The Mission has long presented the same challenges as his sire did for champion Newcastle trainer Paul Perry.
But with it came the potential to hand Perry a first group 1 victory since Newport claimed The Metropolitan in 2008.
The Mission, sixth in the group 1 Sires’ Produce (1400 metres) two weeks earlier, produced a bold front-running display to win the $500,000 ATC Champagne Stakes (1600m) on Saturday at Randwick and give Perry a 12th success at the top level. The 2.3 lengths victory over odds-on favourite Invader was a similar effort to The Mission’s group 3 maiden win over 1400m three weeks ago at Rosehill.
It was the 11th group 1 win by Choisir’s progeny but the first time Perry has trained a son of his most famous horse to an elite title. Choisir made Perry the first Australian trainer to win a group 1 race in Britain when he shocked the world in 2003 to claim the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Perry always believed The Mission, which has pulled hard early in races, would deliver on his promise.
“He’s probably been a little bit of his own worst enemy in a few races, but as he’s settled into it … Choisir was like that, too, early, until he found his right pattern and things like that,” Perry said. “He was a bit wayward.
“I thought he’d win Saturday, geez I was keen on him,” he added. “It just suited him the race. I thought if he could get to the front like he did, he flows along nice and when he seems to get into a rhythm, he’s a much better horse. Especially with a bit of a slower tempo over the mile, it gives him a bit of a chance to get into a rhythm.”
Perry was thrilled to break his group 1 drought with a son of Choisir, which was third in the 2002 Champagne Stakes and Golden Slipper. He said The Mission would now be spelled and set for the Caulfield Guineas in the spring.
“We’ve had a fair few over the years and they’ve all been handy horses, everyone one of them,” Perry said of Choisir’s progeny. “You wouldn’t get a better bread and butter breeding horse, I don’t think, but this is the best horse we’ve had by him for sure.”
The win took the $32,500 Magic Millions buy to prizemoney of $411,925 in nine starts.
Kris Lees’ Le Romain went close to making it a group 1 double for Newcastle trainers at Randwick.
The three-time group 1 winner hit the lead with 200m to go in the $600,000 All Aged Stakes (1400m) after an on-pace run, but he was beaten a long neck by the swooping Tivaci. It was an impressive comeback for Le Romain, which was 15th in the Doncaster Mile two weeks earlier.
Also at Randwick, Hunter syndicators Australian Bloodstock tasted success when the Darren Weir-trained Mongolian Wolf claimed the group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m).