CRUISING DEBBIE with trainer Brendan Pursell after lifting-off to G3 Launching Pad glory. 📷 Clint Anderson

  • Friday, 29 Mar, 2024,
  • by Peter Quilty

‘Cruising’ control!

Rising star Cruising Debbie spiralled into the sport’s stratosphere with a rocket-like victory in the $220,000 Group 3 Launching Pad final (515m) at Sandown Park on Saturday night.

It was lift-off to a $150,000 first prize for her Lara trainer, Brendan Pursell.

Exploding from the ‘blue’ trap, Cruising Debbie ($20.30) led for almost the entire journey in defeating SA’s Peaky Boo ($4.80) by 1.46L, with On High Alert ($12.30) a further 0.15L away third in 29.51sec.

“I wasn’t overly confident, but I also wasn’t shocked with the win… Her early pace won her the race.”

Cruising Debbie (Dec ’21 Mepunga Cruzer x Mepunga Debbie) notched her eighth win from 22 starts, and third win from four starts at SP. Her stakes catapulted to $197,440.

She is bred and owned by Nullawarre greyhound racing stalwarts Joy and Ashley McDowall.

An elated Pursell was on ‘cloud nine’ after the event.

WATCH: Trainer Brendan Pursell on the remarkable turnaround by CRUISING DEBBIE which led to her first group race win.

“I wasn’t overly confident, but I also wasn’t shocked with the win… Her early pace won her the race.

“She’s a very reliable beginner, but that (around 29.50sec) is about all she can run.

“However, she tries her butt off and sometimes that’s all you have to do in these types of races. But it (Launching Pad) is a hard race to win given the nature of its format.

“We may now have a crack at the Geelong Cup as it’s staged on the inside track, which is a leader’s track.”

Pursell also scored a double courtesy of Duckworth ($3.30F) claiming a Mixed 6/7 (515m) in 29.59sec.

WATCH: “Debbie kicks… Debbie won.” Cruising Debbie (B4) skyrockets to stardom in the Launching Pad final.

Other highlights on a star-studded program were:

Correy Grenfell quinellaed the $42,875 G3 Easter Gift (515m) with Orli Bale ($9.90) and Ike Bale ($16.80) in 29.45sec. First prize: $28,000.

Meanwhile, Tom Dailly quinellaed the $36,500 Launching Pad Consolation (515m) with Ethanol Volume ($4.50) and Zelda Chaos ($3.40F) in 29.61sec. First prize: $25,000.

And Dailly, who landed three winners on the program, also snared the $22,000 Launching Pad Runway final (515m) with Oregon Durant ($15.70) in 29.66sec. First prize: $15,000.

Peter QuiltyPeter Quilty

Peter Quilty

Peter Quilty has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.

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