Military Mission to trial ahead of the Melbourne Cup

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott will have two runners in this year’s Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) and are opting for a slightly different approach for the more favoured of their pair, opting to trial Military Mission at Sale six days before the race.

Military Mission was last seen winning the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield but Waterhouse is focusing on Flemington, giving the five-year-old an easy workout on Tuesday morning.

“I thought he was excellent (this morning). He only trotted and cantered because he’s going to trial tomorrow. We had to make the decision would we let him gallop, and his galloping partner was no longer with him so we thought we’d take him to the trials tomorrow over 1400 (metres),” Waterhouse said.

Military Mission is down to trial in the first heat at Sale, scheduled to be run at 9:30am on Wednesday.

He and stablemate Serpentine, both of whom are assured of a Melbourne Cup berth, are nominated for this Saturday’s Group 3 Lexus Archer Stakes (2500m) but Waterhouse confirmed neither would take their place, leaving Sir Lucan as their only likely runner.

“Both our horses, Serpentine and Military Mission will go straight to the Cup”, said Waterhouse, who also confirmed the jockey bookings for the race that stops a nation.

“Jye McNeil on Serpentine and Rachel King on Military Mission, and she’s won on the horse several times, and he (McNeil) has done it before.”

Waterhouse, who trains in partnership with Adrian Bott, won the Melbourne Cup with Fiorente in 2013, however the pair, who have saddled up seven runners over seven years, have only managed one top-ten finish with Sydney Cup winner Knights Order finishing ninth last year.

While Military Mission and Serpentine are $41 and $81 in Melbourne Cup odds respectively, Waterhouse gave a good push for the former, citing his staying ability off slow and fast tempos.

“Even if it is (faster), it’ll suit him, it’ll drag him into the race. All I know is that he’s a model of consistency Military Mission, he’s got a luxury weight, what’s he done wrong? I think he can slip under the radar. I’d be amazed if he doesn’t finish in the first six. He’s going too well.”

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