Taking full advantage of being given plenty of room to muster pace from box 2, Hannie Bale powered through the first turn to lead the field, going on to defeat Aston Carmelita by 6.25 in a slick 29.32 seconds.
The win was the fifth of Hannie Bale’s blossoming career, and her chances of claiming the $25,000 first prize for the final improved sharply when she drew the cherished box 1.
Hannie Bale headlines a three pronged attack on next week’s final by leading trainer Andrea Dailly, with Chris Bale winning his heat in 29.34 seconds, while Garett Bale secured his place in the final by virtue of being the fastest runner up.
Emilio Rinaldi, who remarkably has had 26 wins from his past 70 starters at Sandown Park, trained a winning double to give him two chances to claim his first Group race win. Impressive youngster Five Paws recorded his third consecutive win at Sandown Park, stopping the clock in 29.54 seconds, while earlier in the night, Kansas Turnpike saluted in 29.71 seconds.
Spiral Ballerina, who defeated Kansas Turnpike at her previous start, over came box 7 in her heat to salute in an impressive 29.34 seconds. The win was her fourth from six starts at Sandown Park for Cranbourne mentor Jim Redenbach, but will have to overcome the awkward box five in the final.
Mepunga Melachi won the night’s opening heat in 29.70 seconds, while Went Wooshka won in the same time and caused the biggest upset of the heats, paying $10.50 for the win.
Restricted to greyhounds with 1-5 wins and less than 30 starts, the Launching Pad has established itself as a showcase for some of the best young greyhounds in the country, and includes greyhounds such as Bounty Lass, Traction Control and Path To Power on its honour roll.
The final of the $36,000 Group 3 Launching Pad will be run on Thursday 22 March. Gates open at 6.00pm and entry is free.
Earlier in the night, Vox Pop won the inaugural Judy Hayley Memorial, storming home to defeat Nobody’s Prince in the final bound.
After running second in his heat last week, the Lyn Smith trained son of Bombastic Shiraz claimed the biggest win of his 19 race career, much to the delight of the large contingent of owners track side.
Named in honour of 2001 Melbourne Cup winning trainer Judy Hayley, the series is restricted to Lady Trainers only and is set to become a highlight of the Sandown feature race calendar.