Purcell Has Big Spring Ambitions

Warrnambool trainer Aaron Purcell has big spring goals. Even the Melbourne Cup is on the radar for one of his stable newcomers.

Set to make his Australian soil debut at Caulfield on August 18, German-bred import Val Mondo was bought by Purcell with the aim of chasing glory in some of the country’s biggest races.

There is no bigger race than the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup and while Purcell admits it is still early days in the five-year-old’s preparation, he is hopeful he will be up to the task.

“He’s been entered for all the big races,” Purcell said.

“He hasn’t shown anything to suggest he wouldn’t be up to that sort of level.

“There’s obviously a long way to go to get up to that sort of distance and see where he’s at. But from everything he’s shown so far I certainly wouldn’t discount him.”

Val Mondo has already met the Melbourne Cup qualification criteria, having won the Group 3 German St Leger (2800m) in his third career start in 2010.

The son of Lando placed on another two occasions at stakes level in Germany and also ran fifth to Melbourne Cup placegetter Lucas Cranach in a Group 2 race.

Purcell has been pleased with Val Mondo’s work since joining his stable earlier this year and said he has show plenty of promise ahead of his Australian debut on Saturday week.

“He galloped this morning and everything is going really well with him,” Purcell said.

“He’ll probably run at Caulfield on Saturday week and then have two or three runs and we’ll see where he’s at.”

Also stepping out in the near future for Purcell with big spring ambitions is talented mare Spirit Song who will be aimed at the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington in November.

Since being transferred to Purcell’s Warrnambool stables late last year, Spirit Song has been a picture of consistency.

The promising five-year-old has won six of eight starts under Purcell including the Group 3 Schweppervescence Trophy and the Group 2 Sunline Stakes.

Originally set to resume this weekend, a track gallop this morning suggested the daughter of Invincible Spirit needs further work and will now make her return later this month.

Purcell said Spirit Song would target a number of black-type mares’ races in the lead-up to the $500,000 Myer Classic on Victoria Derby day.

“The Myer Classic will be her major goal,” he said.

“We haven’t worked out her full schedule yet but in the lead-up to that she’ll be aimed at Listed and Group mares’ races.”

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