Punt Drunk: Incentivise & Nature Strip star on big weekend

It promised to be a cracking weekend of racing, and boy, did it live up to the hype! Monday’s edition of Punt Drunk takes a look back at the dominant win of Incentivise in the Caulfield Cup, Nature Strip conquering The Everest and the woes Craig Williams has experienced throughout the Caulfield Cup Carnival. All roads lead to the Cox Plate this weekend, and HorseBetting.com.au will have you covered for everything you need heading into the best weight-for-age race in the country.

Incentivise gives Peter Moody his first Caulfield Cup win

Can anyone stop the almighty Incentivise? (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

How bloody good is Incentivise? His win in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup echoed that of Might And Power in 1997, with the now Peter Moody-trained Queenslander romping home by 3.5 lengths in a dominant display. Having jumped from barrier 18, jockey Brett Prebble took his time in settling the pre-post favourite in a favourable position just off the leader’s heels, and from that point onwards, it was all over bar the shouting.

Moody lived all the highs with Black Caviar, but could becoming the first trainer since Sheila Laxon with Ethereal in 2001 to claim the Caulfield/Melbourne Cup double be his greatest achievement? Since his win on Saturday, Incentivise has been tightened from $5 into $2.60 favouritism for this year’s Melbourne Cup.

It’s been a hell of a ride for Incentivise, who was beaten by 16 lengths in a Toowoomba maiden on March 27 and is now one of the shortest-priced favourites in recent Melbourne Cup history. Fair play to one awesome animal, and let’s hope he gets his crowning achievement on that first Tuesday in November.

Nature Strip climbs The Everest on his third attempt

Nature Strip
Nature Strip is finally an Everest champ. (Racing Photos)

Unlike Incentivise, Nature Strip has been around for forever and a day, but now the Chris Waller-trained enigma is an Everest champion following his narrow win in Saturday’s $15 million event. Having attempted to climb the mountain twice before, the Strip found it to be third time lucky when holding off a fast-finishing Masked Crusader. The win solidifies any doubt that he is this country’s best sprinter since the retirement of Black Caviar, and he did it in a way only he knows how.

The veteran gelding made sure it was a genuine tempo throughout underneath James McDonald, and despite being all out 200m from home, he had just enough in the petrol tank to claim his first win in the world’s richest turf race. Masked Crusader once again gave his best Chautauqua impersonation, missing the start by two lengths and then weaving a passage through the field only to be beaten by a short half-head. Such a tease, that horse is.

All credit goes to Nature Strip, though, with the champion now set to go to the VRC Sprint Classic down the Flemington straight on November 6 – a race he was a dominant victor in back in 2019.

Williams under pressure after Caulfield shocker

Craig Williams
Can Craig Williams bounce back at Moonee Valley? (Racing Photos)

Craig Williams is arguably one of the best jockeys this country has ever seen, but he had a Caulfield Cup Carnival he would rather forget. The future hall-of-famer went an astonishing 0/20 from his rides spanning Caulfield Guineas Day, Thousand Guineas Day and Caulfield Cup Day. Having partnered the red-hot Zaaki to defeat in the Caulfield Stakes and Nonconformist to second in the Cup, it has hardly been a memorable fortnight for Willow.

He gets a chance to bounce back this Saturday, however, as he strips down to 49.5kg to partner Caulfield Guineas winner Anamoe in the Cox Plate. The Godolphin runner is a $3.90 second-elect in the race, with Williams now trying to become the one to derail Zaaki’s Cox Plate campaign.

Monday Racing Tips – October 18, 2021

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About Punt Drunk

Welcome to Punt Drunk! Our new daily column covering all the latest horse racing and punting controversies, dramas and headline news. Have a story or gripe or issue that just grinds your gears? Just hit us up in the comments or contact us page and our jaded, punt hardened Punt Drunk staff will give it the Punt Drunk treatment it deserves. Don’t expect pleasantries or typical racing media fanboy gloss from Punt Drunk – we’re on the punt and we don’t have time to bullshit; the next is about to jump…

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