Spanish on a Mission to Lead European Team

Last Updated 4 weeks ago | Commercial content | 18+

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Despite the difficulties in getting European runners to the Melbourne Cup this year, their team still looks strong.

Charlie Appleby is among a number of top trainers to have decided not to come to Australia in the spring, while Prince Of Arran and Sonnyboyliston have each been ruled out.

Spanish Mission, however, a lovely type trained by Andrew Balding, now heads the European challenge after some tip-top form in England over the past two years.

Read the latest Spanish Mission odds here as well as the Melbourne Cup betting offers for existing customers.

Balding Looking for Breakthrough Melbourne Cup Success

After the first stage of forfeits, six international entries were left in the Cup. Even after Sonnyboyliston was ruled out by trainer Johnny Murtagh, Away He Goes, Rodrigo Diaz, Master Of Reality and last year’s winner Twilight Payment were all left in contention. The best of the group may well be Spanish Mission however.

The five-year-old, a son of Noble Mission, is about to leave his pre-travel quarantine in Newmarket and head to Melbourne. What has really taken the eye with this horse is not just his class, but his versatility.

Most recently Spanish Mission chased home Europe’s top stayer of the last four years, Stradivarius. Beaten only a head in a thrilling finish at York, it showed both horses in a great light.

That run was over 3300 metres, while before that he also stayed on stoutly to claim third place in the Gold Cup. The Royal Ascot highlight, run over 4000 metres, was a very high-quality race. It showed his clear ability to keep going all day.

Going back further however, he has shown a little bit of speed and agility too. At York he won the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup over 2800 metres. Back in 2020, he took a smart Listed race at Chester over the same distance

The key point about the Chester race is that he had to handle some very sharp bends. He appears to have all that is required to run a huge race at Flemington on November 2 and must be high in every punter’s thoughts.

British and Irish Trainers Not Arriving

Trainers Saeed bin Suroor, Charlie Appleby and Aidan O’Brien are notable absentees. Between them they entered 20 horses over the last two runnings of this race.

Concerns surround the more stringent veterinary checks needed after some high-profile breakdowns in recent years. Travel restrictions in Australia have also meant that stables are less inclined to send vital stable staff down under.

As well as the $8 million spectacular, limited overseas entries have also affected the Caulfield Cup. October’s $5 million race has only the aforementioned Spanish Mission and Rodrigo Diaz, part-owned by Australian Bloodstock, as potential visiting participants.

Should the Balding horse run at Caulfield over a trip short of his best, plenty of notice should be taken. A placed finish there would put him spot-on for the main event in just over six weeks’ time

Read more news about the Melbourne Cup.

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