Sports bettors sit on ‘racehorses’ made from hay and toy horse heads as they watch a live broadcast of the Melbourne Cup horse racing, sponsored by an Australian betting company in central Sydney business district, November 4, 2014. REUTERS / Jason Reed

MELBOURNE, Nov. 1 (Reuters) – Incentivize, an Australian resident, will try to cap off a golden spring with a victory in the Australian $ 8 million ($ 6 million) Melbourne Cup on Tuesday as a runaway favorite in “the race who stops the nation “.

The Peter Moody-trained gelding has captured the imagination of the sports-mad country, winning its last nine starts and beating the field in last month’s Caulfield Cup of 2,400 meters, a traditional form guide for the Cup.

Incentivise’s pull was reinforced by the lack of international entrants in the world’s richest two-mile handicap, with foreign teams avoiding the race due to a combination of new strict veterinary checks and logistical issues related to the race. COVID-19.

Only two horses prepared outside of Australia and New Zealand will be among the 24 at Flemington Racecourse, where a crowd of 10,000 people covered by COVID will gather after the race won last year by Twilight Payment took place on a closed track due to the pandemic.

Even in a weak peloton, Incentivize’s victory (7/4) would be hard won. The five-year-old, ridden by 2012 Melbourne Cup winner jockey Brett Prebble, will carry an equal weight of 57kg and jump off a wide 16-gate.

“I think everyone has been quite surprised with the way he has progressed, but we are happy to support him,” said coach Moody, famous for preparing unbeaten sprinter Black Caviar.

“He’s a deserved favorite in form… I just tried to hold him and hold him together and was able to do it quite comfortably thanks to his resilience and the way he is doing in the stables. “

Twilight Payment, prepared by Irish coach Joseph O’Brien, will look to become the first consecutive winner since the great Makybe Diva, who won a hat-trick from 2003 to 2005.

Despite having a maximum weight of 58 kg and a mature age, the nine year old gelding (11/1) has good attacking form, finishing second to the Irish St Leger of 2,800m in September.

His father, master trainer Aidan O’Brien, refused to saddle runners.

Aidan O’Brien participant Anthony Van Dyck, former Epsom Derby winner, was euthanized after a blackout in last year’s race, two years after his 2018 rider Cliffsofmoher was shot after being lame.

Already under pressure from animal rights activists, the growing number of horse deaths has prompted authorities in Victoria state to introduce more stringent veterinary protocols, including bone scans that require horses to be sedated.

Coaches called the measures excessive, including Joseph O’Brien, who prepared Cox Plate-winning State Of Rest last month.

“If I had known how hard it would have been to go through all the obstacles, I’m not sure we would have even fallen in the first place,” said O’Brien.

Britain’s Spanish Mission, the other non-Australasian, is second favorite (9/1), despite a difficult lead.

The stallion trained by Andrew Balding failed two veterinary inspections last week after receiving a blow to his right front paw.

Cleared on Saturday, Spanish Moon proved his form over more than two miles and finished second in the Lonsdale Cup in August behind Stradivarius, the dominant stayer in recent seasons in Europe.

($ 1 = AU $ 1.3335)

Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Michael Perry

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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