Spanish Mission Misses Caulfield Cup
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A top contender from England for the Melbourne Cup, Spanish Mission, was unable to board the first international spring shipment flight to Melbourne and will now miss his intended engagement in the Caulfield Cup on Saturday, October 16.
The American-bred, by Noble Mission and trained by Andrew Balding, had been a leading contender at Caulfield. The apparent setback means the five-year-old now hops on board the second shipment flight. He will now be aimed only at the big one in Melbourne on November 2.
Jockey Craig Williams was set to be on board the Yorkshire Cup hero during both of his Australian engagements. He will now arrive on October 9 meaning under the new rules set out by Racing Victoria, he is not allowed to take part in the $5 million event.
Read more about Spanish Mission and the latest Melbourne Cup odds right here!
Muscle Spasms to Blame for Mission Delay
While in pre-flight quarantine in Newmarket, Spanish Mission suffered from muscle spasms in his flanks. The occurrence was noted following routine exercise at British racing headquarters. The event means he could not be ridden out. While his work has now resumed, the setback meant he could not be risked on the first flight out.
Top bookmakers in the UK even had Spanish Mission listed as their market leader for the Caulfield Cup. Although still around the 10/1 mark over there, his chances were seen as being very high. He’s as low as 8/1 in his homeland for the Melbourne Cup too.
Spanish Mission’s original plan was to head out early and be housed at the Werribee International Horse Centre. Many handicappers in England believed a run at Caulfield was just about crucial to sharpen him up ahead of his Cup bid, something now not possible.
Does the Lack of a Prep Run Affect Chances?
Spanish Mission has thrived on his racing. Improving all the time, he got within a head of England’s best long-distance horse Stradivarius at York in August having previously won the Yorkshire Cup at the same venue.
In the past for both David Simcock and Andrew Balding, Spanish Mission has appeared to need a run. While he had a hard day against Stradivarius, a gap of some 10½ weeks between outings is far from ideal.
The only saving grace here is that when he has previously run below-par after a break, there is another factor. His reappearance runs have been seasonal, not mid-year. His mediocre performances at places like Dubai and Saudi Arabia may simply not have been to his liking. The Melbourne Cup should suit him so much better.
Vow And Declare Also Out of Cup
Presently, top contender Spanish Mission should still make the Melbourne Cup despite missing his first spring target. The news isn’t so good however for Danny O’Brien’s Vow And Declare.
The 2019 Cup hero will now miss the rest of the spring spectacular because of injury. The six-year-old Declaration Of War gelding has suffered a tendon injury, the only cure for which is a long period of R&R away from the track.
Vow And Declare had been pencilled in for the Bart Cummings (Group 3). Now however, despite his injury being described as “minor”, he is required to begin rehab as soon as possible to protect his longer-term racing future.
Read more news about the Melbourne Cup.