Pursell Sweet For Cranbourne Classic 

Brendan Pursell is optimistic Sweet As Emm will develop into a top stayer; however he’s confident the youngster will make her presence felt in Friday’s Cranbourne Classic.

Gerard Guthrie

14 August 2019

Brendan Pursell is optimistic Sweet As Emm will develop into a top class stayer; however he’s confident the versatile youngster will make her presence felt in Friday’s heats of the Group 3 Cranbourne Classic (520m).

Sweet As Emm, a superbly-bred daughter of Group 1-winning parents My Bro Fabio and Born Ali, is one of the most experienced Classic contenders, boasting 10 wins from her 24 starts, including city successes in sprint, middle and staying distances.

She’s appeared in two feature finals, running third in the Group 2 McKenna Memorial (595m) last month and fifth in the Group 2 Laurels (515m) last December, both races at Sandown Park.

At her most recent appearance, Sweet As Emm ran sixth to recently retired superstar Orson Allen in a Victorian National Sprint Championship heat, but Lara trainer Brendan Pursell believes she’ll find the Cranbourne Classic heats more to her liking.

Pursell is taking aim at back-to-back victories in the $25,000 to-the-winner feature, having co-trained 2018 winner Slingshot Hammer with Robert Britton.

“It’s an age race and the cut-off date is the 1st of March and she was born on the 1st of March so it’s perfect for her,” Pursell said.

“She’s pretty seasoned, when you look at the dogs she’s been racing against compared to the younger pups at Cranbourne.”

Sweet As Emm has drawn box three in the first of three heats, where she’s the $3.20 second elect with TAB behind Jeff Britton’s $2.60 favourite Weblec Ace, which started favourite in the Group 3 Warragul St Leger last Saturday, when sixth to kennelmate Mepunga Daniel.

“She hasn’t been to Cranbourne before – we were planning to trial her on Monday but it didn’t work out – but I think the track should suit her and it’s only a field of seven, which will help too,” Pursell offered.

“I’m happy with the draw. The two (Black Signature) and the one (Mepunga Maggie) get out alright so hopefully one of them can hold Weblec Ace (box 4) out. He’s the one to beat.

“Sweet As Emm is slow out, goes to the fence and hugs the rail so I’m hoping she’ll drop in behind them and then rail up underneath them.

“It’s not going to be easy because Jeff (Britton) and Angela (Langton) have some good dogs in the race but if she’s close enough she’ll acquit herself well.

“With early luck she should probably win but your heart is always in your mouth with her.”

Pursell had high hopes for Sweet As Emm as a stayer and while he admits to being disappointed with her two 715m assignments at Sandown back in February, including a 42.12s win, he’s keen to step her up again but not just yet.

“We’ll stick to 500m for the next couple of months,” Pursell said.

“She’s good enough to win a good sprint race; she just needs things to go her way early.

“For the last 400m she’s good enough to beat most dogs, she just needs some luck in the first 100m.”

Pursell also has a Classic ‘second stringer’ in Saint Destructor, which is an $19 TAB outsider from box eight in the second heat where three Warragul St Leger finalists Get It Gizmo ($2.70), Weblec Jack ($3) and winner Mepunga Daniel ($4.20) dominate the market.

“He’s nowhere near as good as Sweet As Emm, of course, but he’s had no luck at all in his last three or four runs,” Pursell said.

“It’s probably the hardest heat, up against Get It Gizmo and those dogs, but the dog is still going good and the outside will suit him.”

Jeff Britton will also have a very strong hand in the third and final heat in Group 1 finalists, Mister Harlewood, the $1.75 favourite, and $5.50 chance Spearhead.