Muscle spasms force Melbourne Cup hope Spanish Mission to miss Australia flight
Spanish Mission has not boarded the first international spring shipment to Melbourne and will miss the Caulfield Cup.
The Andrew Balding-trained runner was third favourite for the Caulfield Cup but has suffered a setback which will see his arrival delayed until the second shipment, meaning he will be aimed solely at the Lexus Melbourne Cup.
Craig Williams had been booked to ride the Yorkshire Cup winner in both races, but Spanish Mission will now arrive on October 9 and as such not be permitted to race before the Melbourne Cup under new rules introduced by Racing Victoria (RV) in 2021.
An RV statement said Spanish Mission had incurred a setback with muscle spasms in his flanks following exercise while in quarantine at Newmarket. As a result, he has missed time being ridden out but is understood to now be back being ridden.
William Hill had Spanish Mission as their 10-1 favourite for the Caulfield Cup, while he is as short as 8-1 for the Melbourne Cup.
Balding had made the decision that Spanish Mission would originally be put on the first shipment, having arranged Australian residents to care for the horse at the Werribee International Horse Centre.
In his most recent start last month, Spanish Mission got within a head of beating superstar stayer Stradivarius in the Lonsdale Cup at York.
Cox Plate hopefuls Gold Trip and State Of Rest are now the only two horses set to touch down in Melbourne on Saturday night.
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