Spanish Mission cleared for Melbourne Cup bid after passing vet's inspection
Spanish Mission has been cleared to run in the Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday after passing a final veterinary check following an apparent skin infection.
The Andrew Balding-trained stayer failed the initial inspection by Racing Victoria vets on Thursday morning after suffering a knock to the pastern but was cleared on Saturday at Werribee before the draw for Australia's biggest race.
The Lonsdale Cup runner-up, who was given stall 14 in the 24-horse field, drifted in the market after failing the first vet inspection and is a general 7-1 second favourite behind strong market leader Incentivise.
Incentivise is quoted at 6-4 to become the first horse to complete the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double since Ethereal in 2001 and will start two stalls down from Spanish Mission in gate 16.
The Joseph O'Brien-trained Twilight Payment, last year's winner and the only other international runner, was drawn in stall 2. The eight-year-old returns to Australia after a summer in Ireland, where he won the Group 3 International Irish St Leger Trial before finishing a close second behind Ebor winner Sonnyboyliston in the Irish St Leger.
Ciaron Maher and David Eustace have dominated Melbourne's big staying races for the past 18 months and the heavily backed Hitotsu provided the pair with a first success in the $2 million Penfolds Victoria Derby at Flemington on Saturday.
Full runners and riders for the Lexus Melbourne Cup
Twilight Payment Jye McNeil (draw 2)
Incentivise Brett Prebble (16)
Spanish Mission Craig Williams (14)
Verry Elleegant James McDonald (19)
Explosive Jack John Allen (4)
The Chosen One Damian Lane (5)
Delphi Damien Oliver (3)
Ocean Billy Damien Thornton (13)
Selino Ron Stewart (24)
Johnny Get Angry Lachlan King (22)
Knights Order Daniel Stackhouse (9)
Persan Luke Currie (11)
Carif Blaike McDougall (8)
Master Of Wine Fred Kersley (6)
Pondus Rachel King (1)
Grand Promenade Kerrin McEvoy (21)
Miami Bound Patrick Moloney (17)
Port Guillaume Harry Coffey (23)
She's Ideel Craig Newitt (20)
Future Score Dean Yendall (15)
Tralee Rose Dean Holland (12)
Floating Artist Teo Nugent (10)
Great House Michael Dee (7)
Sir Lucan Glen Boss (18)
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