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Andrew Balding thrilled as Spanish Mission finishes third in Melbourne Cup at Flemington

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Kingsclere trainer Andrew Balding believes his whole team were rewarded with their efforts after seeing Spanish Mission finish third in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.

The five-year-old ran an impressive race in the Group 1 showpiece at Flemington, finishing behind Verry Elleegant and Incentivise.

Australian mare Verry Ellegant finished four lengths ahead of Incentivise, as she recorded her 10th Group 1 victory, while Spanish Mission was a further half-length back.

Spanish Mission finished third in the 2021 Melbourne Cup at Flemington Pic: Mark Westley
Spanish Mission finished third in the 2021 Melbourne Cup at Flemington Pic: Mark Westley

“I am really pleased and I thought it was an excellent effort,” admitted Balding.

“It’s a big ask to take them, at this time of year and with it being the end of a long season, to the other side of the world and expect them to produce their best form, but I think he did.

“I think it was a high-class race, he has run with great credit and his owners have been particularly sporting in taking on the challenge, given the difficulties with travelling at the moment.

“They have been rewarded with a great run and we’re all thrilled.”

Due to travelling issues, Balding was unable to be in attendance for the biggest race in Australia and had to rely on a number of people to continue preparations once Spanish Mission left the country.

“It has been a massive team effort, from both everyone at Kingsclere prior to his departure to Tony Noonan who has taken on his care on the other side and I am hugely grateful because it’s been a massive effort.

“Neil Varley has been riding him every morning for exercise lives in Australia, but he was born in Kingsclere his parents still live here and he started his racing career with us as a young apprentice.

Andrew Balding
Andrew Balding

“It’s nice that there is a theme at the other end of the world that there has been a Kingsclere involvement throughout and through.”

Balding will have a few runners on home soil this weekend when some of his horses head to Doncaster on Saturday.

King’s Lynn will line-up in the Wentworth Stakes, while Achelois hopes to feature in a Fillies’ Stakes too.

“We have a couple of chances, but it’s getting late in the year now and a lot of these horses have had long season.

“King’s Lynn will have an obvious chance, as would Achelois who has been improving all year.”

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