In stature there isn’t much of Bruce and Jaime Lloyd however the father and daughter team share the same larger than life personality that radiates warmth and laughter wherever they go. The dynamic duo also share the same passion for greyhounds- their four legged friends that are more like family than race dogs or retired pets. This unconditional love paid off for Bruce last Wednesday night when he landed his first TAB double at Bulli.
The 57-year-old mentor has had greyhounds since the age of thirteen but remarkably had never trained a winner at Bulli before last week. The first leg of Lloyd’s double saluted in race two as Spring Eddie skipped across the line in a quick 22.52 seconds. Spring Eddie has made quite an impression since joining Lloyd’s kennels as a giveaway.
“I got him as a giveaway after he reinjured his sesamoid with the opinion that his racing career was over”, Bruce explained.
Lloyd took the black speedster home with the intention of rehoming him if he could not bounce back to the racetrack however after nine months on the sidelines, ‘Rocky’, has transformed into a completely different greyhound with five starts for Lloyd from which he has recorded three wins and two placings.
Lloyd had to wait all night for his second winner with Quizzy Cool triumphing in race ten. Beginning well Quizzy Cool was never behind another runner stretching out to win by three lengths in a respectable 22.93 seconds. It was another sentimental win for Lloyd who bred the litter but who had to watch the white and black dog change training hands twice before coming back to his original home.
Lloyd does not attribute their turnaround to any new or phenomenal training styles but rather to the loving and friendly atmosphere that surrounds them.
“I think they like what we do with them. I don’t know what it was like where they were but I don’t think they would have got as much affection or as many cuddles during the day”.
“I think if they are feeling good and happy they go better. It’s a bit like people- if you are happy with a job you are doing then you perform better”.
Both charges will line up at Bulli again tonight and although facing much tougher challenges they both possess the heart to be competitive. Spring Eddie will be lining up in race eight from box five against the classy Paua Of Darkness in a 4/5 grade event.
“It’s a bit tougher and he is drawn in box five”, Bruce said, “He will have to do everything right to win but in saying that he can if he jumps in front”.
“He needs an early race and the outside is perfect for him but there are four very smart ones in it. If they bunch up or if there are any problems he will be there and could run a place”.
As a true testament to his pure love for greyhounds, of the thirteen currently on Lloyd’s property, eight are retirees. His dedication to these dogs to ensure they live a happy life, long after the thrill of the chase dissipates, is what sets Bruce Lloyd apart from many other trainers.
Working with Jaime, Bruce has made his house a home not only to his own dogs but to many others that may have otherwise been faced with a grim future.
One such chaser is ‘Dottie’. Dottie was purchased by a syndicate to be trained by Jaime as a rising five year old. Dottie won three races for her, one of which was at Wentworth Park. When retired, Dottie was sold to Melbourne as a breeding proposition by the syndicate. Years later Jaime made a sickening discovery when browsing online.
“The trainer that had her down in Melbourne just up and left”, Jaime recalled, “He left all the dogs behind and his daughter came in to try and find them homes but said if they didn’t find homes they would be going to the pound”.
“She had it on greyhound data and I recognized Dottie when I saw her photo. I contacted them to ask what was happening and they said if she didn’t find a home soon she was going to be put down. That was on the Wednesday and I left to get her on the Thursday”.
“When she saw me she came running that fast at me. She is normally sedate but I don’t think I have ever seen a dog so psychotic”
Over a year later and Dottie is enjoying her new life back with her loving family. Also living it up is six year old ‘Makita’ who triumphed for the Lloyd’s when no-one else believed in him.
“Makita is a special man to us. He was sold at two weeks old but unfortunately on Christmas Day his mum Jade knocked him over and he broke his wrist. The buyer withdrew his interest and when seeking advice it was the majority opinion to have him euthanized as he was not a racing prospect,” Jaime explained.
“That was not an option for us. He grew into a beautiful race dog who won eight races known as Kamikaze Spirit”.
The Lloyd’s have also actively helped with the rehoming of greyhounds that nobody else wanted. ‘Wally’ is one of their success stories who owes his life to Bruce and Jaime.
“Wally came to us to train, owned by a syndicate. In his first and only race start for us he twisted his spleen. We rushed him to the vets who advised us he was to either be operated on, or euthanized. Between almost 20 owners, only one was willing to put in funds for the $800 operation. Therefore we emptied our own wallets and Wally recovered perfectly thanks to that one owner who put his hand up to help us pay the bill. He placed Wally through GAPVic and he successfully found a home and is a much loved pet”.
Possibly the most touching story is that of Molly, a litter sister to Quizzy Cool. As a youngster Molly escaped the yard where she was being trained and was brought to a stop on the Hume Highway when hit by a car. Molly was lucky to escape with her life after her skull was completely shattered leaving her with swelling to the brain.
“Within a couple of months the swelling of her brain had gone down, and her senses came back to the normal crazy, fun loving pup we knew”, Jaime said.
Upon her recovery Molly was privately rehomed and now lives her life on the couch with her friend, a Staffy, called Morty.
Upon asking Bruce and Jaime what they love about greyhounds, both came up with an almost identical answer
“They are my passion, I love them. The best way to put it is that they are my best mates…my family”, Bruce beamed.
“With each of them a friendship gets formed and they go from a dog entering the kennels to becoming one of the family. They give you so much unconditional love”, Jaime added.
Jaime is quick to say why she shares such a strong passion with her dad when it comes to rehoming these noble creatures
“My father brought me up with a genuine love and passion for the greyhounds so there is never any hesitation to help if or when needed”
“They’re not all going to be successful on the track and fast or not we know these dogs do their best, and the least we can do is thank them for trying and reward them with a couch. Giving them a life beyond racing isn’t just a reward for them, it is for us too”
As for life without greyhounds, that is not is a possibility with Bruce and Jaime as well as her fiancée Josh and newborn son Chace committed for life.
“Our lives would be very empty without them. They’re not ‘just dogs’ they’re our best friends. I can’t imagine going to bed of a night not having a grey or two curled up at the foot of the bed” Jaime said.
“I can’t wait for our 10 week old son to enjoy the world of greyhounds as much as his parents”