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Simon Morrish steps up for caretaker role

Ballarat horseman Simon Morrish will take over the stables of suspended trainer Matt Cumani in a caretaker role.

Cumani was last week suspended and fined $20,000 for his failure to notify stewards of a case of strangles in his stables last October.

Morrish takes over 40 horses and staff when Cumani begins his suspension at midnight on Tuesday.

Cumani, who trained Etah James to win at Mildura on Monday, returns to training on August 1.

Morrish said he felt for Cumani who had effectively been hit twice in the first 12 months of his career.

Cumani’s stable was shut down for a month last November which Morrish said took the trainer almost three months to recover from coupled with the suspension he’s about to start.

“He’s a young bloke and in any start-up business the first 12 months are the hardest,” Morrish said.

“Six months of the first 12 months of training he’s effectively been on the bench which is not good for business.”

He said Racing Victoria stewards, in particular Terry Bailey, had been supportive about Morrish taking over.

“The worst thing is if 10 horses go here, 10 horses go there and 20 horses go somewhere else then you lose your business,” Morrish said.

“This way we keep the show rolling on, keep his staff and all his infrastructure in place and basically I walk out in 10 weeks time and he walks in.

“Terry Bailey and I both agree it’s all about the perception that he’s not training them and has nothing to do with them.”

Cumani plans to head to the United Kingdom for the July Festival at Newmarket during his suspension.

He said he would attend yearling sales, go on stud tours and inspect stallions.

“I was planning to go back to the UK in July for three weeks and I might just extend that by a week,” Cumani said.

“I’m allowed to move around so I’ll take the opportunity to do things that you don’t get to do when you’re training horses.”

Morrish saddles his first Cumani runner at Ballarat on Wednesday when Archery Peak runs in the OTI Handicap.

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