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The Champagne Stakes is a likely target for The Mission

Missing the Golden Slipper could produce a silver lining for connections of The Mission after the frisky colt opened his account with a commanding victory at Rosehill.

An unused emergency for last weekend’s richest race for two-year-olds, The Mission finally had a chance to prove himself on a heavy track on Saturday and completed his assignment with aplomb to score the Group Three Schweppervescence (1400m) by 2-1/4 lengths.

A son of the trailblazing Choisir, the unfancied $21 chance with WilliamHill led from the jump and held off pre-race favourite Astoria ($3) to give Newcastle trainer Paul Perry some consolation after failing to make the Slipper field.

“His work is enormous. Missing the Slipper might have been in hindsight a blessing because now he’ll go to Randwick with good form and he may be the fresh horse on the scene,” said Perry’s son and stable foreman Shannon Perry.

Although The Mission is nominated for Saturday’s $1.1 million Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick, Parry identified the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (1600m) on April 15 was a more likely target.

Fourth in his previous start in the Pago Pago Stakes at Rosehill on March 11, The Mission again over-raced before Corey Brown – on board because Ben Melham was late to the track – managed to relax him.

“He got very aggressive and when I started to get on top of him. That’s when he started to throw his head and carry on like a young, immature horse,” Brown said.

“I tried to hold on to him as long as I could because he had done so much work early. When I squeezed him at about the 300 metres, he really lengthened well and he did his best work from about the furlong home.”

Despite his fractious nature, Brown thought the colt was capable of stepping up in distance.

“I think he will run the mile. Maybe Paul and Shannon should put a set of visors on him, just to help him relax a little bit more.

“I know he probably needs the blinkers but stepping up to the mile, I think he’s going to need something taken off.”

The David Hayes-trained Muraahib ($7) produced an encouraging third from his first run on a heavy track to hit the line 3/4 of a length behind Astoria.

 
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