Incentivise lived up to his large reputation by winning the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington and in the process give his sire Shamus Award, the Cox Plate-winning son of champion sire Snitzel, a fourth success at the highest level.
Now trained by Peter Moody, having been previously handled by his breeder and part-owner Steve Tregea of Windemere Stud, the gelding had shown impressive form in his home state of Queensland in recent months.
The five-year-old’s previous wins included a highly impressive 12 length success in the Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup at Eagle Farm last June. The win at Flemington in Melbourne has now catapulted Incentivise into the big time and is now a leading contender for Australia’s most cherished race, the Melbourne Cup, in November.
It was an intruiging day of firsts for the gelding: his first run for his new trainer, his first start in Melbourne, his first race since his win last June, and his first contest at Group 1 level.
In a line-up that included multiple Group 1 winners, Incentivise dominated the race, taking the lead early on and holding his advantage to the finishing line, under Victorian Premiership leading jockey of the season so far, Brett Prebble.
For the winning rider, Prebble, it was a second Group 1 in recent weeks, having taken the seven-furlong Memsie Stakes at Caulfield on 28 August aboard Behemoth.
“He floats along, and you can feel he’s not aggressive,” the in-form rider told the media post race.
“They came at him, I let them get up and about him and when I asked him for an effort, he dug deep” he added.
The New Zealand-bred son of Savabeel, Mo’unga, winner of the recent Group 1 Winx Stakes, challenged late as did the Irish-bred son of Camelot, Sir Dragonet, who was formerly trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien, but neither could get to the leader. Incentivise held off his two main challengers by a neck and a short half-head at the wire.
Connections of both placed horses will have to be happy with their performances. Mo’unga challenged bravely at the business end of the race, despite having found trouble in running turning for home.
Last year’s Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet was equally impressive, not having competed in a while. Both colts will also aim at the Melbourne Cup and are likely to clash with Incentivise again before the end of the year.
Winning handler Peter Moody, who previously trained the legendary Black Caviar, was thrilled with his new recruit’s performance:
“He is a very good horse. I am yet to see him have a blow, so he’s obviously got a great set of lungs on him, so upwards and onwards.
“When he gets to a mile-and-a-quarter and he is allowed to build and roll and has a bunny instead of being the bunny, I think you are going to see a pretty exciting stayer,” Moody predicted.
Moody hopes to now aim Incentivise, who is on a winning streak of seven victories, at the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes on 2 October back at Flemington, ahead of the Group 1 Caulfield Cup two weeks later, as he prepares his stable star for the Melbourne Cup, the season’s highlight in Australia.
Photo: Victoria Racing Club Twitter @FlemingtonVRC