Trainer Aaron Purcell will soon be back at Warrnambool full-time but is keeping his options open for the future.
Purcell stepped in to take over Ciaron Maher’s large team of horses and staff at Caulfield when Maher was suspended for six months last spring.
He has continued to operate his Warrnambool stable with Maher to return to Caulfield early next month.
“Obviously he will reinhabit his stables. I’ve obviously got a stable at Warrnambool which will become my focus again and then I’ll just see what opportunities arise,” Purcell said.
“As far as Caulfield goes, I hadn’t really made any plans there.
“It was a six-month thing and I thought when I get home I’ll just take care of my horses. The May carnival at Warrnambool is coming up pretty soon after that so that’s going to be a short-term focus.”
But Purcell said opening a city stable is something he would definitely look into.
“If it happens or not, that’s a different thing,” he said.
“I probably really should have made a better succession plan for this time, but I’d been so busy, and I guess a little bit fatigued from the whole thing, the last thing you feel like doing is make more work for yourself.
“I thought I’d just let this work itself out and then see what comes after that.”
Purcell said his number of horses in training at Warrnambool was usually around 24 but he had bought more yearlings than usual this year.
“More people know who I am now,” he said.
“And some people who had an opinion of me one way or another hopefully have a better opinion of me now and hopefully trust me with a better level of animal.”
He said there had been a lot of pros and cons with the job he took on.
“More pros than cons,” he said.
“I had a fair idea what was going to happen and most things have happened as I thought.
“I’ve probably enjoyed working with the staff better than I thought I would.
“We were hoping we’d get a certain level of winners and I think we’ve probably over-achieved.
“I’ve probably slept less than I thought I would. I’ve driven more than I thought I would.
“But when you’re going to see good runners and spend time with good owners it’s a lot easier than driving to watch a horse make up the numbers, I suppose.”
Aloisia and Merchant Navy won at Group One level in the spring and Purcell has chances to add to the tally in the next fortnight before Maher’s return.
Bons Away (William Reid Stakes), Villermont (Rosehill Guineas) and Lady Esprit (Galaxy) are scheduled to contest Group One races this week while Aloisia is on target for the Vinery Stud Stakes on March 31.