Craig Williams chasing second Melbourne Cup

Craig Williams will be lining up for his 19th Melbourne Cup ride when he partners European galloper Spanish Mission in Australia’s great race.

Success came to Williams in the Melbourne Cup two years ago on the Danny O’Brien-trained Vow And Declare and he is looking to replicate that feeling on Tuesday at Flemington.

“After winning it on Vow And Declare two years ago, it is clearly a life changing race,” Williams said.

“I feel really honoured to be on the list and hopefully I can get that feeling again on Spanish Mission.”

Williams has learned a lot in his bid at Cup success and said the race can be a game of inches.

“It’s a handicap, over two miles and horses come from all over the world,” he said.

“It truly is a remarkable race every year.”

Williams partnered the Andrew Balding-trained stayer for the first time on Sunday in a piece of work at the Werribee quarantine centre that the stayer has called home since arriving on October 9.

There had been a query on Spanish Mission’s fitness after Racing Victoria vets had twice failed him in the lead to Saturday afternoon acceptance deadline.

“After sitting on his back on Sunday I have no concerns,” Williams said.

“He is a lovely horse. He’s a beautiful horse to do anything with for a rider and he’s got a lovely action.

“He feels like he’s got good change up speed which will be helpful and I’m really looking forward to the challenge with him.

“He’s been set for this race. They’re very bullish about his chances, and I can understand why after having my first sit on him.”

Williams concedes the favourite Incentivise is the one to beat, although he is wary of several lighter-weighted rivals.

“There are a couple of lightweight horses that are going to have five, six and seven kilos less than myself and Incentivise,” Williams said.

“It’s going to be really hot and the horses are going to have to handle the day.”

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