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Eurell expects improved run from Ma Deuce

Greg Eurell admits he expected a little more from Ma Deuce in his return at Ballarat but the Cox Plate-winning trainer also knows there’s no substitute for match practice.

And with that, Eurell is confident of a much-improved showing from Ma Deuce when he lines up at Flemington on Saturday in the Western Health Foundation Handicap (1400m).

Ma Deuce was sent out the $3.60 favourite in a 1200m benchmark race at Ballarat on November 19 but could only finish sixth in the field of 10 at his first start since April.

Eurell was worried the lightly raced five-year-old would miss a start in Saturday’s race after he was down the order of entry but he made the field and his trainer said he expected him to make his presence felt.

“I thought it was an even run first-up,” Eurell said.

“I didn’t think it was bad and I didn’t think it was good.

“I suppose the expectations with him, because his form has been so good, were that he might have been a bit more competitive in that class but his run wasn’t bad and he stuck to his guns.

“This distance on Saturday is certainly much more suitable and second-up with that run under his belt, he’s certainly ready to go.”

Eurell said the winner of three of his five starts galloped strongly at Cranbourne on Tuesday.

“I would expect him to run very well,” Eurell said.

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