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Purcell ready for the Caulfield challenge

Warrnambool trainer Aaron Purcell is looking to claim a stakes win at Mornington before he assumes control of Ciaron Maher’s stable at Caulfield.

Maher was last Monday suspended for six months by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board over the ownership bona fides of five horses determined to be owned by convicted conman Peter Foster.

Purcell, who has 16 horses in work, first became aware he was a possibility to take over Maher’s stable on Monday before being told on Thursday an in-principle agreement had been reached.

“This time last year I had 40 in work and twice as many staff as I do now,” Purcell said.

“But taking over Ciaron’s stable is a different level again.”

Purcell will spend the weekend with Maher before taking control on Monday.

“One thing Ciaron has got is good people around him and good processes in place which will make my job a lot easier,” he said.

“I’ll be spending most of my time at Caulfield and once I get a handle on things I’ll be coming and going, splitting my time between the two places.

“Also some of the horses at Warrnambool will be better suited at Caulfield and vice versa, so I’ll be able to intermingle the stable as well.”

Purcell said part of the reason he wanted to take on the role was to work with a good team while also opening up more opportunities for his own horses.

On Saturday Purcell has imported stayers Swacadelic and Khezerabad contesting the Listed R M Ansett Classic (2430m) at Mornington.

Purcell said both would be suited by the good track and minimum weight.

He said Swacadelic had been a victim of the strength of the early spring staying races.

“They usually get stronger as they go along but this year Lloyd Williams and Darren Weir have had some really good stayers up early,” Purcell said.

“They’ve been quite competitive races and he’s been outclassed.

“He was a bit stiff at Moonee Valley and then last time Almandin made the rest of them look a bit second rate.”

Purcell is hoping Khezerabad can recapture the flat form he displayed in France before being switched to jumps racing.

“His flat form in France before he went jumping was solid and I thought if I could get him back to his three-year-old form there was a good flat win in him,” Purcell said.

“If that doesn’t work then jumping is plan B.”

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