Two Hats lands feature Warrnambool hurdle

Craig Brennan

Trainer Aaron Purcell has slipped back into life in his home town of Warrnambool claiming one of the features of the three-day carnival, the Galleywood Hurdle.

Two Hats gave a dashing display to claim Wednesday's feature, giving Purcell his first win in the race.

Purcell spent six months in charge of Ciaron Maher's Caulfield stable after he was suspended before last year's spring carnival, landing two Group One victories.

After Maher resumed training at the start of April, Purcell headed home and set about preparing his team for the May carnival.

He secured victory with Von Mystic in an earlier maiden on Wednesday before Two Hats' win under Braidon Small.

"Leading into May is a hectic time especially after the last six months," Purcell said.

"There was a lot of things I needed to get sorted when I got back, so I've been very busy.

"This week has been a focus and then next week it will be back to a routine as usual."

Sent out a $4.60 chance, Two Hats beat Honey Steel's Gold ($7) by 3-1/4 lengths with Ancient King ($3.40) 1-1/2 lengths away third.

Two Hats fell at his most recent outing at Pakenham which surprised Maher.

"He's usually a very safe jumper, very economical but he overestimated his ability, clipped the top of one and came down," Purcell said.

Two Hats gave a faultless display on Wednesday and is likely to be aimed at the Australian Hurdle at Sandown on May 26.

"There's seven or eight feature races through the year," Purcell said.

"The Australian Hurdle is the next one, so we'll aim at that provided he pulls up well.

"Today was the focus. He handles wet and dry so as long as he's well he'll be hard to beat in whatever he runs in.

"It's a hard race to win and you need a good horse on the flat but one that can jump."

The win of Two Hats was Purcell's second feature win at the May carnival having won the 2008 Grand Annual Steeplechase with Ginolad.

Purcell will be out improve his record when he saddles Swacadelic in Thursday's Warrnambool Cup.