Moody's Verry Elleegant 'fear factor'
Peter Moody concedes he has an 'unbelievable fear factor' about his star recruit, Incentivise, lining up against arguably the best horse in Australia, Verry Elleegant, in Saturday's Group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.
"She is the benchmark. She is the benchmark for Australian racing. She is the benchmark for Zaaki, the even-money favourite for the Cox Plate," Moody said on his podcast, Moody On The Mic.
Bookmarkers have marked the Turnbull Stakes as a likely match race between Verry Elleegant and Incentivise in what will be the first time two of Australia's 'Big Three' middle-distance horses have crossed paths, with Zaaki likely lying in wait in the Cox Plate.
"Zaaki and Incentivise are the new kids on the block, she (Verry Elleegant) is the one that has been there and done it for about three seasons now and lining up for a 10th Group 1," Moody said.
"She could very well pull their pants down and they're going to both be promising good horses or one or both of them could climb over her and be the next good horse.
"This is the first intermingling of that 'Big Three', I suppose, so we're going to learn a bit on Saturday."
Incentivise has won his past seven starts, including most recently the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes in what was his first attempt at the top level.
On that occasion he beat a litany of G1 winners at a less-than-ideal trip of 1600m and first-up.
While he is far better suited at the 2000m of the Turnbull Stakes, there was no horse the quality of Verry Elleegant in the Makybe Diva Stakes field.
"You don't want to take her on but that's the way it is, and this is a tried-and-true path for Chris Waller, I think he's won five of the last six runnings of the Turnbull with various horses from Preferment through to Winx and Verry Elleegant herself here last year," Moody said.
"We now get a chance to see Incentivise to where he steps up to; he was good first-up; you would expect him to improve at this out to 2000m.
"I wouldn't walk away gutted if my horse didn't beat Verry Elleegant on Saturday, but I would walk away disappointed if he wasn't somewhat competitive."
Moody conceded that Incentivise might be heading into Saturday 'slightly soft' having given him an easier workload while he learns more about the horse and with an eye on his grand final of the Caufield Cup in a fortnight.
While that might seem somewhat of a disclaimer, Moody then fired a warning shot to his rivals for the remainder of the spring.
"I know my horse can improve significantly and if he can beat her today then they won't beat him again, that's how I look at it for the preparation," he said.
Incentivise winning the Makybe Diva Stakes (Image: Racing Photos)