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Since being told he was the replacement for suspended trainer Ciaron Maher, Aaron Purcell has been on a steep learning curve.

Accustomed to a team of 16 at his home base, Purcell is now in charge of 85 horses at Maher’s Caulfield stable as he continues with his own team.

Purcell officially took over on Tuesday and saddled the first of Maher’s team at Geelong on Wednesday.

He has further runners at Ballarat on Thursday, Hamilton and Moonee Valley on Friday and at the Turnbull Stakes meeting at Flemington on Saturday.

Besides one of his own from Warrnambool, Purcell has four of Maher’s team, including Bons Away who is shooting for five-straight victories in the Group Two Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.

After wins on country tracks in Victoria ranging from Sale to Seymour to Mildura, Bons Away stepped up to stakes grade defeating Everest contender Brave Smash at Caulfield on September 23.

Purcell got his first look at Bons Away on Saturday and more importantly liked the way he galloped on Tuesday morning.

“He looks a really healthy, athletic sort of horse,” Purcell said.

“After his gallop I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be able to hold his form.”

The float from Warrnambool will be bringing two mares for the Group Two Blazer Stakes (1400m).

Purcell has trained Written Era throughout her 15-start career while inheriting Schism from Maher.

Schism is stabled at Warrnambool with Mathew Williams and like Written Era enjoys the beach life.

Purcell’s other runners are Lady Bithiah in the Listed Maribyrnong Trial Stakes (1000m) and Rellson in the Listed Antler Luggage Stakes (1400m).

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