Sal’s Preview – Melbourne Cup: What’s the incentive?

Happy Cup Day to all,



A terrific day’s racing on Derby Day even if winners were hard to come by. Training master class from Maher-Eustace with Hitotsu and riding master classes from JMac and Ollie. We now front up for the toughest day of the year with big fields and not quite the quality.



The cup itself has attracted a relatively poor field and something Racing Victoria will need to consider. Why are there so few international raiders? Is it the draconian testing required on horses when they come here? Was it simply a factor of the logistical difficulties of the COVID environment? There are always couple of runners with odds of $100 plus runners. We can’t forget Prince of Penzance, however at the time of writing we have 25% of the field at odds $100 or better. Let’s hope it is a one off.






The day kicks off over morning coffee with the babies having their first or second start in a group three event – ridiculous! The breeders really have too much influence. We open the shoulders in the second with Savvy Valentino (R2, #4) who has been going well in the staying races in Sydney. Tough to pick the third, might be some value in Caffrey (R3, #5) each way. Like Groovy Kinda Love (R4, #9) D Lane on board, has steered to all her wins. KMac gets on board the in form Frankie Pinot (R5, #11) for Uncle Tony. In the lead in to the Cup Profiteer (R6, #1) gets his last chance, back to a suitable distance might be able to hold on. Couldn’t match the stablemate last start but did gap the rest.



Race 7 – The Melbourne Cup (G1, 3200m, HCP)


The race that stops the nation is much skinnier than what we have seen over the last few years once the foreign raiders arrived in numbers. We have only two internationally trained gallopers this year, the race has few chances and a very long tail. It is impossible to look past Incentivise (2) going for his tenth on the trot, won the Caulfield Cup in a canter and not severely penalised for doing so. We are always looking for how to get a shortie beat, with the extra 800m the only query. The reigning champ Twilight Payment (1) has to make history to win as a 9YO and carry 58kg, but is in good form to be the pick of the internationals and sure to get the journey. There are few down in the weights that are in good form and have not been beaten by Incentivise yet. Grand Promenade (16), Tralee Rose (21) and Floating Artist (22) are the ones I believe have the best chance to upset the apple cart. The first two have won their last starts while Floating Artist only made the field through attrition. Grand Promenade is attempting to repeat the feat of Almandin, coming off winning the Bart Cummings. The other common factor is the jockey in KMac – spooky.



Would have rated Spanish Mission (3) higher but for the slight setback late last week. Persan (12) was terrific in the Caulfield Cup and very good in this race last year so expect him to run well. Verry Elleegant (4) is very good and needs to be with 57kg, if any rain comes she is right in it. Take out the last run and Delphi (7) can be prominent, gets an inside alley and the services of D Oliver to help the steer. While the dry track will suit The Chosen One (6) who ran third last year.



Selections – 2-16-22-21-1-4-12-7-3-6


Here is a view of the full field.


Twilight Payment (No. 1, Barrier 2, 58kg)

McNeil/J P O’Brien


Has had a great leadup through the Irish St Leger where fought out the finish with Sonnyboyliston, he won his previous start over 2800m. We know he’ll stay, we know he will set a good tempo. 58 kegs is a big ask and the great race has never been won by a nine year old. History says no but his form is good and looks the main threat of the raiders and the fifth selection.



Incentivise (No. 2, Barrier 16, 57kg)



Going for ten on the trot after a dominant win in the Caulfield Cup comparable with Might and Power. The penalty has not treated him too harshly, the only query being able to get the 3200m. If he can stay the journey he wins, the clear top selection.



Spanish Mission (No. 3, Barrier 14, 57kg)



Will stay like your mother-in-law and can sustain a long run.  Some very impressive form in the UK just being pipped by Stradivarius last start. Will run the trip and will take some beating, but there has to be some concern after getting two strikes from the stewards before being passed to run on Saturday.



Verry Eleegant (No. 4, Barrier 19, 57kg)



She ran a great Melbourne Cup last year to finish seventh. She goes up 1.5kg from that effort after a fantastic run of results since. Would be right in this on a rain affected surface but a harder task on the likely dry track. The JMac factor has to be considered as he reunites after her previous two Melboune runs.



Explosive Jack (No. 5, Barrier 4, 54kg)



Went on a rampage in the Autumn winning three derbies, not sure how well he has come up in spring and a dissappointing Caulfield Cup. All those derbies were on soft going and won’t get that here.



The Chosen One (No. 6, Barrier 5, 54kg)



Ordinary performance in the Caulfield Cup but not sure he goes that well in the wet, his dry track form is much better and was fouth in last years cup. Expect an improvement from last start and not the worst.



Delphi (No. 7, Barrier 3, 53.5kg)



D Oliver stays on after a disappointing Caulfield Cup, gets onto a preferred dry track. Must be some chance if you give him a mulligan for last start, can’t discount D Oliver also.



