Lara trainer Brendan Pursell woke up ‘feeling a million dollars’ this morning – literally!
And for that, he can thank greyhound racing’s latest ‘instant millionaire’ – McInerney.
The highly underrated speedster won the sport’s biggest ‘lottery’ – Million Dollar Chase final (520m) – at Wentworth Park in Sydney last night.
He’s the first Victorian to win a MDC since its inception in 2018. (Compatriot Shima Shine was runner-up in 2019.)
“It probably hasn’t sunk in yet… I haven’t even had a chance to sit down and watch a replay.”
Commencing okay from box one, McInerney ($3.60F) was second and wide rounding the first turn but set sail for tearaway leader He’s On Fire ($13.00) down the back straight.
He reeled in the ‘pilot’ entering the home straight before staving off the fast-finishing Zipping Kyrgios ($3.80) by 0.25L in a thriller. He’s On Fire was a further 2L away third.
“Down the back, I was confident of him running down the ‘check’. But at the top of the straight, I was panicking about the ‘three’,” Pursell said.
“He’s been up there four times in the past five weeks, so it’s a credit to the dog. He’s a great traveller.
“The money is huge, but it’s not all about the money. I strive to have good dogs and the prestige of winning top races.
“It probably hasn’t sunk in yet… I haven’t even had a chance to sit down and watch a replay.
“I’m now hoping he may get an invite into the Topgun.”
McInerney ($3.60F) took out a mouth-watering $1 million purse in 29.50sec – around $33,900 per second. His stakes now total a staggering $1,111,770 – catapulting him to seventh on Australia’s top prizemoney earners list.
He’s won 22 races, with eight seconds and seven thirds, from 53 starts. And, in late August, he finished third in the G1 National Sprint Championship – also at Wentworth Park.
Pursell’s son, Blake, who is based In Tasmania, deputised as handler of McInerney for the MDC final. (McInerney was the Tassie representative in the NSC under Blake’s guidance.)
McInerney’s victory was also a fillip for Warrnambool owner-breeder Noel Mugavin, who has been riding an emotional rollercoaster.
Mugavin sadly lost his sister, Mary Mugavin-Brown, earlier this month. Mary, mother of Brisbane Lions legend Johnathan Brown, trained 2002 G1 Paws Of Thunder winner Modern Assassin.
“Noel is a terrific person and loves the sport – that’s all he talks about,” Pursell said.
“He’s had a bad time and hopefully this win will help him along a bit.”
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