By Nicholas Godfrey
Flemington: Makybe Diva Stakes A$1m (£530,000) G1, 1m, turf, 3yo+
Incentivise (Peter Moody/Brett Prebble)
Incentivise confirmed his status as favourite for both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups with a determined success on his debut for trainer Peter Moody in G1 company – making all to score at a mile, precisely half the distance of the Melbourne Cup.
The five-year-old was winning his seventh race on the bounce, the previous six having come in lesser grade in Queensland by a cumulative 42 lengths for part-owner and former trainer Steve Tregea.
After a 12-length romp in a G3 event at Eagle Farm in Brisbane, Tregea sold a half-share to Ozzie Kheir and Brae Sokolski and transferred to the Shamus Award gelding to the Moody stable for the Melbourne spring carnival.
And while Incentivise was quietly fancied, his connections could hardly have hoped for a better start than beating a top-class field in the G1 Makybe Diva, named after the three-time Melbourne Cup heroine.
Challenged by all-comers, Incentivise pulled out moe to repel the favourite Tofane and then held off Mo’Unga’s late charge with Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet third.
Moody indicated that the winner is now set to run in the Turnbull Stakes before taking on the Caulfield/Melbourne Cup double.
Shall we talk about it?
Peter Moody: “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.
“There is nice improvement to come but it was a very good effort. He didn’t look comfortable at any stage – I don’t think he got on his right leg. It was very encouraging at this stage of the spring, we’ve only got one more run between now and the Cup which will probably be the Turnbull. It’s time to build on it and hopefully we can get him on his Melbourne leg at some stage.”
Former Hills-trained Turaath in line for big bonus
Flemington: Let’s Elope Stakes A$300,000 (£160,000) G2, 7f, turf, 4yo+ f/m
Turaath (Maddie Raymond/Damian Lane)
Making her Group-race debut, former Charlie Hills-trained Turaath put herself in line for a A$1m bonus when landing a first stakes victory for Warrnambool-based trainer Maddie Raymond, overcoming a slow start and a wide trip as she beat Mystic Journey by a length and three-quarters.
The bonus is on offer for a horse winning the Let’s Elope who follows up in the G1 Empire Rose Stakes over a mile back at Flemington on October 30.
Owned by Sheikh Hamdan in Britain, the daughter of Oasis Dream won only a minor novice event on the all-weather at Newcastle from seven starts. She has won her last four in Australia, having run six times since June.
Shall we talk about it?
Maddie Raymond: “She’s such a tough mare. She didn’t do it easy again. She sat out wide with no cover and she was rock hard fit and super competitive.”
We’ve been looking for a reason not to come (to the races today) and give her a break but she’s so tough. If anything you treat her like a colt. She eats well, she thrives off her work and she’s shown that today.”
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