Spanish Mission looks set be campaigned back in Europe rather than return to America for the Breeders’ Cup.
The David Simcock-trained three-year-old recorded a famous win in the $1million Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday night, being produced right on the line by Jamie Spencer to score by a nose.
Even more remarkable was that Spencer had been hindered by dropping his right rein.
The Noble Mission colt is owned by Earle Mack and Team Valor, and while his Belmont victory earned Spanish Mission automatic entry to the Breeders’ Cup Turf, the latter’s Barry Irwin was quick to rule that out.
He told bloodhorse.com: “He’s a good horse. I think he’ll get better with age.
“When I bought him, the plan was to leave him in Europe this year and then bring him to America next year. Halfway through the season, I realised this is strictly a European horse and I told my guys, ‘He’s never coming home, but I’ll bring him for this race’.
“We’re looking at the Melbourne Cup (in the future) with this horse. Earle would rather win that race than anything, and I’d like to win it as well.”
Spencer said of the dramatic finish: “Going into the final turn he was giving me all he had.
“I dropped my right rein and even though I was using the crop, when you drop your reins in a race, it typically signals to the horse that the race is over.”