Imported stayer Initiator will be sent to the spelling paddock after running in the Piping Lane Handicap (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Initiator is chasing his third straight victory in the Piping Lane Handicap, after taking out the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1800m) at Caulfield on December 26 and the Adam Meyer Handicap (2000m) at Caulfield on January 4, but trainer Aaron Purcell will resist the temptation to keep the Motivator gelding in work, even if he is able to record his third straight victory this weekend.
Purcell told TVN is morning that he has been delighted with the progress that Initiator has made during his second preparation in Australia and is hoping that the imported galloper will continue to improve – with the 2015 Warrnambool Cup the long-term goal for the five-year-old.
“This will be his last run before he goes for a break,” Purcell said.
“He’s come a long way this preparation considering the problems we’ve had trying to get him to settle in his races.
“He still gets fired-up, but he’s a lot better now than he was six months ago because when he first got here from the UK we couldn’t control him.
“He used to charge, even in jump-outs, but we’ve worked on that and he’s improved a lot.
“I can’t see why in 12 months he won’t stay a strong mile and a half.
“I’m hoping that in a year we’ll be aiming him straight at the Cup at home.”
Initiator had six starts in the United Kingdom, including a fifth place finish behind Thomas Chippendale in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes (2414m) during the 2012 Royal Ascot meeting, and joined the stable of Purcell at the end of 2012.
He was unable to record a race win in his first three starts in Australia and made a slow start to his spring preparation in 2013 before breaking through for his maiden Australian race win in the Redbank Handicap (1600m) at Ballarat on November 24.
Initiator finished an unlucky third behind Marden and Canonized in the Blue Moon Racing Handicap (2000m) at Caulfield, but returned to the winners stall at Caulfield on Boxing Day and at the same venue on January 4.
The Piping Lane Handicap is a very competitive betting race; with Initiator ($3.40) currently a narrow favourite from Chris Waller-trained Index Linked ($3.70) and Zipping Classic runner-up Epingle ($6).