Incentivise stamped himself as one of the world’s best stayers over the weekend, taking out the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) by 3.5 lengths in a dominant display.
After winning his maiden over 1600m at the Sunshine Coast on April 16, the son of Shamus Award has now won nine straight races, with his last three being Group 1 victories in Melbourne.
Trained originally by Toowoomba’s Steve Tregea, the talented five-year-old was purchased by leviathan owner Brae Sokolski after winning by nine lengths at Eagle Farm on June 5.
Having led all of the way in both the Makybe Diva Stakes and Turnbull Stakes, many punters were cautious in backing Incentivise in the Caulfield Cup after he drew the outside barrier in the field of 18, but it was as cool a ride as you will see from the in-form Brett Prebble.
After settling three-wide early, Prebble allowed the favourite to slide up and apply pressure to the leaders before racing away at the top of the straight to take out the $5 million feature.
While large winning streaks are no rarity to trainer Peter Moody, who is best known as the trainer of champion mare Black Caviar, Incentivise’s win secured his first Australian major.
“Caulfield was my home for probably 16 or 17 years and I trained a couple thousand winners here, but never this one,” Moody told reporters.
“Very important to win it. Very grateful for the opportunity thanks to Brae Sokolski and Ozzie Kheir that laid the seed and purchased the horse and recommended that he come to my yard.
“A big thanks to Steve Tregea, his team and his family; the owner, former trainer and breeder of this horse, so a big shoutout to everyone up there at Toowoomba and the Darling Downs, this one’s for you.”
While barrier 18 looked sticky on paper, Moody insisted that he and jockey Prebble were not fazed and did not worry about how the first 1200m went.
“We weren’t going to rush it,” the trainer said.
“Brett took his time and he found a lovely spot – he knew where he wanted to be down the side.
“He said he wanted to be six or seven (lengths) off and build into the race.
“He said I don’t care how the first 1200m goes, I just want to be able to build into it from the halfway mark onwards.
“He gives you a little heart flutter; he hits that bit of a flat spot coming down the side, but he just kept building.
“A super effort.”
Prebble is in top form at the moment and has now secured five Group 1 titles this season, with three of those coming aboard Incentivise.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Prebble said.
“There’s 17 other jockeys and they’ve all got their own opinion about how the race is going to be run, so I was mindful of the fact that they weren’t just going to give him a soft lead.
“The way the race was run today – there was a fair bit of wind out there, it was a little bit windy – so I thought, I’m definitely going to get cover and just for the first 1200m, I just wanted him to just enjoy his race and get into it.
“I was surprised, he came off the bridle a little bit sooner than I would’ve liked.
“I sort of showed him the whip before the home turn, and all that’s telling me is look out Melbourne Cup.”
Incentivise is now a +180 favourite for the Melbourne Cup, where he will start one of the shortest-priced favourites since Makybe Diva.
A decision is yet to be made as to whether or not Incentivise will definitely start in the race that stops a nation, while it is unlikely that he will back up into next Saturday’s $5 million Cox Plate (2040m).