Spanish Mission to miss Caulfield Cup and head straight to Melbourne Cup after muscle spasms delay Australia trip

Andrew Balding's Spanish Mission suffered muscle spasms at home in Newmarket so will miss this weekend's intended flight to Australia; travel rules mean five-year-old will be unable to compete in Caulfield Cup and head straight to Melbourne Cup

Spanish Mission
Image: Spanish Mission will now head straight to the Melbourne Cup on November 2

Spanish Mission's departure to Australia has been delayed and he will now miss his intended start in next month's Caulfield Cup.

The five-year-old was due to fly this weekend with the first shipment of Spring Carnival challengers, but after suffering with muscle spasms while exercising in quarantine in Newmarket, he will not leave as planned.

Andrew Balding's charge, who was last seen finishing a narrow second to Stradivarius in the Lonsdale Cup at York, is now due to travel early next month, but new rules mean he will not be allowed to contest the Caulfield Cup and will instead chart a direct route to the Melbourne Cup instead.

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A statement from Racing Victoria said: "UK trainer Andrew Balding has advised Racing Victoria (RV) that Spanish Mission will no longer fly to Melbourne this weekend and will instead arrive on Saturday, October 9 with a second shipment of international entrants for the Spring Racing Carnival.

"The change in travel plans means that Spanish Mission will no longer contest the $5m Carlton Draught Caulfield Cup on October 16 and will exclusively target the Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 2.

Spanish Mission, left, is beaten by Stradivarius in a thrilling finish to the Lonsdale Cup at York
Image: Spanish Mission, left, is beaten by Stradivarius in a thrilling finish to the Lonsdale Cup at York

"Balding advised RV that Spanish Mission had incurred a slight setback (muscle spasms in his flanks) following exercise whilst in Pre-Export Quarantine (PEQ) in Newmarket and had missed some ridden exercise as a result.

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"The stable has elected to take a cautious approach with the horse upon his return to ridden exercise today and have thus deferred their travel to the second shipment."

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