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Melbourne Cup 2012 hope Val Mondo will have his first start on Australian soil this weekend when he steps out in the $80,000 Winslow Constructors Plate (1600m).
Bought by Warrnambool trainer Aaron Purcell with the goal of targeting Australia’s major cup events, the German-bred stayer signalled plenty of potential during his early career before being tried in jumps races in England.
The six-year-old won the Group 3 German St Leger in just the fourth start of his career in 2010 and later finished fifth to Melbourne Cup placegetter Lucas Cranach at Group 2 level.
After nine starts in flat racing, the son of Lando was sold to well-regarded British jumps trainer Venetia Williams for whom he had six starts in jumps races.
Purcell is hoping the form shown during his early career will hold him in good stead to develop into a genuine performer at the top tier this spring.
“His first two or three starts were in regular grade, but from then on he was racing in stakes races in Germany against horses that have been competitive all over the world,” Purcell told Racing Victoria.
Val Mondo’s win in the Group 3 German St Leger means he has already met the qualifying criteria for the major spring cups and tomorrow will be the first step on the road to getting there.
Since arriving in May, the promising stayer has pleased Purcell but he is just hoping he can perform strongly in what will be the eighth race on the card tomorrow
“I’d expect him to race well, but when they sprint at the 600 I think he’ll be left behind a little bit,” Purcell said.
“I’d be expecting him to hit the line pretty strong.”
Taking on Val Mondo in his first Australian hitout are 10 other horses including last-start winner Streets Away and consisten gelding Galileo Gold.
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