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Once-famous Fred turns 14

By Rose Streatfeild

Former celebrity greyhound Fred Basset turned 14 last month.

Made famous 12 years ago by media megastars and then Fox FM radio stars Hamish Blake and Andy Lee, Fred Basset was at the centre of one of the greatest promotions that Victorian greyhound racing has ever seen.

The story goes that Hamish placed a $800 bet on Andy to win the Cleo Bachelor of the Year, and subsequently won $12,000.

After putting a vote to listeners on how they should spend the money, they settled on buying a greyhound.

With assistance from GRV’s marketing team, who sourced a greyhound with help from leading trainer Jason Thompson, Hamish & Andy bought a 24-month-old greyhound named Hoppa, and had his name changed to Fred Basset, after Hamish’s favourite comic strip character.

Over the next five weeks Hamish, Andy and trainer Angela Langton toured around Australia to race Fred Basset, drawing in excess of 10,000 fans to watch Fred race at Sandown Park (Vic), Albion Park (Qld), Angle Park (SA) and Cannington (WA).

A host of celebrities got behind the promotion, which dominated radio airwaves around Australia, while a portion of Fred’s prize money ($13,000) was donated to the Royal Children’s Hospital.

In his heyday Fred rode in a limousine with supermodel Megan Gale to the 2006 Victorian Greyhound of the Year, and partied hard with celebrities and musicians at Hamish & Andy’s renowned Fox FM rooftop parties.

Fred won eight races before retiring in 2008 and being adopted by the Copley family in Melbourne, where he still lives today.

“He’s not as quick as he used to be but he’s still enjoying life,”

said Fred’s owner Andrew Copley. “I take him to the park at least twice a day where we walk at a steady pace…unlike in the days when we were jogging partners. He’s still eating well, and he’s on a pretty healthy diet so maybe that’s the key to his longevity. His coat is always shining and he still loves a pat so hopefully we get a few more years with him.

Fred enjoyed a trip to Dromana Beach for his birthday, where he met two other pet greyhounds in his travels.

FRED BASSET'S DIET

Breakfast:

  • Pasta or toast mixed with cooked bacon & sprinkle of grated cheese.
  • Mix in a poached egg or a sardine in oil on alternate days.

Dinner:

  • Pasta or rice mixed with roast chicken or roast beef
  • Sprinkle of grated cheese
  • 2 x tablespoons of vegetable stock
  • Small handful of raw chicken necks or minced beef (for human-consumption) on alternate days

Snacks:

  • Dog treats including types that require excess chewing