It’s been all the rage for trainers looking for a spring carnival cup’s horse but now the method of buying stayers from Europe has jumped ship.
Aaron Purcell trains out of Warrnambool and he has looked abroad for a horse to win a feature race too, his target being the Grand Annual Steeplechase.
The wheels are already turning on his plan with Dhaafer being purchased from the English stables of Alan King.
He will face a vets exam today and all going well he’ll enter quarantine at Cheltenham on Friday.
Assuming things go to script he’ll arrive at Purcell’s property at the end of January with plenty of time before his May grand final.
The five year old is in for a big test with the 5500m of the Grand Annual arguably the toughest race anywhere in Australia.
Purcell thinks he’ll be up to it though and the purchase is the result of many weeks of research.
“We’re very confident he will pass the vet test,” he said.
“We’ve bought him to run in the Grand Annual and the Grand National Steeplechase. They are the two races we have in mind for him.
“We had numerous British bloodstock agents looking for a horse that would be suitable to run in the two feature races. This horse ticked all the boxes which we thought needed to be ticked.”
Dhaafer was a $40,000 purchase with an extra $20,000 on top of that for transport to Australia.
He last ran in a hurdle at Leicester where he finished second.
Purcell plans to offer him up for syndication with no figures yet being worked out.
“We’ll be doing all things on a cost basis. We’re confident we can get rid of the shares,” he said.
“The bloodstock agents in Britain want Dhaafer to succeed here as they want to break into the jumping market in Australia.”
Dhaafer boasts a rating of 120 after winning 11 hurdle events throughout his career and barring injury would be a guaranteed starter in the Annual.
“He’s an exciting type of horse,” Purcell said.
“People in England are now taking more notice of jumps racing in Australia now the sport is secure. Our prizemoney is excellent compared to England.”