The horse Aaron Purcell was most looking forward to training when he took over Ciaron Maher’s stable has lived up to all his expectations and is primed for her main target in the VRC Oaks.
Aloisia is the $1.60 favourite for Thursday’s $1 million VRC Oaks at Flemington, having already won the Group One Thousand Guineas and Group Two Vase.
The Guineas was Aloisia’s first start for Purcell, who stepped in to take over Maher’s stable when he was suspended for six months in late September.
Purcell added another Group One win with quality colt Merchant Navy in Saturday’s Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
While Maher’s team had a host of classy horses in the stable, Purcell rated Aloisia top of the list when he took over.
“I’ve known about quite a few of Ciaron’s horses and obviously the colts are high-class colts with big ambitions,” he said.
“Merchant Navy did a great job on Saturday and Jukebox has got a good win in him.
“But I’ve always liked to consider myself a trainer that can train a stayer and obviously the Classics are the best three-year-old races you can win.
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“She got a Guineas under the belt and hopefully we can get an Oaks.
“Everything she has done since I’ve been at Caulfield has just been professional, high-class. And there’s no reason why she won’t run up to her best. I’m sure she will be peaking for Thursday,” Purcell said.
He does not believe the 2500m will be a problem.
“In the long run I’m not sure she’s going to be an out-and-out stayer. I think she might be a better 2000-metre horse but I think racing against three-year-old fillies, I think she’s a likely horse to run it,” he said.
“Through her attitude, her preparation and pedigree, everything suggests she’s going to run a strong 2500.”
Pinot is second favourite at $6 and Purcell rates her the hardest to beat of Aloisia’s 11 rivals.
But the trainer retains his confidence in Aloisia.
“She’s drawn a bit awkwardly (9) and is up in trip and all these other fillies have also been planned to be peaking on the day, so it’s not going to be easy,” Purcell said.
“But definitely on form she looks like she’s the one.”