• Saturday, 28 May, 2022,
  • by Peter Quilty

Listowel Sue’s ‘Cup of Dreams’

Following on from the amazing story of William (Alan) Fairlie’s return to greyhound training at 93 years of age is the equally fascinating circumstance surrounding his venture into the sport.

It resulted from a ‘lucky quinella’ in 1970, which paid $185. With the proceeds – and scraping up a further $15 – he purchased Cindy Lake (May ’70 Second Stage x Cormar) for $200, which would become his foundation brood matron.

Fairlie had Cindy Lake mated by Tivoli Scout, which he and his son liked the look of better than his high-profile litter brother Tivoli Chief.

“I’m a bloke who got lucky buying a greyhound for fun and company.”

Tivoli Scout only sired 18 pups, including the Fairlie-raced Listowel Sue and her talented sibling Amarco Boy. ‘Cindy’ later produced champion stayer Rawpack (by Leader’s Champion).

“I’m a bloke who got lucky buying a greyhound for fun and company,” Fairlie said. “I noticed an advertisement in the classified pink-page section of the Sporting Globe and there was a stud dog called Second Stage, which I’d heard a lot about. I said to myself, ‘I’ll get one of his first pups’”.

That pup was Cindy Lake, which would eventually take Fairlie to greyhound racing’s ‘Everest’ when her daughter, Listowel Sue (4/5F), won the $25,000 to-the-winner 1977 Australian Cup at Olympic Park.

Alan Fairlie and Listowel Sue command centre stage after her 1977 victory in the ‘Cup of Dreams’.

Incredibly, Fairlie had not drawn the ‘red’ (Box 1) for 12 months prior to the Australian Cup series but then drew three in succession.

“It was our first litter, and we were very lucky with the dogs we bred,” Fairlie said. “We made a lot of friends around Australia in the sport… But Cindy Lake – she was the reason for our success.”

The simple origin of the Listowel Sue racing moniker is that ‘Listowel’ is a town in County Kerry, Ireland, and the name of a cottage next to the Fairlie home occupied at the time by an old lady with an interest in the Fairlie greyhounds.

Alan Fairlie takes a trip down memory lane on Cindy Lake and Listowel Sue.

Ironically, the Drouin South-based Fairlie is a keen Sydney Swans supporter who closely followed the career of one of its favourite sons – Listowel-born Tadhg Kennelly, who is the first Irishman to win an AFL premiership (2005).

A former Kinglake potato farmer, Fairlie was also an amateur masseur.

“I used to fix the backs of some of the old potato farmers,” he said. “I developed a talent and transferred it to being a canine chiropractor.

Alan Fairlie proudly holding the 1977 Australian Cup won by Listowel Sue.

“I was having success treating humans, and then I got a little help from Dave Hodgson, Ned Bryant and George Schofield (all inaugural GRV Hall of Fame inductees) in healing greyhounds.”

Fairlie says he had no inkling he’d return to greyhound training, but adds he was “still involved on the periphery” being a committeeman for 30 years and life member of the Warragul GRC.

“I’m just amazed at the stakemoney on offer these days. I half-wish I’d never got out of the sport.

“From an old-timer’s point of view, it’s more regimented and very much more professional.

“And the quality of the fields is better structured, with more people having the chance to get involved.”

Pawnote: No doubt, all and sundry in sentiment will be ‘riding home’ the Fairlie owned and trained Lady Wynal – named in memory of his late wife, Alwyn – in the Healesville Oaks final on Sunday.

Peter QuiltyPeter Quilty

Peter Quilty

Peter Quilty has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.

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