Momentum building for Launching Pad series

As the race towards next month’s $460,000 Launching Pad series heats up, slots are selling quick and contenders were staking their claims on Thursday night at Sandown Park.

Up-and-coming star McKeon Bale put everyone on notice with a fast victory in Race 2 for the Gibbons family. She speared out from box two and scored her third win from five starts in a best-of-night 29.39.

Trainers Rebecca and Daniel Gibbons have one of the most promising kennels the sport has to offer and with two slots for the Launching Pad series, it won’t be easy to choose representatives.

Just four slots remain for the series which is shaping up to be one to remember.

“We’re likely to see all slots taken up a month out from the heats which is pleasing,” said Sandown Racing Coordinator Jason Adams.

“History says there’s going to be people who have been slow to make their mind up or have a greyhound emerge that will be chasing a slot.”

Launching Pad conditions require greyhounds to have no more than six wins and with many young stars bordering on eligibility, it brings about tough choices for many trainers across the state.

“Paul Bartolo is torn on which way to go with Storm Stroller, he’s had six wins and flying at the moment. Does he stop racing until Launching Pad heats or race on and target other series’ – it’s a pretty big decision he’s got to make,”

“There’s a heap of fast young greyhounds around. Staying eligible can be a tricky situation for trainers.”

Champion trainer Jackie Greenough holds four slots and looks to be the major player of the tournament with TAB Phoenix winner Wow She’s Fast primed to set the series alight, along with rising stars Levitation and She’s Refined.

Likewise, Jamie and Brooke Ennis will be rubbing their hands together after Amron Boy’s lightning debut win at Sandown Park on Sunday.

He looks to be a serious prospect and will have gained experienced while remaining eligible come late March.

Launching Pad festivities begin on March 10 with a qualifying series being run at Angle Park.

“We’re thankful of Greyhound Racing South Australia’s on-going support of the Launching Pad,”

“We’ll also be running our own Launching Pad qualifier series with the winner gaining a slot, those heats are on Sunday March 20.”

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McKeon Bale (2) scores in a best-of-night 29.39.