Craig Williams gives Spanish Mission fitness tick for Cup – The Age


“My morning was only to come down to reconnaissance; my job wasn’t to get the horse fit,” Williams said.

“Andrew Balding and Tony and Tom Noonan who are down here with the horse, they don’t need me to train him for them. For me, it was to get to know his characteristics.

Craig Williams jumps aboard Spanish Mission at Werribee on Sunday.

Craig Williams jumps aboard Spanish Mission at Werribee on Sunday.Credit:Getty Images

“He’s a really responsive horse, he’s a lovely horse for a jockey to ride. He’s really kind and soft, and I loved the way that he felt for me in this morning’s little exercise.”

Williams said Spanish Mission had the right form to win Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.

“His overall profile is excellent and especially when he joined Andrew Balding’s stable, they targeted the horse for this race,” he said.


“He’s got Stradivarius form, and Stradivarius has been the best stayer in the world for the past three seasons.

“His run in the Lonsdale Cup really sealed it. He travelled and looked like he had some good change-up gears about him and he was only just narrowly beaten over 3200 metres – the same distance – by Stradivarius. He’s also a proven traveller, so I thought that ticked another good box.”

Triple Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Glen Boss was also at Werribee on Sunday morning, partnering with northern hemisphere-bred three-year-old Sir Lucan for the first time ahead of Tuesday’s race.

Sir Lucan, a full brother to last year’s Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet, has joined Gai Waterhouse’s stable and the champion trainer has been on hand most mornings since arriving to Melbourne to keep an eye on the lightly raced European.

“He reminds me a little bit of his brother, obviously a year younger than when I got on Sir Dragonet, but he’s got a very good action, this horse,” Boss said.

Glen Boss and Gai Waterhouse chat about Sir Lucan at Werribee on Sunday.

Glen Boss and Gai Waterhouse chat about Sir Lucan at Werribee on Sunday.Credit:Getty Images

“He just looks like for mine he’s six to 12 months away from being the proper horse he should be. He’s a bit of a juvenile.

“It looks like, in my opinion, it’s a top-weight year. They pick themselves; last year’s winner [Twilight Payment], Spanish Mission and obviously Incentivise, they’re class runners.


“But if there was one down the bottom [of the weights] that might trouble them, it could be this bloke.”

But Boss said Sir Lucan’s race on Tuesday could go one of two ways.

“He’s either going to get there, not cope on the day and not run well,” Boss said.

“Or if he does cope and do everything right, he’s going to run out of his skin. It’s just going to be one of those situations, I hope it’s the latter.”