Best Of The Best Set For Launching Pad Onslaught

A three-week series presents its own challenges and opportunities so we look at the winners and losers ahead of Thursday's Launching Pad semis.

Mick Floyd

6 April 2022

A three-week series presents its own challenges. And opportunities.

And that is especially so in a series such as the Launching Pad, which brings together some of the country’s best young sprinters (with between 1-6 wins) in a $460,000 series over three weeks at Sandown Park.

FIELDS AND FORM SANDOWN PARK THURSDAY

The first week – heats week – is a chance for many greyhounds to have their first start at the track with a first four finish in order to progress the aim. Survive and advance as they say.

Week two – semi-final week – becomes more cutthroat with just the first two progressing to the $150,000 to the winner final. And with a week’s racing at the same track against many of the same runners under their belts, form lines also become much clearer

As always, box draws have a big say in the fate of many chances, so as we head towards the semi-finals of the Launching Pad this Thursday evening, here’s a look at five of the big winners from the semi-final box draws.

Amron Boy (race 6, box 2)

Opened: $4.40

Now: $4

Semi-final price: $1.95

He may have suffered the first defeat of his career in last week’s heats, but Amron Boy would have lost no admirers with his performance. Mis-timing the start and finding trouble throughout, Amron Boy showed tremendous determination to work his way through the field (and interference) to finish second. Much better drawn this week, he looks a lock to run in the first two and progress to the final and is the obvious threat to series favourite Wow She’s Fast.

Plaintiff (race 8, box 5)

Opened: $101

Now: $16

Semi-final price: $3.40

It was extraordinary really that Plaintiff, a greyhound that entered the series with a 3-2-0 record from five starts – including a win at group 3 level – and trained by one of the leading kennels in the country could enter a series for win-restricted dogs at $101. Even more extraordinary was that he paid $8.20 for his heat win.

While he has box 5 in his semi-final, he has drawn a race with little early speed – Plaintiff’s strongest trait. He may not have quite enough pace to cross Amlin Emperor at the first mark, but should hold She’s Refined out wide and has the scope to continue to improve.

Paua Of Mindy (race 7, box 2)

Opened: $101

Now: $31

Semi-final price: $7.50

Steve White knows how to get them right for a Launching Pad – between he and wife Kerrie they’ve won the race twice. With 18 starts to her name Paua Of Mindy is one of the more experienced greyhounds remaining in the series and should continue to improve as she lines up for her fifth start over the 515m.

While placed just once in her previous four attempts over the trip, this is the closest she has ever drawn to fence which will help bring her out quicker and show the speed that has already netted her five Best of Night wins.

Here Comes Pie (race 5, box 1)

Opened: $101

Now: $21

Semi-final price: $8

While he has a 29.25 fastest time on the track – only four others in the series have gone faster – Here Comes Pie is probably running for second behind Wow She’s Fast in the opening semi-final. A second placing is enough to progress to the final however and from box 1, he can begin well enough to hold the rail through the first turn and is strong enough to hold off his challengers at the end.

Not all greyhounds were winners in the semi-final box draw however. Here’s three greyhounds whose task just got that much harder.

West On Finn (race 6, box 6)

Opened: $9

Now: $31

Semi-final price: $8.50

A drifting favourite in his heat, West On Finn showed real tenacity to win on his Sandown Park debut. That was from box 2 however – box 6 here is particularly sticky. Not only is Amron Boy drawn ideally in box 2, there is plenty of pace among the inside half of the field making it a particularly difficult map for the Western Australian.

Wynburn Ruby (race 5, box 8)

Opened: $51

Now: $71

Semi-final price: $7

A gutsy effort to qualify from last week heats, the star Tasmanian couldn’t have landed a worse draw in his semi-final. Not only does she have series favourite Wow She’s Fast to contend with, she has a wide running immediately on his inside making Wynburn Ruby’s task particularly difficult.

She’s Refined (race 8, box 7)

Opened: $18

Now: $12

Semi-final price: $3.50

While the market doesn’t reflect it, this is a really tough ask She’s Refined. She’s incredibly talented as her five wins at Sandown show, but she was unable to get across from box 6 in her heat and will be even harder from box 7 here.

The first semi-final of the Launching Pad will jump at 7.34pm on Thursday evening.