The first of the international horses could step out in feature races at Rosehill as soon as next week, pending their progress in the coming days.
Both the William Haggas-trained Purplepay and Joseph O’Brien’s Statement have the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) pencilled in as a likely first-up goal, while the former’s barn mate Protagonist is set to be entered for the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m).
The trio were part of an 18-strong troupe of Europeans to arrive at the Canterbury Horse Centre last Saturday week and all three were reported to have settled in well.
Isabella Paul, assistant trainer to Haggas and responsible for overseeing the Sydney campaigns of three-time Australian Group 1 winner Addeybb, said Purplepay was a mare who came to hand quickly.
“She’s a filly who does enough in her work that you don’t tend to worry about her,” Paul said.
“She is only four so she’s not like these older, heavier boys who take a bit of getting fit. She does a lot of the work herself.”
Purplepay has won four of her 13 starts and is Group 2 winner over a mile in France.
The O’Brien-trained Statement is also relatively lightly raced and has won two of her three starts since joining the Irish trainer’s yard last year.
O’Brien’s stable representative Sean Corby, who has previously travelled to Australia with Melbourne Cup winner Twilight Payment, believes Statement is still on the way up.
The mare has made the running to score stakes wins in Ireland at her most recent starts in September and October and Corby says while she is likely to race handy, she doesn’t have to lead.
“She’s quite a straightforward filly so I’d imagine we’d just see how the races work out as to where she’d be,” Corby said.
“She was seen to good effect on speed the last couple of runs so that would probably be the idea.
“She’s had three runs for Joseph and her last two have been very good. She looks to be progressing all the time.”
Protagonist has won two of his five starts since joining the Haggas team last year and holds longer-term nominations for the Doncaster Mile (1600m) and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
The stable has been delighted with his form and are looking forward to testing his credentials over the autumn.
“He’s been a really progressive handicapper for us and has done well since he’s come to us,” Paul said.
“He was a nice horse before but he’s one that seems to keep improving so hopefully he can do the same down here.”
– RAS NewsWire