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Incentivise’s Queensland riders reflect on the star's journey

IMG-6524.JPGBy Jordan Gerrans

For Anthony Allen, it was his maiden victory on the Sunshine Coast.

And, for boom apprentice hoop Kyle Wilson-Taylor, he realised just over a month later on a cold night at Clifford Park.

Those are the moments that it clicked in the mind of Incentivise’s two main riders during his early days of racing in Queensland that they were apart of something special – maybe something they will never experience in their careers again.

Wilson-Taylor and Allen, who are good mates away from the race track, were the Caulfield Cup fancy's usual companions during his racing days in Queensland, the emerging apprentice partnering him on two occasions, where Allen was his main man six times.

Just as Incentivise was making his name as a star on the rise, it was Allen who was front and centre – joining him in five of his victories, including his last three before making the move to Victoria.

Before his mile maiden victory at Caloundra in the middle of April this year, the Shamus Award gelding was 0-3 in his trips to the races – including being beaten 16 lengths the start before at Toowoomba, but more on that later.

The history books show Incentivise bolted in by just over three lengths on the Sunshine Coast that day, after being well back in the field as they turned for home - and he has not been beaten since.

The 29-year-old Allen knew on that afternoon that he had just ridden a galloper that was well above ordinary.

“Just the maiden, the maiden I won on him, he was all over the shop,” Allen remembers.

“Horses do not do that easy, he made it look quite easy that day.

“The leader kicked two or three lengths in front and we ran him down and put almost four lengths on him.

“The way he won that race, he was still green as grass.

“I remember saying to Steve Tregea after that race, every race we take him to he will win, I said “let’s go to Brisbane town”, I wanted to be in town with him.

"I said take him anywhere, this horse is just going to keep winning."

Even Wilson-Taylor admits he is a bit part player in the Incentivise tale – it was Allen who put him on the map when it comes to being the star of Australian racing through the 2021 Spring Carnival.

While Wilson-Taylor and Allen were there for the good times, they were also on board for the bad.

Both of the Queensland riders failed to get him up on their first chances to knock over his maiden status before he eventually broke through at Caloundra, Wilson-Taylor beaten 16 lengths on him as a $2 favourite on one night at Toowoomba.

He came back to the mounting yard that night and told breeder, owner and former trainer Steve Tregea that a winless Incentivise should have won comfortably on that evening, if he didn’t run into a wall of horses just before the home turn.

And, win well he did the next time Wilson-Taylor was his pilot on race day – scoring by over seven lengths that night.

In the Clifford Park car park that night following the races with partner Angela Jones, who is a fellow apprentice hoop, Wilson-Taylor realised what had just occurred.

 

“He won the way he did and I got in the car after the races and said to my partner, “I think he is probably the best horse I have ever sat on”,” Wilson-Taylor recalled.

“She thought of scoffed at me and told me that the win was only at Toowoomba.

“She was right, some horses do win well at Toowoomba but to go on to not do very much, but the feeling he gave me was something that I have never felt before.

“I may never have that feel again on a horse of that quality, I am hoping I do, however.

“The effortless way that he did, he was back second last and once he hits top gear, he just feels like he is floating.

“I have never ridden a horse that has done something as easy as he did that night.”

The Darling Downs stayer would put six in a line before and leading into the 2021 TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival, culminating in a 12-length romp in the Group 3 Tattersall's Cup.

From there, dual Group 1 triumphs would follow in Victoria – the Makybe Diva Stakes and Turnbull Stakes – leading into the $5 million Caulfield Cup this Saturday afternoon.

From that maiden victory earlier this year, Allen knew Incentivise was on the way to the top of Australian racing and felt that if was to get beaten in 2021 it would be first-up in the Makybe Diva Stakes, factoring in he was at a mile fresh and it was the first time going the Victorian way.

But, seeing as the Caulfield Cup favourite handled those challenges with aplomb, one of the “big four” races in Australia beckons this weekend for five-year-old.

“This distance suits him to a tee,” Allen said of this week’s 2400 metres of the Caulfield Cup.

“That is where I rode him and he felt enormous.

“He just gets bigger and bigger near the end of the race.

“It will be interesting to see who pressures him and how the race pans out.

DSC-9471.jpg“He is always looking for more ground and is bigger and better at the end of races.”

While connections and champion trainer Peter Moody have not signalled the Windermere Stud product’s definite plans post-Caulfield Cup, Wilson-Taylor thinks he will be better suited again to the extra trip on the first Tuesday of November.

“You never know if they are going to take the next step but he had obviously demolished everything he had come up against in Queensland,” Wilson-Taylor said.

“Going to Melbourne, against them horses was always going to be the test but he showed his courage and tenacity in those last two wins – to show he is a champion really.

“He has shown no signs of slowing down.

“Everything was so easy for him as he has a delayed reaction, he is just a true stayer through and through.

“I think he is the star horse and if he goes to the Melbourne Cup, he will be very hard to be beaten there also.”