Spanish Mission going into quarantine ahead of Australia trip for Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup

Spanish Mission was just beaten by star stayer Stradivarius in thrilling finish to the Lonsdale Cup at York last month; Andrew Balding sending five-year-old to Australia for Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup

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

Spanish Mission is going into quarantine in Newmarket on Thursday ahead of his trip to Australia where he has the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup as targets.

Trainer Andrew Balding reports the five-year-old stayer to be in fine shape following his latest outing in the Lonsdale Cup at York, where he went down by a head to Stradivarius after a titanic battle.

"He goes into quarantine in Newmarket - I couldn't be happier with him, he's come out of York great," said Balding.

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"He's passed all his required veterinary checks and goes into two weeks' quarantine and then will be shipped to Australia for the Caulfield Cup and hopefully the Melbourne Cup as well."

Under the tough Covid restrictions in Australia, Balding is unable to send a member of staff with this year's Yorkshire Cup winner and 2020 Doncaster Cup victor - but he has managed to overcome the issue.

Andrew Balding
Image: Andrew Balding has arranged for a former employee to ride Spanish Mission in Australia

"It is a problem. Happily we've got a former employee who is working in Australia and has made himself available to ride the horse. We are working on the other details," he added.

Balding is pleased to have last year's St Leger runner-up Berkshire Rocco back in action in the Weatherbys Bloodstock Pro Persian Punch Conditions Stakes at Salisbury on Friday.

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The four-year-old has not run since finishing second in the Amir Trophy at Doha in February. He should have run on Dubai World Cup night, but was a late withdrawal after suffering a setback.

Balding is using his comeback run as a stepping stone to the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot next month.

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"I'm very pleased with him. He's obviously had a while off. He's working great," he said.

"We are looking towards Champions Day subject to an encouraging run on Friday."

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