Roger (Paw Licking) is sun-baking when ARG calls Kel Greenough to discuss Paw Licking’s big win in the Group Two Maitland Cup on Thursday night.
Greenough prepares Paw Licking from his Pearcedale base in Victoria and when arriving home off the plane after Thursday’s win, he was greeted by a news crew.
“I got back good. The thing was though, the news people were there at the airport waiting for me sticking a camera in my face. I wasn’t prepared for that”, Greenough said.
Paw Licking has generated plenty of interest with his winning ways and he started favourite for the Maitland final, with Greenough pleased his charge could pull off the win.
“You just don’t like to lose when you’re the favourite. People sort of half expect you to win and when you don’t win it’s a big come-down. I found all the people terrific. Most people were very friendly and welcomed an inter-stater with open arms.”
It was an even better night for owner Allan Lang, who rarely gets to see his dog race in the flesh as he is based in Casino. He caught the train down to witness Paw Licking’s 30th win.
“The owner came down by train. He had a nine hour trip from Casino to Maitland. He has only came down to see him race once, which was for the Temlee and he got run down on the line in the Temlee. He was enjoying the moment at Maitland. Knowing what Casino runs for and knowing what the dog has earned he knew he had to send the dog to Melbourne and I was just the lucky one to get the phone call. I think he said he was running for 700 or 800 at the time in Casino. He’s been a pleasure to train for and never given me one day’s grief.”
Paw Licking has physically pulled up well after the run and has recovered from the travel. His next task at this stage looks to be the Bendigo Cup.
“He was fine. The travel just took a little bit out of him. I’ve just got him out here at the moment enjoying the sun and lazing about, he likes doing that. If he had to race next week he could. It’s just a matter of picking out this next race. We don’t try to run him too much in-between if we don’t have to. He will go on towards the Bendigo Cup.”
Obviously the next big Group race on the calendar is the Golden Easter Egg, but Greenough has elected to skip the series with Paw Licking.
“I spoke to Allan about it and he just said do what you like. I just think the three runs at Wenty are probably not in the best interests of the dog. While I would love to win an Easter Egg with him I don’t think it’s the right situation. They used to give Group One dogs one week off, which would happen to suit him, and they were exempt from going through the first round and went into the second round. That would have made a difference but they put it back to a three week series which makes it tough for interstate people so we decided against it.”
“As a trainer, when you have to do it, it turns into four weeks as you have to do a trial. So its a trial and three races if you are lucky enough to get through each week, which turns into a very tough ask over a four week period. I don’t think people realise its not easy to get away from home that many times. You certainly cant stay away for a month otherwise you don’t have a spouse! But every state has its own rules so you’ve just got to go with it.”
It has also been reported that Black Magic Opal will be giving the Easter Egg series a miss, setting up a nice clash with Paw Licking at Bendigo.
“I believe Black Magic Opal will be going to the Bendigo Cup too. That will be a good clash. I think they’ve clashed four times with two wins each. It will be an interesting clash and great for the public, although I would rather not run against him.”
One thing is for sure, the Golden Easter Egg’s loss is set to be Bendigo’s gain with Paw Licking certain to scorch the loam at a circuit that suits his style to a tee. Don’t be surprised to see “Roger” with another Group win on his already impressive CV very soon.