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McInerney’s Million Dollar mission

Brendan Pursell is optimistic McInerney can create history in Saturday night’s Million Dollar Chase Final (520m) at Wentworth Park and become the first Victorian sprinter to win the world’s richest greyhound race.

Since the MDC was first held in 2018, all four previous winners have been trained in NSW, with Shima Shine’s second place in 2019 the best Victorian result.

Lara-based Pursell is leaving no stone unturned in his MDC quest, revealing his son Blake, who trained McInerney during a successful stint in Tasmania, will travel to Sydney to handle the widely travelled sprinter.

“We’re not going up there to make up the numbers.”

“He can be a bit tardy, so Blake is coming over to box him on Saturday night because he reckons he jumps better for him!” Pursell said.

McInerney has drawn Box 1 for the MDC (Race 10 at 10.30pm).

The superbly bred son of Ferdinand Bale and Group 1 winner Born Ali is rated a $6 chance to claim the life-altering $1 million winner’s purse for Pursell and Warrnambool owner/breeder Noel Mugavin, who sadly lost his sister, G1-winning trainer Mary Mugavin-Brown, earlier this month.

“We all know it’s a lot of money, but I’m trying to treat it like any other race,” Pursell said.

“You can’t count your chickens before they hatch. You’ve got to win it first and I’m definitely going there to win it.

“I think he’s got a good chance. I’m not saying he’s a moral or anything like that, but we’re not going up there to make up the numbers.”

McInerney, which will be ‘one out’ against the locals as he strives to become the first interstate MDC winner, has impressed in three starts at Wentworth Park.

He ran a close third in the G1 National Sprint Championship as the Tasmanian representative, beaten only a length, was second in an MDC City Qualifier and then opened his account with a slick 29.68sec semi-final victory last Friday.

While McInerney races off the rails, Pursell was by no means perturbed about drawing Box 1.

“He seems to like Wentworth Park, all his runs there have been super, and you’d have to be silly to say you’re not happy with Box 1 in a race like this,” Pursell said.

“If it wasn’t for a few antics in his racing pattern, he’d be a super dog.

“It all depends on the start. ‘The two’ (He’s On Fire) looks like the leader. It gets off a bit and my bloke does too. McInerney has stayed down when something is on his outside, so hopefully he does that.

“I’d like to be sitting behind He’s On Fire. I think I could run it down.”

McInerney has spent his career alternating between Victoria and Tasmania, winning 21 of his 52 starts, including six of his past eight.

“He’s originally from Victoria, he had a few starts here and then we sent him over to Tasmania to try and get a bit of confidence and learn how to race better,” Pursell explained.

“He went over there and won 13 races from not many starts and we decided to bring him back to Victoria and see how he goes.”

COVID had a negative impact on former Tasmanian Pursell’s biggest win to date, the 2020 Group 1 Sandown Cup with Bronski Beat, where first-place prizemoney was reduced to $50,000.

However, it could work in his favour on this occasion, with Greyhound Racing NSW electing to run two MDC events this year (the first was won by She’s A Pearl in May) after COVID prevented the race being held in 2021.

The content on this page was accurate at the time of publishing. If you notice any inaccurate content on this page or anywhere on the website, please report it here

About Gerard Guthrie - One of Australia's leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)
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