Greyhound racing’s biggest rivalry is on hold as Paw Licking recovers from minor soreness endured in his sensational Bendigo Cup win last month.
Jason Thompson admits that the scratching of Paw Licking from last week’s Warrnambool Cup series gave his greyhound Black Magic Opal a much easier pathway to victory in the Group 2 event, and he is now setting his superstar for Thursday night’s heats of the $100,000 to-the-winner Group 2 Harrison Dawson (515m) at Sandown Park, which is for male greyhounds only.
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Meanwhile, the Kelvyn Greenough-trained Paw Licking continues to recover from minor chest and shoulder issues.
“I’ve got to be honest, Black Magic Opal’s task of winning the Warrnambool Cup was made a lot easier by Paw Licking not racing in that series,” Thompson said after the Warrnambool Cup.
“In my time in greyhound racing I’ve never seen two greyhounds compete against each other that are as explosive over 450 metres as Paw Licking and Black Magic Opal.”
“I have enormous respect for Paw Licking, and his rivalry with Black Magic Opal is pretty amazing, and you can even throw Ronan Izmir into the mix as well because let’s not forget that he has won three country cups,” the Pearcedale trainer said.
“In my time in greyhound racing I’ve never seen two greyhounds compete against each other that are as explosive over 450 metres as Paw Licking and Black Magic Opal” – JASON THOMPSON
Charlie Northfield, who bred Paw Licking, regards the greyhound’s Hobart Thousand win over Black Magic Opal as one of his most memorable moments in the sport.
“I never thought I’d see that happen to Black Magic Opal. I remember watching the Hobart Thousand and saying to a mate of mine that I couldn’t believe my eyes. Both greyhounds were going neck and neck for the lead and when Paw Licking burned him off he nearly broke Black Magic Opal’s heart,” the NSW breeder said.
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Kelvyn Greenough, trainer of Paw Licking, is disappointed the rivalry couldn’t be rekindled in the Harrison-Dawson series.
“It’s always disappointing when you miss a big race through injury, however greyhounds of Paw Licking’s calibre are hard to come by so I am only prepared to race him when I know he’s 100 per cent sound.”
“If I had another 10 days or so up my sleeve I probably could have got him up for the Harrison-Dawson, but there’s just not enough time to get his fitness up to a level it needs to be to race over 515 metres,” Greenough said.
Greenough said he is unsure where he will next race Paw Licking, but racing enthusiasts are rubbing their hands together at the prospect of the greyhound competing against Black Magic Opal once again.
Sandown Park will also host heats of the Group 1 Sapphire Crown (females only) on Thursday night.
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