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.”