Published on Wednesday, October 27, 2021

It was marvel to behold!

The way that Incentivise rubber-stamped his brilliance and accentuated his superiority over a high class field in the Caulfield Cup was quite stunning.

Sure, we knew he was a very good horse and, absolutely, the demolition job he did on opposition in lesser class races before twice adding to his winning sequence in a seamless transition to Group 1 company, with outstanding wins in the Makybe Diva and The Turnbull, set him up for it but, while few could see Incentivise being beaten, not everybody was ready for him to demoralise, dismantle and defeat his opposition in the exact manner in which he did.

The Makybe Diva and the Turnbull wins were over 1600m and 2000m respectively and there was never a worry about over the step up to 2400m for the Caulfield Cup. In fact, that trip was expected to suit Incentivise even better and, such was his reputation, even the extreme barrier draw (number 20) was being touted as a good draw for Incentivise, giving him a permission and a path to run his own race … an argument that you don’t hear with that draw too often.

Quite simply, the performance was mind-blowing

And, of course, the 3200m distance of the Melbourne Cup will again play right into Incentivise’s playbook.

And it begs the question … what can’t Incentivise do?

With the Cox Plate option now taken off the table by Incentivise’s connections … the noise you heard there was the Zaaki team’s collective sigh of relief … the handicapper, as per his job, has tried to equalise things by giving Incentivise a 1.5kg penalty for the Melbourne Cup which now puts him on the 57kg mark for the big race on the first Tuesday in November.

That is a 1kg greater penalty than Verry Elleegant was given after beating the ill-fated Anthony Van Dyck in last year’s Caulfield Cup … yet another pointer to the esteem in which The Incentivise is held.

Racing Victoria’s Chief Handicapper provided The Age with these thought-provoking fact on the Melbourne Cup that relate to the upcoming task facing Incentivise.

The Bart Cummings trained Gold And Black was the last horse to carry 57kg to victory. In the forty-four years since Gold And Black saluted, sixty-eight horses have carried 57kg or more. Of those, only Makybe Diva managed to win the race … that was when she carried 58kg to victory when winning The Cup for the third time.

Of the eleven horses who have completed the Caulfield Cup / Melbourne Cup double only Rising Fast … all the way back in 1954 … carried 57kg or more in the Melbourne Cup.

And for good measure, Carpenter threw in the fact that since Ethereal’s Cups double in 2001, fourteen Caulfield Cup winners have gone on to attempt to land the double and none of them has finished in the top three in the Melbourne Cup.

So, history, as they say, is not on Incentivise’s side … but the bookmakers and punters are having none of it.

Bookmakers currently have Incentivise at $2.30 for the Melbourne Cup and, seemingly, from experts to everyday enthusiasts, it is difficult to find anyone willing to make a definitive call against Incentivise.


Adding to the confidence gained by the strong performances of Incentivise, is the fact that Incentivise is blessed with having one of the best in Peter Moody monitoring his well-being, with Moody also having the input of Incentivise’s managing owner and his former trainer Steven Tregea, who initially brought the horse to prominence, available if required.

You wouldn’t find a more down to earth team than Moody and Tregea. There are no stars in the eyes here, just a measured management process designed to produce what is best for the horse both on and off the track. Their attitude is … whatever comes with that, comes with that.

Previously, racing scribes and enthusiasts alike all ran out of superlatives when trying to put into words the level of performance that Winks was achieving on her climb to greatness.

Incentivise has got them to that point again. No other comparison is necessary … they are both individual champions, with their own individual qualities in their own right … but they already have that in common.

It takes a bit more than winning to become a ‘people’s horse’. Incentivise has well and truly cleared that divide and the size of his cult following is still growing.

It is a very exciting time for the Incentivise team, but it is no less so for the entire racing industry which shines best when it has a superstar carrying the flag.

Good times, indeed!