No 2023 Caulfield Cup, but Spanish Mission on track

Spanish Mission’s name will not be there when Caulfield Cup final acceptances are taken on Wednesday, but that’s no reflection of the stable’s satisfaction with the way he is going.

The imported entire will instead head to Wednesday week’s Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m), where he will be on trial for a start in the $8m Melbourne Cup (3200m).

The eight-year-old finished eighth in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), after encountering a chequered passage in the straight, which co-trainer Katherine Coleman likened to a feature win.

“It was fantastic and we were nearly happier with that than Life Lessons winning the Group 2 (Rose Of Kingston Stakes),” Coleman said.

“It was great to see him show that want and that will. The way he finished the race off we were extremely happy with it and we’ve been even more happy with the way he’s come through it.

“He went down to Lauriston Farm, had a couple of days at the beach there, and seems to have come through it in really good order.

“The further he gets, the more it is going to suit him.”

The Turnbull Stakes was only the second run in 12 months for the 2021 Melbourne Cup placegetter, who resumed with a last placing in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).

This is his first campaign since recovering from an injury sustained after his third placing in last year’s Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m).

While Spanish Mission will not be at Caulfield on Saturday, Coleman and her co-trainer Peter Moody could still be represented in the Caulfield Cup 2023 with Fame a chance to line up.

The Queensland Derby runner-up has disappointed in two runs in open handicaps, over 1700m and 1800m this campaign but Coleman is expecting an improved performance from the son of Manhattan Rain once he steps up in trip.

“He’s a horse that’s probably not going to show his best until he gets out to that suitable trip,” Coleman said.

“He does need to improve from what we’ve seen this time around to be competitive in that grade of race, but we think that we are going to see that improvement over these next few runs.”

Fame is 16th in order of entry for a start in the Caulfield Cup, which is limited to 18 starters plus emergencies, and has 51kg with Craig Newitt to ride if the stable does elect to run.

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