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David Eustace is looking forward to the opportunity to join Ciaron Maher in a training partnership.

The pair will have their first runner at the first meeting of the new season at Sale on Wednesday with Smokin’ Bella contesting a benchmark 70 race.

Eustace has been an assistant-trainer with Maher in recent seasons and was an integral part of the transition when Aaron Purcell took over the stable during Maher’s six-month suspension earlier this season.

“It’s pretty exciting and hopefully we can start off with a few winners,” Eustace said.

“We’ve had it in the pipeline for a little while and the timing seemed right at the start of the season.

“It takes a bit of pressure off both of us by sharing the the load.

“With seven days a week racing, and night racing, it makes a lot of sense.”

Eustace said there are between 270 and 280 horses on the books with just over 100 horses in training at Caulfield.

He travelled to Australia in 2014 with one of Roger Varian’s horses for the 2014 Melbourne Cup carnival.

Eustace, 27, is a son of British trainer James Eustace and says he has been involved with horses since he was four of five.

He says he sees his long-term future in Australia.

“It’s a good opportunity with Ciaron and I don’t have any intentions to go anywhere else,” he said.

While he had success with Varian, with whom he worked for four years, Eustace rates Jameka’s win in the 2016 Caulfield Cup and Merchant Navy’s success in the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington last November as highlights.

“Roger had some good horses and there’s been plenty of highlights but I suppose Jameka would be right up there,” he said.

Jameka’s Caulfield Cup winning jockey Nick Hall has announced his retirement from the saddle after taking an extended break with a hip problem.

He made a short return earlier in the year with three rides at the Mornington Cup meeting in March before again being sidelined.

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