Litter brothers Especial Shiraz and Go Commando are making their mark in greyhound racing’s rich $410,000 Group 2 Launching Pad series, semi-finals of which will be held over 515 metres at Sandown Park tonight.
“When you breed a litter of pups you give up a lot of time and a lot of money, so to have pups involved in a series like the Launching Pad, where you get the best young greyhounds from all around Australia coming together, it’s a great feeling,” said breeder Peter Knott, who is based in Carnegie, right near Caulfield Racecourse.
The Launching Pad series is open to greyhounds that have had no more than 30 starts and won no more than six races.
Knott trains Especial Shiraz, who won a heat of the Launching Pad last week at the huge odds of $27.20, while Go Commando (trained by Jason Sharp) ran an impressive 2nd behind Australian Cup reserve Dyna Forrest in his heat, which was enough for him to also progress through to tonight’s semis.
“It was a great run by Go Commando. He was actually the fastest in the litter growing up,” Knott told Cam Luke on SEN’s The Sporting Capital on Tuesday night.
The first and second placegetters in tonight’s four semi-finals will qualify for next Thursday night’s $150,000 to-the-winner Launching Pad final, with Go Commando (Race 5 Box 2) and Especial Shiraz (Race 7 Box 5) both at huge odds of $19 and $23 respectively to win tonight with TAB fixed odds. Knott said he is ‘quietly confident’ about the prospects of his pair.
“You have to be in it to win it,” he said. “In this series, they’re all pretty even these young dogs, and both my greyhounds are very fast beginners and that’s what will put them in with a good chance. I’d suggest listeners have a little bit each way on them because they’re going to give you a good run for your money and they’re very hard chasers.”
Especial Shiraz and Go Commando are part of a seven-pup litter sired by Bombastic Shiraz out of Especially. Six of the seven have raced so far, with Mercedes Red winning at The Meadows yesterday, while Knott said the seventh pup, Antarctic Lass, is showing good potential and will make her debut at Geelong tomorrow night in Race 2 (box 6).
WATCH: Especial Shiraz (1) wins a heat of the Launching Pad paying $27.20.
WATCH: Go Commando (4) runs 2nd to Dyna Forrest in a Launching Pad heat.