A daring ride from Damian Lane set up The Mission to score an all-the-way win in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes.
Lane was extremely positive out of the barriers and The Mission took off to set up an enormous lead down the back straight. Lane gave it a brief breather approaching the straight, but it looked as though the two-year-old was going to fold up.
What was expected didn’t happen as The Mission gave a kick in the straight to hold off $1.80 favourite Invader and Whispered Secret which looked odds-on to reel in the tearaway leader.
Lane provided a 10/10 ride on the son of Choisir and he knew the $9.70 chance at CrownBet had enough stamina to see out the 1600m distance.
“That felt great, it is a very tricky horse to ride and having ridden him in the Sires I really learnt a lot from him and it was great to get the win today,” Lane said.
“He goes very keen but he doesn’t just very well so in the Sires I got crossed quick, I run up backsides and I had to take off around them and it was just ugly, but the way he stayed on I thought this horse has great stamina and if he can get in his rhythm out in front like he did today I don’t think they will run him down.”
Winning trainer Paul Perry was confident about its chances in the Champagne Stakes after suffering an unlucky run in the Sires’ Produce Stakes last time out.
“He showed something all the way through but he’s probably been his own worst enemy,” Perry said.
“His last start in the Sires he was a bit slow out, got held up and nothing went his way but when he jumped well today and he can flow along I think he’s pretty smart.”
Perry wasn’t concerned when Lane opened up a big lead on The Mission and it will likely now earn a deserved break in the paddock.
“He gets in that mode in his work and he can keep trucking on. I knew he’d keep going,” Perry said.
“He’ll go the paddock now and hopefully come back for the Caulfield Guineas. He can certainly race on the speed so it should suit.”
Lane paid credit to Perry, stating that it was the best-prepared runner in the field.
“Credit to Paul Perry and the team they did a great job with him and when I looked at him in the yard today I thought he looked the best I had seen him and full credit to them, it’s just a privilege to be on board,” Lane added.
Hugh Bowman was aboard Invader which looked to be travelling into the race beautiful, but despite handling the wet track last start, Bowman attributed the defeat to the track.
“He just couldn’t accelerate on the inferior ground, acquitted himself well considering,” Bowman said.