Caption: Sue and Brian Barton with their outstanding Yulon Bear.
By GARY CLARK
WHEN two lovers of dogs of different breeds found each other, it turned into the perfect marriage and a life Sue and Brian Barton never thought could happen.
Sue showed huskies for five years, winning best breed in show at the Sydney and Melbourne shows, while Brian had 20 years as a successful greyhound owner, trainer and breeder.
Sue and Brian met six years ago and two years after walking down the aisle, life has thrown up a totally new experience for one of them.
“Seeing the love and patience Brian had for his dogs, it was easy to make the transformation from the breed I had been with for years to loving the greyhounds,” Sue said.
“I bought a couple of husky pups one day and that started my enjoyment with the breed.
“But now that I have given them away, my new interest in the past few years with the greyhounds has changed my life.”
Sue’s life ceretainly changed drastically late last year.
“I started walking side-on towards my left and bumping into objects,” Sue said.
“Then I fell down stairs and Brian could now see something was not right and I headed to the doctor.”
Sue’s specialist ordered a CT scan.
“The doctors thought it may have been vertigo and I wish it was,” she said.
The news was not good. Sue was diagnosed with a brain tumour and immediately went to the operating theatre.
Surgeons were able to remove most of the tumour but not all of it.
“The tumour was in a delicate part of the brain and the surgeons couldn’t remove what remained as it was too risky,” she said.
“The tumour was close to parts of the brain that could have left me in a vegetable-like state.”
Sue started a six-week course of radiation at the end of last month then she will have a month’s break before chemotherapy.
Sue is grateful for all the support that has come her way.
“I can’t believe the number of people who have reached out to both me and Brian,” she said.
“I know Sue will defy the odds,” Brian said.
Sue and Brian owned their own homes and sold them to purchase their current 25-acre property at Canyonleigh where they have invested $200,000 to ensure the dogs get the best.
The puppy yards have uphill runs, shelters in all yards with cool room panels, while the racing dogs are in a resort of their own.
GWIC have been that impressed with the Bartons’ set-up they have taken videos and photos to show future trainers the fitout at one of the best complexes in the state.
Already trainers David Smith, Shane Pullbrook and Nathan Summers (owner of Ad Astra who has a litter of Fernando Bale-Winxette) are sending their broodbitches and pups there.
This speaks volumes for how Sue and Brian managed the business.
With Brian having all the background in the sport, Sue has quickly learned about all levels of preparing the greyhounds.
Brian grew up in Sydney and played rugby league with Wentworthville, a club that won nine straight titles. Brian played in the last two premierships of that streak.
He also played A grade cricket progressing to first grade. The trade-off has been three shoulder reconstructions.
In 2004 Brian formed a syndicate with his first dog, Blu Thru Time, who was trained by Ron Brown. At the Appin meeting when Blu Thru Time broke through for a first win Brian met Dave Irwin and a great friendship developed.
However, not long after Ron Brown passed away and Brian had to oversee Ron’s 30 greyhounds.
After obtaining his trainer’s licence, Brian started Loose Thread at Potts Park in 2008 and his success with the collar and lead was off and running.
At this stage Brian opened his breeding account with a bitch formerly trained by Dave Irwin, Single Stitch.
In 2014, Brian raced Hurricane Maybe (Hurricane Luke-Single Stitch) which gave his sire his first city win. Hurricane Luke was raced by Ruth Matic with whom Brian and Sue have a close friendship.
Hurricane Maybe won three races at Wentworth Park and two at Bulli.
Brian used the “Bardo” name with his dogs after his late son and he had some success with Bardo Memory, Bardo Holyfield, Little Bardo and Hurricane Bardo.
This is when his future wife Sue came into his life.
“I couldn’t have asked to find a more perfect person to share my life,” Brian said.
Sue has been overwhelmed with her new love of dogs.
“We have insulated the van for travelling and it gives the dogs complete comfort and relaxation to the track,” Sue said.
“We have some great owners and a couple of new ones entering our kennels including Dean Carr, who has a few Raw Ability pups, and Angus McFarlane,” she said.
“They are both first time owners and have formed new syndicates.”
They also have a talented Zambora Brockie pup named No Dramas.
Before her sad news, Sue enjoyed 2021 greatly after owner/breeder Paul White, who lives in Victoria, bred a litter of File The Writ-Shady Ace.
Graeme Ganderton, who has had a great friendship and success with Matt and Ruth Matic, is also a mate of White’s.
Sue was introduced to White and two pups, Yukon Bear and Sable, came into the Bartons’ kennels.
File The Writ was trained by the Matics, so there is a real triangle of trust and commitment between all parties.
With Brian having his own success, it was time for Sue to obtain her trainer’s licence.
Sable had 20 starts last year, for two wins at Goulburn, one in a flying 24.67, and six placings.
Her favoured dog, Yukon Bear, has proved to be more than just a competitive chaser on the track.
Known to Sue as “Yukie”, the Bear had a memorable 12 months at his home track of Goulburn, racing on 33 occasions for seven wins, nine seconds and three thirds.
He recorded a fast 19.76 over 350m and a sizzling 24.66 over 440m for a PB.
His consistency was rewarded last December.
After Sue came out after her surgery, she received the perfect gift on Christmas Eve when Yukon Bear was named the Goulburn greyhound of the year for 2021.
Yukie has had a special bond with Sue.
“When Brian takes him out, all he wants to do is run to me,” she said.
“There seems to be some unexplained connection between us.”
Sue attended the Goulburn race meeting last month to officially receive the award and rug Yukon Bear in a special presentation.
Also Ruth Matic had File The Writ, who is more than eight years old, there for the presentation as he won the 2017 Goulburn GOTY and has now produced another title winner.
But for now Sue has a real challenge ahead of her.
“This is not going to beat me, I have been given a chance to live the life the best I can with a wonderful husband and I’m feeling really good at the moment,” she said.
“If I can be here in three years then I will have won a race that even my medical team didn’t expect.”