National Futurity

Fred Hoping For A Group 1 With Sweet Caroline

By Jeff Collerson
Anthony Azzopardi took out the 2018 National Futurity with NSW-owned Blue Sky Riot and on Saturday the crack Victorian trainer will attempt a unique double by winning the same race with another locally raced greyhound.

Azzopardi prepares Caroline, who had box six and clocked 30.23 winning her Futurity heat after being fifth early and third on the back straight.

Caroline is raced by 83-year-old Fred Malone, a recently retired Goulburn trainer who bought Caroline as a puppy from her breeder Subby Ngurah.

Ngurah had raced Caroline's dam Nino De Oro, a half-sister to champions Good Odds Harada and Feral Franky, with great success, with this, her first litter, also including Good Odds Cash, Spiced Rum and Ben Mayo.

Fred Malone breeds and rears puppies on his 10ha property and has been involved with greyhounds for over 70 years.

"I named my Futurity finalist after my mother, whose maiden name was Caroline Elizabeth Mayo, because she was such a wonderful greyhound racing enthusiast.

"As a kid I remember watching mum standing on the back of an open top truck, hanging onto a couple of greyhounds, as they were on their way to be dropped off to race on the old Queanbeyan dog track.

"When Nino De Oro had her litter I bought two pups, Caroline and a dog called Ben Mayo, which Anthony Azzopardi also trains.

"Ben Mayo has won in a near record 29.14 at Sandown but he is a bit unreliable and is not as good a race dog as Caroline.

"I have since purchased two more puppies from Subby, a dog and a bitch, from Nino De Oro's litter sired by Zambora Brockie, and they look like being top class.

"They are not quite 16 months old but they both broke in faster than Caroline.''

As She's Savage qualified for Saturday night's group 1 Ladbrokes National Futurity, she might have created some sort of record for her 29-year-old owner-trainer Jessica Savage.

Because when Jessica took She's Savage to Wentworth Park for last Friday night's Futurity heats, it was the first time she had taken a greyhound to the famous Glebe track.

She's Savage might not have given Jessica a winner but she surely made history by giving her a "first up" group one finalist after setting a scorching pace and leading to the home turn before finishing second to Ritza Donna in 29.72.

She's Savage not only clocked 29.85 in defeat, at her first appearance over 520m in town, but she posted dazzling splits of 5.39, 13.70 and 17.81.

Only other heat winner to go quicker was Chic, who won in 29.77.

Veteran mid north coast trainer Brian Smoothy was at WP last Friday and explained: "Jess has been assisting me with my greyhounds for the past four years and now has her own licence.

"She's Savage was with Jason Mackay earlier in her career when she won over 515m at Ladbrokes Gardens last September in a smart 29.54 but a race fall had sapped her confidence and she went off the boil for quite a while."

Her inability to cope with long car trips has put the future of boom youngster Ruby Keeping in doubt.

Trained at Dubbo by Charmaine Roberts, Ruby Keeping won her first four starts on her local track in dazzling fashion but flopped on debut at Wentworth Park on January 8.

She was sent out a $1.55 favourite but after making the pace from box one, Ruby Keeping compounded and finished a distant sixth.

"When we trialled her at Wenty before that race Ruby Keeping had also suffered car sickness and did not go as well as we expected,'' said Shayne Stiff, partner of trainer Charmaine Roberts.

"Ruby Keeping didn't handle the trip on race night either and by the time we got back to our home at Dubbo I reckon she had lost 2kg.

"Her first four races were all at Dubbo so there was no travelling involved but we are now trying to get her accustomed to being in the car for hours at a time.

"If Ruby Keeping can't get over this problem we will probably send her to Melbourne trainer Jason Thompson, because she has the ability to be a top notcher.''