Incentivise has been ruled out of the spring, with co-owner Ozzie Kheir saying the 2021 Caulfield Cup winner “seems like a tired horse”.
Incentivise hasn’t been seen at the races since his runner-up performance in the Melbourne Cup last November, which capped one of the greatest rises to fame in Australian sporting history.
The Peter Moody-trained gelding picked up an injury in his Melbourne Cup defeat, which ruled him out of the 2022 autumn, but although connections are confident he is injury-free, they believe he needs a break from racing.
“Fortunately for us, the horse has been sound the whole way through,” Kheir said on SEN Track.
“He’s done 16 weeks of work and all the scans show that he’s sound – he’s a happy horse, a bigger, stronger horse.
“His feet are 100 percent, but our view – well, Moody’s view especially – was that we’d get him to this point, see how he’s going, but he seems like he’s a tired horse and to start a spring – which would be a difficult spring to go through, getting to a Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup – would take a big toll out of him.
“Peter suggested to the group that we should give him a break and start fresh.”
The son of Shamus Award is likely to have up to 10 weeks in the paddock before he begins preparation for an autumn campaign.
The five-year-old was the pre-nominations favourite for both the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup, while he was a $7 chance for the Cox Plate with most Australian betting sites.
While the decision to abandon spring plans is disappointing for Kheir and connections, he sees the silver lining in the situation.
“As disappointed as well all are, it’s probably not as devastating news as you could receive, so we’re looking at it half-glass-full,” Kheir said.
“He’s just such a trier and he gives 100 percent. Even his run in the Melbourne Cup – even though he hurt himself – he still happened to run second in the Melbourne Cup.
“You look at that and just know that the horse always puts in his all and that’s something we weren’t going to risk with him.
“At least we know if we give him time, he can come back and be the horse that we all really look forward to watching race.”
Autumn plans for Incentivise are yet to be discussed.