Danehill and from Sabaah, a mare by Nureyev, the sire also of the dam of Zabeel, the sire of 1996 Horse of the Year Octagonal.
Desert King got Makybe Diva from Tugela, a England bred mare who was unplaced in her only two appearances. She is by the French Two Thousand Guineas winner Riverman and from Rambushka, a Listed winner by Roberto and from the Northern Dancer Ireland Group 3 winner Katsura.
A March 21, 1999 England produced foal, Makybe Diva is the second northern hemisphere bred product to collect the Australian Horse of the Year title since the official rankings were introduced in1969. The other is the Northern Dancer free Almaarad, the Ireland April 30,1983 foal which followed up good wins in England, France and Germany by taking out three of four starts in Australia.Trained here by the late Colin Hayes for Dubai's Sheikh Hamdan Maktoum, he won the Cox Plate, Caulfield Stakes and Underwood Stakes and finished second in the Craiglee Stakes
Makybe Diva was bred in England for Port Lincoln, South Australia tuna fisherman Tony Santic after Brisbane based bloodstock agent John Foote purchased the dam Tugela for him and put her to Desert King at Coolmore in Ireland. They subsequently put the foal that was to become Makybe Diva into an English sale as a weanling but when they could not get a realistic price for her she followed her dam to Australia.
Retired after last spring's Melbourne Cup victory, she has repaid this decision by winning 15 of 36 starts, including seven Group1 events, and earning an Australian record $14,641,454.
In collecting her second Horse of the Year title, Makybe Diva ran only five times over the year but was successful in the Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate, Turnbull Stakes and Memsie Stakes. For her efforts she has also been recognised in the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings as leading southern hemisphere trained galloper with a world ranking of 124. Overall she must be one of the most brilliant stayers the world has seen.