Launching Pad Semis - What to expect

The Launching Pad is renowned as a series where future stars of the sport kick start their careers.

Launching Pad semi finals
Launching Pad semi finals Picture: GRV

Last year's class produced four Group 1 winners (Hector Fawley, Transponder, Aussie Rocks and Launch Code) plus two a part of the sub-29 second club (Big Energy and Extreme Force).

This edition doesn't look to be any different, not only should we focus on the top performed heat winners but also some of the beaten brigade who set impressive numbers.

As we build towards Thursday night's semi-finals here's some detail around what we should expect tonight based on last week's heats.

Launching Pad Semi-Final 1

Lakeview Emily (1) set the overall fastest time of the night despite never being the quickest through a particular section – her weapon is her ability to put together a consistent 515m. She was the first to reach the 200m mark (11.61 seconds) but was only the fourth fastest speed-wise (66.6kph) at that marker.

Zipping Gryllis' (4) acceleration was superb, the fastest of the night between 20-50m and as well was very comparable to Lakeview Emily between 50-200m. Lakeview Emily will have the edge on him late so if he lets her get away it's game over.

At her first crack over '500' metres Paying Dividends (6) had the 3rd best run home (10.48) of last week's meeting.


Launching Pad Semi-Final 2

Canya Exceed (1) was beaten by better ones on the night. His numbers weren't too bad particularly between 300-400m, but was impacted by the speed of Zipping Gryllis and strength of Mepunga Reward.

Humidity (2) will have an impact on the race early. He was 3rd fastest to 20m last week and 1st between 50-100m, he was checked after that and on the back foot from there.

What Zipping Hopkins (8) will we get tonight? His first split last week was a fast 5.09, prior to that he averaged a dreadful 5.44. His overall performance was outstanding, especially between 100-300m (2nd). The draw is bad for him, but we can't question the way he's going.


Launching Pad Semi-Final 3

On High Alert (7) was brilliant in his heat – his first race at the big smoke and probably produced the best performance of the night. He carried the fastest speed of the meeting at 100m, 200m and 300m – what makes it more impressive is that he was 1.5m off the rail working hard around Zipping Hopkins. Given his acceptance to race wide box 7 may not be the worst.

Mepunga Reward (1) arguably carries the biggest reputation of the series. Firstly he was poor to begin last week so needs to tidy that up, but his closing stages were great as expected. He set the 2nd fastest time between 300-400m and had the fastest average speed of the meeting at 62.84kph. To his benefit Voss Ali (2) has no early pace.


Launching Pad Semi-Final 4

Peaky Boo (2) had the 7th best average speed last week, aside from that had no impact at the top end of sectionals, it was just a good all round performance.

Ethanol Volume (1), he's a machine. He was the best part of 15 lengths (0.9sec) off the lead 300m into the race, he then let rip with a run home of 10.34 (1st) and last 100m of 5.78 (1st) while 2m off the rail – huge. If he's in contention mid-race, watch out.

Misses Easy's (4) time to 20m was the best of the meeting and she should spear straight to the front again tonight. Peaky Joe (7) is another, he was top 3 to 20m, 50m, 100m and 200m.


Tale of the tape

The top two from each semi-final will advance to next Thursday's final of the $530,000 Launching Pad series. Greyhounds who finish 3rd and 4th will line up in the Launching Pad consolation.

We also see three heats of the Runway races 2-4, the consolation series for those who missed out on semi-finals, where the top two and two fastest 3rd's will progress to the Runway final.