When Major Jackpot steps out to race on Thursday night in the $150,000-to-the-winner Group 2 Launching Pad, he will be carrying the hope not only of connections but also some very lucky punters who took the $101 price offered by Sportsbet.com.au before the heats.
After breaking the Lismore 420m track record in late January, previously held by Paw Licking, the son of Smother Fancy and Teddy’s Jackpot moved south to join the Azzopardi kennel in the lead up to the Australian Cup carnival.
Having drawn box 4 in its Australian Cup preliminary at the Meadows, Major Jackpot was a significant firmer on fixed odds, jumping $3.80 after opening $7.50 earlier in the week. Unfortunately, despite jumping well, he wasn’t able to cross and ultimately finished down the track in seventh.
Despite this slight setback, punters were more than happy to take the $101 that was offered in the all-in betting for the Launching Pad.
With an improved second, running 29.97 after jumping from box 5 and finishing just over three lengths behind Dream Edition, Major Jackpot progressed through the heat while showing enough to dismiss any concerns over his ability to stick for the full 515m trip.
Boasting an impressive record of three wins and two minor placings from five starts when starting from the inside three boxes, connections and punters alike would no doubt have been excited when the brother of Group-1-winner Cash In Motion drew box 2 in his semi-final.
With said excitement taking the form of fixed odds fluctuations of $8 into $4.80 at the jump, he did not disappoint. With a flying first split of 4.97, 18.41 to the second post, and 10.71 run home, the nearest rival was left almost eight lengths back as the clock stopped at a staggering 29.12. Not only was this the fastest of the four semi-finals but it was also the second fastest time recorded at Sandown this calendar year behind Dundee Osprey who ran 29.11 in February (Unlawful Entry would go on to better both when breaking the track record just six races later in 29.85 however).
Significantly, such a run not only books the Queensland bred dog a spot in the final but it also all but guarantees him a start in the $60,000 Speed Star to be run on May 5.
The young chaser, who until a handful of starts ago was still racing up the straight track at Capalaba, now sits clear favourite at $1.70 to win his maiden Group race and grant the wishes of those who took the $101 just two weeks ago.