UK trainer Andrew Balding confirmed on a call to News Corp that the plan for Spanish Mission is to go into quarantine at Newmarket before heading down under with the first group of European stayers, ready to contest the Caulfield Cup in October.
Spanish Mission jumped to the top of betting for the Melbourne Cup after going down narrowly in a neck and neck contest with Stradivarius in the closing stages of the Lonsdale Cup at York on Friday.
That performance alerted the TAB odds setters who moved Spanish Mission from $26 to $13 for the big race on the first Tuesday of November.
With the Caulfield Cup the likely starting point for Spanish Mission the only thing remaining is to get RV approval to compete, which seems likely now that he has passed final vets checks before quarantine.
“He has just completed those and as far as I am aware there is no major problems.
“The horse is due to return to Kingsclere (Balding stables) tomorrow morning and spend a bit of time here and then go into quarantine in Newmarket with the hope of getting on that first shipment to Australia which would make him eligible for the Caulfield Cup.
“I think it (the Caulfield Cup) is the obvious option for a prep race, it’s nice to get out there with a bit of fumble time because obviously the main objective is the Melbourne Cup.
“But all being well, if we could have him ready for the Caulfield Cup and he travels well it would be the ideal scenario to have a prep run there.
“It gives us a bit of more time too, in case we do have any sort of setbacks.”
Even though recruitment is underway for the Caulfield Cup, it is believed Spanish Mission is likely to be the only entrant from overseas in the race.