Williams bases loaded for Spring Carnival features 

September 21, 2021

Williams bases loaded for Spring Carnival features 

Superstar jockey Craig Williams is set for a fruitful Spring campaign after confirmation he has been selected to partner international import Spanish Mission in this year’s Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. 

Spanish Mission is one of very few internationals to descend on Melbourne this year with the new strict hurdles introduced by Racing Victoria. The five-year-old stallion is currently the second favourite in both Cups behind Incentivise and will face the tough task of carrying 57kg in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup. 

The partnership with Spanish Mission only enhances Williams’ hand this Spring with the ride on Zaaki all but his heading towards a Cox Plate. Regular jockey James McDonald is most unlikely to make the trip down to Melbourne to partner the Annabel Neasham star due to the ongoing COVID hurdles. 

Neasham sent Zaaki around Sandown this morning to give him a look at the track in preparation for Saturday. Williams jumped on the back of the Cox Plate favourite for the first time. 

“He galloped solo, he was very lost on his own, the track had a lot of rain overnight and there was a bit of wear and tear but he handled the track extremely well,” Williams said.

“He has that presence about him when he just walks around let alone being on his back. I’m really happy the way that he is progressing and the way Annabel has got him with three more racing targets in sight.”

“I was really excited when Annabel plotted a course towards the Cox Plate to run three times down here in Victoria through the Spring. This morning was a really good introduction for myself and Zaaki to be competitive going left handed.” 

“I’m really looking forward to Zaaki and being on his back and seeing what he feels like in a competitive environment.”

Zaaki is currently the $1.35 favourite for this weekend’s Group 1 Underwood Stakes. Whilst looking ahead to next month’s Cox Plate he is a $2.50 chance. 

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