Britain’s only hope for this year’s Melbourne Cup, Andrew Balding’s Spanish Mission, has been passed fit to race on Tuesday after a third veterinary check in Australia.
Spanish Mission was forced to have a last-minute inspection after found to have swelling in a foreleg during checks on Thursday and Friday.
Trainer Tony Noonan and his son Tom have overseen Spanish Mission’s preparation for Balding as the handler’s British staff were unable to make the trip due to travel difficulties.
Ahead of final acceptances for the feature race at Flemington, Racing Victoria confirmed the British raider had been declared fit to run.
In a statement on Twitter, Racing Victoria said: A panel of three veterinarians have re-inspected Spanish Mission today and passed the horse suitable to accept this afternoon for Tuesday’s Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington.”
Spanish Mission, winner of the Yorkshire Cup, was last seen being beaten by Stradivarius in the Lonsdale Cup at York in August.
He is as low as 9/2 for the race, second in the market behind hot favourite Incentivise for Australian trainer Peter Moody.
Last year’s winner, Joseph O’Brien’s Twilight Payment, returns to represent Ireland and is 10/1 to defend his crown.