‘Deserved favourite’: Incentivise out to make Melbourne Cup history
Peter Moody insists he can do no more as the trainer of the Melbourne Cup favourite as Incentivise’s flawless stretch of spring form is set for its crowning moment in the Melbourne Cup.
And in a year when the involvement of overseas runners is at its lowest since the internationalisation of the race in the 1990s, the timing of Incentivise’s arrival as a force in Australian racing could not be better.
Incentivise is undefeated in his past nine starts in a sequence of victories that began in obscurity and continued on one of the turf’s biggest stages in the Caulfield Cup.
On the strength of the Caulfield Cup win, the consensus is that nothing out of the race can turn the tables on Incentivise at Flemington on Tuesday.
That leaves the two international horses and perhaps a handful of in-form lightweights with the best chance of spoiling what has been a meteoric rise for the horse and a renaissance for jockey Brett Prebble.
Last year’s Irish-trained Melbourne Cup winner Twilight Payment and the UK stayer Spanish Mission will offer a new challenge but Moody is certain the bookmakers have got it right with his stable star.
“I just hope he gets his chance … and I believe if he holds his form, and from what I’ve seen at home it tells me he will hold his form, he should just about win the race,” the trainer said on his Moody on the Mic podcast.
“He’s a deserved favourite on form. Going [into the Melbourne Cup] I’ve just tried to maintain him and hold him together and I’ve been able to do that quite comfortably through his resilience and the way he’s done around the stables.”
Incentivise will be trying to become the 12th horse to complete the famous Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup double in the same year.
It has not been done for two decades but even jockeys riding against Incentivise agree it will be hard to stop the latest boom horse in Australian racing from emulating some of the turf’s greats.
Craig Williams will search for his second win in the nation’s greatest race when he links with Spanish Moon and the jockey admits he was in awe of Incentivise’s Caulfield Cup triumph.
“Straight after the race, I felt if he got [to the Melbourne Cup] in the same healthy condition, then we won’t beat him at Flemington,” Williams said. “My horse has got form from a different angle and that’s what I am banking on.”
Chris Waller will have four runners in his bid to win the Melbourne Cup for the first time although Australia’s champion trainer concedes Incentivise has most bases covered.
But in the reigning Australian horse of the year Verry Elleegant, Waller is adamant the racemare can make up for luckless seventh placing in 2020 if nothing goes to plan for Incentivise.
“It would be no surprise to see her win but she probably needs Incentivise to fail,” Waller said.
Track manager Liam O’Keeffe said 10mm of irrigation was put on the Flemington course up to 9am on Monday in anticipation the Cup day temperature would reach 30 degrees.
The Victoria Racing Club will welcome 10,000 fully vaccinated racegoers through the gates after 5,500 were allowed on Derby day as Victoria emerged from lockdown restrictions in time for the spring carnival.