"Confident" McInerney Ready For Group 1 Test

RENEWED confidence was the key to McInerney’s return to Victoria and has earned him a crack at the Harrison-Dawson heats on Friday.

Mick Floyd

13 May 2022

RENEWED confidence was the key to McInerney’s return to Victoria and has earned him a crack at the Harrison-Dawson heats at Sandown Park on Friday night.

The son of Fernando Bale and top-grade stayer Born Ali began his career in the Lara kennels of Tim Britton, but after just four wins from his first 20 starts he was sent to Blake Pursell in Tasmania in an attempt to spark his career.

He won his first race on the Apple Isle at his fourth attempt before winning 10 of his next 13 – five of the last six in best of night time – to earn a ticket back to the mainland.

FIELDS AND FORM SANDOWN PARK FRIDAY NIGHT

“He always trialled fast but just lacked a little bit of pace early,” said Brendan Pursell, Blake’s father and McInerney’s caretaker during his Victorian campaign.

“When you race at Sandown on a Thursday night, you have six in the race that go well and are used to racing tough and hard. When you go to Tassie and you’ve really only got one to beat – it’s just a totally different class. If you have a dog with a little bit of ability, he overcomes (any problems) and thinks he’s King Kong.

“We’ve done it with a lot of dogs – sent them over (to Tasmania) to get a bit of confidence – and he’s done that. He settled right down and he’s matured a lot.”

That confidence was on full display at Sandown Park last week, winning in a slick 29.24 to cement his place in the Harrison-Dawson heats.

Despite the renewed confidence, Pursell was cautious about his chances against some of the best male sprinters in Victoria.

“He needs that little bit of luck early because really, he’s only a 5.15 dog at Sandown.

“Once he hits the ground and gets going then he’s very fast, but he’d have to get the start 100%. There’s fast dogs on the outside that are going to be crashing down straight away and as soon as he steps he heads to the middle of the track and that’s his downside.

“He can run – he showed that with the time he ran last week – but it’s all about the start. If he did what he did last week it’ll be hard for them to run him down, but it is all about the start. On ability he has a chance, it’s just a matter of getting the start right.”

McInerney is rated a $4.40 chance with TAB to win his heat, and is $21 to win the final in the all-in market.

The Harrison-Dawson is open to male greyhounds and is run in conjunction with the group 1 Sapphire Crown, the heats of which will also be run on Friday night.

The winners of the five heats of each series plus the three fastest runners up will progress to the $100,000 winner finals to be run on Thursday 19 May, along with the final of the Sandown Cup over 715m.

The first heat of the Harrison-Dawson will be jump at 7.49pm.