Young Warrnambool horseman Aaron Purcell will take over the preparation of former German St Leger winner Val Mondo who is being aimed at the Melbourne Cup 2012 at Flemington this spring.
Lando five-year-old Val Mondo won the 2010 German St Leger which qualifies them for a start in the world’s richest handicap, the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) to run as Flemington Race 7 on the first Tuesday of November.
Formerly prepared by renowned English jumps trainer Miss Venetia Williams in England, Val Mondo will join Purcell’s Victorian operation at the end of May in anticipation of the 2012 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Purcell finalised the months-long purchase of the import late last week, the buy possible thanks to his friendship with the horse’s then trainer Williams.
The pair met two years ago in England when Purcell was there with his 2008 Grand Annual Steeple winner Ginolad.
“I’ve had Val Mondo on my radar for more than six months,” Purcell explained.
“I first tried to buy him after Venetia had spoken to me about him around six months ago but the owners didn’t want to sell him.
“Venetia has described him as being not over big but very athletic.”
Keen to take the horse all the way to the Melbourne Cup, Purcell said Val Mondo’s lightly-raced status and ability to stay having raced up to 4224-metres in overseas hurdle races made then the perfect horse to have in his stables ahead of the famous two-mile feature.
“Val Mondo is qualified to run in this year’s Melbourne Cup because he had won the 2010 German St Leger,” Purcell said.
“He’s got solid flat form in Germany but has also shown some ability in jumps races in England.
“He’s lightly raced and looks to have everything in front of him.
“He’s run in nine stakes races overseas and won one and been placed three times.
“He’s raced in the best company in Germany.
“He ran fifth behind the former German horse Lucas Cranach which then ran fifth in last year’s Melbourne Cup before winning a Group 2 race at Caulfield.
“He will come out of quarantine at Eastern Creek in New South Wales at the end of May and I’ll put him straight into work with this year’s Melbourne Cup as his main aim.”
Should a Melbourne Cup 2012 bid fail, Purcell said that Val Mondo’s versatility was a big plus and that a jumps career would make a nice Plan B.
“He’s a multi-purpose type of horse,” Purcell said.
“He is very good on the flat and can jump which is a bonus.
“We’re pretty excited that we’ve got the horse because he does come over here very well-credentialed for our types of races.”
Purcell was also in the headlines recently for his other international acquisition, the former Alan Kin-trained hurdler Dhaafer who he will prepare for the Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase in May.
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