Spanish Mission set for 2023 Makybe Diva Stakes return

Imported galloper Spanish Mission is set to make his return from a tendon injury against Group 1 company at Flemington.

The Peter Moody and Katherine Coleman-trained stayer is set to run first-up in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) on Saturday.

It will be Spanish Mission’s first start since finishing third to Mr Brightside in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley last year.

Moody said Spanish Mission had spent the majority of the past year in and out work, firstly doing rehabilitation on the tendon injury and then in pre-training with Darren Weir.

Spanish Mission spent time with Lee Evison who is renowned at getting horses over their tendon problems before being sent to Weir to work on the deep sand at his pre-training property at Baringhup.

Moody said he was pleased with how Spanish Mission is progressing for his return after a jump-out at Pakenham last month and then a trial at Cranbourne last week.

Spanish Mission finished fourth to Without A Fight in the Cranbourne trial over 1190m, beaten a little over three lengths.

“He trialled OK, but the important thing is the leg looks good,” Moody said.

“And Saturday’s race will be a nice starting point for him.

“He spent time with Lee Evison and then at Darren Weir’s and he hasn’t really been out of work for a year, with his rehab work.

“He’s got plenty of miles under the belt, so we just want to see him come through the run well, but I’m expecting he’ll find it too short.”

Spanish Mission came to Australia for the 2021 Melbourne Cup, finishing third to Verry Elleegant under the care of Andrew Balding.

He was transferred into Moody’s care for the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Caulfield at his next start but finished fourth as a $1.40 favourite.

Returning for an autumn campaign last year, Spanish Mission finished third in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield before running third in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington ahead of a run on a wet track at Newcastle after which a halt was called on his preparation.

Spanish Mission had one run last spring before suffering the tendon injury.

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