Initiator, Val Mondo score at Caulfield for Purcell

WARRNAMBOOL trainer Aaron Purcell won a two-state double when Initiator and Val Mondo were successful on Saturday.

Initiator, a solidly-backed favourite, won an $80,000 race over 2000 metres at Caulfield with champion jockey Damian Oliver in the saddle.

Val Mondo took out a $35,000 event over 2600m at Morphettville.

Purcell played down the training achievement with his former international horses.

“I was quietly confident that both horses would run well,” he said.

“Initiator was coming off the back of a win at Caulfield on Boxing Day and he had the services of Ollie. 

“My main worry was the wide barrier but Ollie seemed to have everything under control. 

“Val Mondo has been racing without any luck. I thought he would be hard to beat if his luck turned around. 

“The race at Morphettville was a drop in class to his last runs at Moonee Valley and Flemington.”

The Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase-winning trainer said Oliver was impressed with Initiator’s win.

“Ollie gave the horse a good rap after the race. He said there’s still good improvement in the horse,” Purcell said.

“He thought Initiator had improved since his win on Boxing Day. The horse has really surprised me how quickly he’s come to hand since he came to Warrnambool. 

“I kept on saying to myself he’ll be a better horse in his next campaign but he’s doing a great job now. 

“He’s won three of his last four starts and two of those wins have been in town. 

“We might look at taking him back to town for another race in a fortnight at Flemington.”

Val Mondo might have his next start back at Morphettville but Purcell is also contemplating a run in Melbourne for the seven-year-old.

“The problem with Val Mondo is he’s not a big horse,” Purcell said.

“He gives 100 per cent in his races but he needs to have everything go his way. 

“I’m just worried what weight the handicappers will give him in the future. 

“There’s a similar sort of race at Morphettville soon but I’m worried he’ll be asked to carry a big weight. 

“He will not get as much weight if I run him in Melbourne.”

Initiator took his stake earnings to more than $140,000 with his win, while Val Mondo picked up $22,000 for his victory.

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