News Article

Pursell makes a statement with St Leger win

30 / 09 / 2011 Article by: Editor
Lika Whisper holds out Rob Pines to win the St Leger final
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NOVICE trainer Brendan Pursell looks set for a bright future in the industry given the success that has come his way in the first three months of his training career.

In Hobart last Thursday night his lightly raced dog Lika Whisper scored a game win in the final of the M A Morgan St Leger over 461 metres at Tattersall’s Park.

The dog began brilliantly from box seven and eventually crossed to the fence nearing the top turn.

The son of Solve The Puzzle extended his lead turning for home and then had enough in reserve to hold out the fast-finishing Rob Pines that rattled home along the rails to fail by nose.

Lika Whisper made his way into the final with a sensational heat win in which he led throughout to score by over three lengths in quick time.

While his wining margin in the final was the narrowest possible it was still a powerful victory as he did all the bullocking work in front and was there to be beaten at the business end of proceedings.

The dog has had only four starts in Tasmania for three wins and a second with this latest win taking his stake earnings to almost $8000.

Pursell has only been training greyhounds for just under three months and already has amassed five wins with his kennel of two that consists of Lika Whisper and Cash Lyrics.

“I’ve had an amazing start to my greyhound training career but there’s no doubt I’ve been lucky to get two handy dogs first-up,” Pursell said.

“I’ve spent most of my life with pacers but about two years ago I wanted a change so I just packed it in (harness training).”

“One of my owners wanted to get out of horses so we started up a car wash business and that got to a stage where it pretty much runs on its own.”

“I had more spare time on my hands so I decided to give greyhound training a go.”

“I’ve always had an interest in greyhounds and I was lucky to have some good people around me who were willing to help me learn, in particular Rod Ransley,” he said.

Pursell spent nearly 25 years in the harness racing industry, firstly in his home state of Tasmania where he worked with horses for three years before moving to Victoria aged 16.

“I was 13 when I went to work for Ian Thallan before working with Maurice Keating and I finally ended up at Wayne Rattray’s.”

“My big chance came when Victorian trainer John McLean asked me to go and work for him and I was four years with him before spending a year with Gavin Lang.”

“I went out on my own when I was 21 and set up stables at a few places before making the big move back to Tassie in 2003,” he said.

Pursell says the transition from harness to greyhounds has been easier than he expected.

“I have always been a quick learner but I thought it would take a lot longer to get into the swing of things.”

“I’ve made a few mistakes along the way and I’m sure I’ll make some more but overall I’m happy with how things have progressed,” he said.

The Pursell’s are big on family values and Brendan says greyhound training has been just as good for their son Blake.

“Blake used to help me with the horses but it got a bit daunting for him at times and he’d lose interest but the greyhounds are a different story.”

“Blake gets really involved with walking and feeding the dogs as well as taking an interest in my training methods.”

“When we got the two dogs in the kennel Blake decided that Lika Whisper was his favourite so he helps with the training of that dog and it gives him a keen interest,” he said.

Pursell says a lot of the methodology he applied to harness training he also uses on greyhounds.

“The key to successful horse training is looking after a horse’s well being and identifying each horse’s idiosyncrasies so that you can apply suitable training technique.”

“It is the same for greyhounds but the big difference between the two is that you know a lot sooner if a dog is going to make it to the race track and it’s also a lot cheaper to get to that stage,” he said.

Pursell said he intends to expand the size of his team to up to six kennel tenants.

“We’ve decided to build some new kennels but I reckon I’ll never have any more than six at one time.”

“That number would be manageable as a hobby trainer and that’s all I want to be,” he said.