Team Valor duo to target top staying races

Technician and Spanish Mission have owners dreaming of Ascot and Melbourne.

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Owners Team Valor are confident they have two major contenders for staying honours this season, in Spanish Mission and Technician.

The pair enjoyed success at a high level as three-year-olds, and connections hope they can continue their progression as they get older.

It is unlikely they will clash – because Spanish Mission likes quick conditions, while Technician prefers cut in the ground.

Spanish Mission, trained by David Simcock, won the Group Three Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket and then in September pulled off a globe-trotting success in Belmont Park’s Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes.

He would have run in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan, following a prep run there in February, had the meeting not been cancelled because of coronavirus.

“He came back on the Tuesday, and we have got two really good horses in England – we’ve got him and Technician,” said Team Valor’s founder and chief executive Barry Irwin.

“I think they are pretty much similar quality, and they both want to run the same kind of distances.

“The difference in them is that Technician needs cut in the ground. The other horse wants it harder. Between the two of them, we should have plenty of action.”

With British currently racing shut down during the pandemic, this summer’s plans have not even been discussed – but Irwin already sees Spanish Mission as a possible candidate for next year’s Melbourne Cup.

On the prospect of taking the Noble Mission colt to Australia, he said: “Not this year, next year.

“He is still pretty immature. I think the distance (two miles) is within his wheelhouse,” he said.

“I’d like to give him another year to have him at his best.

“The other horse, Technician, he is good enough to do that – but you don’t get soft ground out there for the Melbourne Cup very often.”

Technician showed his class when the ground is in his favour with victories all the way through the ranks last season, culminating in the Group One Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp in October.

Irwin believes the Martyn Meade-trained grey could be the right type for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot if the rains were to come in June.

He said: “If he gets the right kind of ground for the Ascot Gold Cup – I know it will be a tough race – I think he is that quality.”

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