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Aaron Purcell has one more city meeting remaining before he hands back the reins

Trainer Aaron Purcell has one more city meeting remaining before he hands back the reins to Ciaron Maher.

Purcell stepped up to help out his mate when Maher was suspended for six months following an inquiry into the ownership bona fides of Group One winning mare Azkadellia and four other horses.

Warrnambool-based Purcell took over last October, capturing two Group One wins along with numerous city and provincial victories.

He produced Aloisia to finish third in the Group One Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday along with four unplaced runners at Caulfield.

Of that quartet, only one, Written Era, will remain in his care when Maher officially returns on Tuesday.

Office staff at the Caulfield stables will be busy in the coming days transferring runners from Purcell’s to Maher’s name, while Purcell has said the actual training side will be an easy transition.

Purcell has two runners at the Sandown meeting on Monday before he returns home to Warrnambool.

He will saddle last-start Kyneton maiden winner Zedda in the Dream Thoroughbreds Handicap and Zolani, who is resuming, in the Sheen Group Handicap.

Both are considered in contention if early markets are a guide with Zedda a $12 chance under Ben Thompson and Zolani, to be ridden by Luke Nolen, fourth favourite at $8.

Purcell described Zedda as an interesting horse who doesn’t show a lot on the training track.

After an average trial, Zedda ran second as a $51 chance on debut at Wangaratta before winning at Kyneton.

“She’s a well-bred filly and she gallops OK,” Purcell said.

“She had a couple of trials but didn’t show a lot but then her attitude changed on race day.

“I think she might be a race day horse and looks like she’s in a suitable race.”

Purcell has a bit of time for Zolani who hasn’t raced since July last year.

A winner of three of her nine starts, Zolani was last successful at Pakenham last June.

“She’s a pretty decent sort of mare,” Purcell said.

“She trialled up well recently and off the back of that is going to run pretty well.”

 
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