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Kline very Keen on potential star

By Isaac Murphy

They weren’t setting the track on fire last Saturday night at the Ipswich Showgrounds, and while no-one broke the clock on the damp surface, Brent Kline’s first starter Keen produced the run of the night - going 30.95 seconds in a dominant 500-metre debut win.

The dog had been trialling the house down for Kline, who was doing his best to push back his first start until he was a little older but Keen said otherwise.

“He’s only 17-months-old but I just couldn’t hold him back any longer, he wanted and was ready to race and that was reflected in what he went out there and did last Saturday night,” Kline said.

“You look at the time (30.95) and the margin (five-and-a-half lengths) and think gee that’s a nice debut but I don’t think that does it justice, he was the only dog to break 30 that night – two-tenths quicker than the fastest Fifth Grade and six-tenths quicker than the other Maiden race.

“It was a Maiden heat, so he gets another look in similar company come Saturday, he’s drawn wider in the six, but I’ll be looking for him to go out there and put 30.6 or better on the board - that’s how good he’s going.”

Kline said he knew early he had something out of the ordinary, with the pup making some of the trainer’s city winners looks slow.

“First time I gave him a slip from the water tower at Ipswich, he went 16.55 and that’s what my city winning bitches Ricolina Girl and Shilo were doing at the height of their careers and he was doing that at 15 months of age - he’s a freak,” Klein laughed.

“I think a lot of people play down how good their young ones are going because anything can happen in a greyhound race - I understand that - and don’t want to come across cocky but am also really excited for people to see what this dog can do.

“His run last Saturday has put him on the radar, and I think he’ll only build his profile from here.”

Races

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Ipswich | Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club | 5:25 PM

DIGGIT PLANT HIRE Maiden H

Not too many get to the track at 17 months, let alone put together a debut like Keen, and even with his ability, Kline made sure he cleared every hurdle before starting him.

“It’s not often that you’re comfortable starting a 17-month-old pup over the 500 metres at Ipswich on a wet track, but anyone who knows the way I train understands I’d never put a dog in that situation if he hadn’t shown me he was ready,” he said.

“He’d had a recent 24.87 post-to-post there before Saturday’s win which told me he was ready, and he went out and took care of business like a professional.

“I was looking for a maiden series to start him off with, but with none in the next few months I couldn’t hold him off any longer and thought the heat/final at Ipswich was the best way to get things rolling.”

If one of Queensland’s big maiden series was approaching, Kline may have waited but with nothing on the horizon he sees now as the perfect time for the dog to get a flying start to his career.

“The positive of starting him at this stage of the year is all the big kennels are concentrating on the Winter Carnival not worrying about breaking out their best maidens,” he said.

“I think he’ll win again on Saturday and from there I’ll take him to Albion for a trial and a slip, and find a nice Thursday Novice in winnable company for him.

“At his age, it’s all about avoiding the really good dogs and building up every bit of confidence we possibly can, and I’m confident I can do that through placing him where he needs to be.”

Kline went outside the Queensland bubble when sourcing the pup, picking him up from a Melbourne breeder, and so far the litter is looking like a hit.

“Greg Sprod, who’s located down in Melbourne, bought three Magic Sprite/Isla Styles off me and as part of the deal, we got Keen back who he’d bred out of Aston Dee Be and Shez Impetuous,” he said.

“Kyle Juracic, who’s the other owner, was happy to buy into him with me and it’s so far so good; Keen’s looking great and Kel Greenough has a brother who’s yet to start who’s going just as good.

“They were the two that stood out all the way through break-in and as soon as he got back to me, he’s just ticked every box possible.”

Keen

Kline enjoyed a good year of city success with a number of talented middle-distance types, but as they call it a day, there couldn’t be a better time for new blood.

“It’s been really good to replenish the stocks; Ricolina Girl, Logo and Shilo - who were probably my big three - all came to the end of their racing careers,” Kline said.

“I’ve actually got another pup who’s not named yet, he’s out of Severe Panama and Shez Sublime.

“He’s shown some signs he’s going to be a city-class dog, with my connections in Victoria it’s nice to think outside the box a bit with breeding.

“Once I picked up Keen and saw how good he was, I gave Greg Sprod a call again and asked him if he had anything similar and he came up with this dog who’s only a couple of months away - being an American sire, they can take a little longer to come to hand.”

Kline was rapt to continue his association with fellow owner Kyle Juracic, and the pair have plenty going on.

“Kyle’s been a long-time supporter of mine, he owns Ricolina Girl who’s just whelped a litter and you couldn’t ask for a better bloke to be in dogs with,” he said.

“If I come to him with an opportunity like Keen, he’s not afraid to put his money in for a good line.

“I think it’s added to my excitement sharing ownership of Keen with him, you want to do a good job for blokes like him who have your back.

“I actually gave Kyle naming rights for the dog and he hit the nail on the head with Keen, because everything the dog does, he’s just a bull at a gate.”