Military Mission careers away with victory in Zipping Classic

Military Mission (IRE) ridden by Jye McNeil wins the Zipping Classic at Caulfield Racecourse on December 02, 2023 in Caulfield, Australia. (Photo by Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

Military Mission (+1100) has kept the strong record of Melbourne Cup runners winning the Group 2 Zipping Classic, as the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained stayer took out the feature race at Caulfield after running 10th in the race that stops the nation at his last start.

After taking out the Zipping Classic, the five-year-old gelding became the sixth runner in the last 10 years to win the $750,000 race after running in the Melbourne Cup.

The son of Mastercraftsman was a track and trip winner in the Herbert Power Stakes two starts back and he won in very similar fashion, running on from the back of the field to outstay his rivals in the concluding stages.

Deny Knowledge (+400) led the field from Duke De Sessa (+250) and the race didn’t change much but when the sprint went on, the leader started to struggle at the 400m mark and Duke De Sessa took over and kicked clear at the top of the straight.

Behind him was a wall of horses, with the race favourite Muramasa (+240) and Amade (+2000) making their runs on the outside; however, it would be Military Mission who would run straight past them with 300m to go and past the slowing leader with 150m to go.

Bankers Choice (+750) ran home strong along the inside rail to nab second, but there was no doubt about the winner as he recorded a 2.75-length victory.

2023 Zipping Classic Replay – Military Mission | T: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott | J: Jye McNeil

With Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott in Sydney, Rebecca Shanks represented the stable in the post-race interview.

“Absolutely amazing for these owners, they’re such big supporters of our team and they’re all so much fun to go to the races with, it’s so rewarding to get a win like this one,” Shanks said.

“When it started to open up at eight o’clock at the stables this morning, we definitely thought we were a good chance, this horse’s wet track form is super, three runs on a heavy for a win and a third.

“He’s been exceptional this preparation, so brave to run in his first Cup over that distance he’s never stepped over before in a high pressure race and then to step back in trip today and be so competitive, he’s so tough.”

Jye McNeil picked up his biggest win of the spring in the Zipping Classic, and he spoke post-race.

“It didn’t really go to plan,” McNeil said.

“I was in a bit of a jostle for positioning, ended up having to take my medicine, come back, keep the horse happy, I had one run at them, and he let go with an amazing change of speed and he was too good for them.

“I was looking to be one-out, three pairs back and there was a rider wanting the same position as me which was becoming awkward and rather than getting into a bumping duel I took my medicine, came back and he found a fantastic rhythm, spent no energy and made an amazing run.

“He was really relishing the conditions, I wasn’t too sure about the part of the track we were in but he let go fantastic there and as the day’s gone and we’ve continued to get the rain perhaps it’s starting to be the place to be.”

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