Anthony Azzopardi is set for a big payday if his exciting pup Seal The Deal can salute in the final of the Launching Pad, and it’s not just in the form of the $150,000 winners cheque.
Entering the Launching Pad series with four wins from six starts Seal The Deal was the big mover in the all-in market, his price being slashed from $26 to $12 soon after the market was released.
“Yeah we backed him,” Azzopardi said.
“I thought $26 was way over the odds but that’s good for us. He’s got a long way to go yet but we’re pretty happy with the $26.”
Seal The Deal justified the kennel’s confidence with a brilliant victory on his Sandown Park debut when overcoming box 6 to win his Launching Pad heat by a length in 29.55. While the financial rewards through the $432,000 series are obvious, the real rewards run deeper than a booming account balance.
Owned and bred by Azzopardi’s partner Kylee Osborne, Seal The Deal is one of the first pups sired by Azzopardi’s dual group 1 winner Zambora Brockie to hit the track. Osborne also raced his dam (Anastasia), so there is a strong family connection with the pup, and the pride with which Azzopardi speaks about the achievements of Seal The Deal is obvious.
“He is a nice pup. He didn’t have the greatest draw tonight but he handled the draw to perfection and I couldn’t be any happier. It’s a great feeling to know that you can breed a dog of this calibre, it’s pretty special really.”
Seal The Deal justifies connections confidence with an impressive victory
While Seal The Deal was impressive, kennelmate Dolly Mac was equally so.
Dolly Mac burst onto the racing scene in October last year, winning her first five starts before suffering an injury in December. After several setbacks, Azzopardi decided to aim for the sweepstakes event and was rewarded with a 29.68 win in her heat.
“It’s been bit of a task, we’ve had to be patient and put in a lot of hard work. With her preparation, we couldn’t afford for anything to go wrong so we had to be on top of everything. For her to win tonight, for the owner, for us, and for her is a big thrill,” he continued.
“It’s a credit to her because she stepped out first up in one of the hardest heats. She did everything right, she came out at box rise and got a hit but found the fence and pushed through and kept going.”
Azzopardi expects her to improve with continued racing, and ominously, believes she has the ability to be one of the country’s premier chasers.
“It was her first 500 (since her injury), so she’ll find a few lengths.
“I’ve got a big opinion of her. She’s definitely not at her best yet but she’s working her way back to her best. I’ve got no doubt she’ll run 29.20 on her night but she’ll have to find the lead. I’m not saying she’ll do it next week, but when she gets to her best that’s what she could do.”
Embossed rounds out Azzopardi’s three pronged attack on the Launching Pad semi finals after scrapping through to the semis after running fourth in his heat.
Dolly Mac returns a winner after three months on the sidelines
The Launching Pad is Australia’s only sweepstakes event, with 64 positions in the heats available for $2000 per spot. It is open to greyhound with 1-6 wins and no more than 30 starts attracting some of the country’s most exciting prospects.
The semi-finals will be run on Thursday night with the final will be run on Thursday 18 April.