When SA hobbyist Ken Trowbridge and his brother-in-law Nathan Wilson decided to breed a litter from their modestly performed racebitch Foot Luce, they never expected what would happen next.
Foot Luce was trained by Neil Rawlings and started just six times for a 30.63 win at Angle Park. The daughter of Hallucinate and Scarlett was the first greyhound the pair had ever owned and, upon her retirement, she was originally just going to be a pet.
“We bought her from a breeder in Melbourne when she had just been broken in. She was well bred, she just didn't have all the ability on the track,” Ken explained.
“We had her for three months as a pet in the backyard and had no plans to breed from her, we were going to continue just buying dogs.”
“Then I moved to Lewiston and had a couple of acres so I thought we'd have a go at breeding.”
Trowbridge and Wilson didn't go into the breeding game exuding confidence so they chose a reasonably priced stud dog that seemed to suit Foot Luce's bloodlines.”
“We did a bit of research, we didn't want to go to anything too commercial being our first litter, basically we just wanted to have a go.”
“We picked Vapour Whirl because he worked well with her and it's turned out to be alright.”
Foot Luce whelped a healthy litter of 10 pups on the 10th of July 2012, three dogs and seven bitches. Trowbridge and Wilson, who had split the litter in half, received quite a surprise when they were broken in.
“They got broken in at Kevin McNamara's and we went there to pick them up and we were hoping that one, or even two, might make the track. Then he said that all of them were Melbourne city class.”
Most of the youngsters were then sent to leading mentor Jeff Britton to try and make it in Victoria. The most successful pup from the litter to date has been Oakvale Destiny, owned by Nathan and trained by Jeff, which won the Group One Sapphire Crown at Sandown earlier this year. Amazingly, litter sister Oakvale Flyer filled the quinella in that race.
Also in the litter is Texas Titan, another chaser owned by Nathan, which, along with Oakvale Destiny, made the Group One Adelaide Cup final at Angle Park.
Ken, who only took out his trainer's license nine months ago, decided to bring another litter sister, Footluce Diva, home from Melbourne in June and try training her himself. So far Footluce Diva has won nine from 28 with seven minor placings.
“I thought I'd bring her back for a few months and bring her through her grades. She isn't as strong in a field as (Oakvale) Destiny so I thought the easier fields might help her out and give her a bit of confidence.”
“She made the Gawler Produce final, the Puppy Championship final and she ran second in the SA Oaks final behind Oakvale Destiny.”
“She has run some pretty handy times in Adelaide, she has run 29.7 at Angle Park, so we are planning to put her in the Brian Johnstone in a few weeks time. If Jeff wants her back later on and she is running well enough she can definitely go back.”
Trowbridge had another winner from the litter on Wednesday when Miss Footluce broke through for her maiden win at Angle Park. Clocking a handy 30.23, she has a bit of catching up to do to rival some of her littermates, but Ken is confident that she has plenty of improvement in her.
“She was trialling really well in Melbourne with Jeff and Angela but she was a bit field shy. It's obviously a better calibre of dogs over there in Melbourne and she got bumped around a fair bit and didn't really push on.
“She did a fibula in the Gawler Produce heats and had to have four months off. Judging by last week she has come up tenfold so I am really stoked with her. She is going to improve.”
Unfortunately, the Vapour Whirl litter is the only one that Foot Luce produced. The black bitch was bitten by a snake while her first litter were breaking in and sadly passed away. The good thing for Ken and Nathan is that they still have her daughters which should all make excellent broodbitches when the time comes to head to the breeding barn.
For now though, the talented bunch appear to have plenty of racing left in their legs at just 27 months of age. Trowbridge, who is assisted by his wife Melissa, is just happy to have fun with their chasers which have already exceeded his expectations.
“Whatever happens from here we don't really care because we have had lots of fun with them. We don't expect anything more from them because to start with we didn't even expect half of them to make the track and all but one has, we are very happy.”