Ocean Billy (No. 8, Barrier 13, 53.5kg)



Looks in the wrong class, but he has won over the distance and will appreciate a dry track



Selino (No. 9, Barrier 24, 53.5kg)



Sydney Cup winners don’t usually win Melbourne Cups. Does get a preferred surface but don’t think he is going well enough and not assisted with the outside gate.



Johnny Get Angry (No. 10, Barrier 22, 53kg)

L King/Pagan


Knocked us all out of the Derby last year and would be as big a surprise to do it on Cup Day. Form is not good enough.



Knight’s Order (No. 11, Barrier 9, 53kg)



Weakened out badly on Saturday – making up the numbers here.



Persan (No. 12, Barrier 11, 53kg)



Goes up 2kg from his fifth placing last year but had a very busy campaign. Quieter campaign this year and terrific run in the Caulfield Cup, not sure he can make up the difference on Incentivise. Who knows what Maher-Eustice can conjur?



Carif (No. 13, Barrier 8, 52.5kg)



Will get the journey but others will do it faster.



Master of Wine (No. 14, Barrier 6, 52.5kg)



Arrived in the country as the head sommelier but has transgressed and his supporters are drinking out of cardboard boxes now. He did put in a good run in the Bart and he better on a dry track. Not the worst but there are plenty better.



Pondus (No. 15, Barrier 1, 52.5kg)

R King/Hickmont


Ran well in Australia last spring, two runs this preparation have been OK but would need a big improvement to feature here.



Grand Promenade (No. 16, Barrier 21, 52kg)



A long range plan that could come off. Aimed to win the Bart and go straight into the cup. Has a very good record at Flemington not harshly treated at the weights, the pilot knows how to win this race and expect him to be right there when the whips are cracking. The biggest threat to the favourite and second selection.


Miami Bound (No. 17, Barrier 17, 52kg)

D O’Brien


The dry won’t help her and form does not look up to this.



Port Guillame (No. 18, Barrier 23, 52kg)



Would not get a run in most other years.



She’s Ideel (No. 19, Barrier 20, 52kg)



Despite winning the Kingston Town her form is less than ideal for this race.



Future Score (No. 20, Barrier 15, 51.5kg)



Making up the numbers to ensure a full sweep, bad luck if you draw him.



Tralee Rose (No. 21, Barrier 12, 51kg)



The wild card – well drawn, well weighted, loves Flemington. Not sure she beat much in the Geelong Cup but her form progression has been good. My fourth selection.



Floating Artist (No. 22, Barrier 10, 50kg)



Squeezes into the field because of the lack of quality in this year’s line-up. However can’t be ignored as a lightweight chance in good form.  Is a winner here, likes firm going and my third pick.



Great House (No. 23, Barrier 7, 50kg)



Probably did not have to run Saturday to get in the field. Reckon the connections did the right thing – has a group three win. Big ask on the three day back up but have to respect CJW.



Sir Lucan (No. 24, Barrier 18, 50kg)



Intriguing choice of trainer for this English import. Usually a backmarker with a big finish, now with Waterhouse-Bott known for their prowess with front runners. Not sure he is up to the other raiders but the weight makes him a chance and G Boss knows how to win this race.




Race 8 – Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes (G3, 1400m, Mares SWP)


Like the form of April Rain (10) first or second in six of her seven starts looks well placed here. A firm track will suit Agreeable (6) who comes off a good win over in form horses. Could have easily had Promise of Success (11) on top, just concerned about her dry track record. While La Mexicana (1) carries the maximum but always tries hard.



Selections – 10-6-11-1



Spirit of Gaylard (R9, #6) who missed the run in the Derby gets his chance in the penultimate race of the day. Reckon we can to half time with Pandemic (R10, #6) down the outside with JMac aboard.



Quaddie Time


A little result on Saturday getting the win but all pretty well fancied – a win is a win is a win. Cup day is usually a Quaddie where we take plenty in the Cup and skinny the rest trying to get home with a fair percentage. We will do the same this year, but also take a second one with Incentivise one and a bit wider in the other legs.



Wide in the Cup


Leg 1 – 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 12, 16, 21, 22

Leg 2 – 1, 6, 10, 11

Leg 3 – 6, 7, 14

Leg 4 – 6, 10, 12


We’ll take $30 on this one with 360 combinations and a return of 8.33%



Go Incentivise


Leg 1 – 2

Leg 2 – 1, 6, 10, 11, 12

Leg 3 – 4, 6, 7, 14

Leg 4 – 6, 10, 12, 13, 14


We’ll take $20 on this one with 100 combinations and a return of 20%



Let’s all get Incentivise(d)!





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  1. Daryl Schramm says

    I can’t for the life of me find out what the quaddie paid on Saturday Sal. Can you assist please?

  2. Sal Ciardulli says

    Hey Darryl like most quaddies I get not as much as I wanted! $1,143.30

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