At Sporting Whippet Club we encourage competition in the form of 'lure meetings' that are as close to coursing as possible and strive to uphold the traditions of coursing. The Sporting Whippet Club season begins in March and ends with a Trophy meeting in October.
Dogs entered into ‘lure meetings’ will be graded according to height, sex and age. Dogs up to 20'', Bitches up to 18.5'' and mixed-sex height-graded stakes for dogs and bitches over these heights and up to a maximum of 21.5''.
SWC events are simple “knock-out” competitions, like a tennis tournament, in which the winners progress to the next round. A stake for eight dogs will mean four courses in the first round, two courses at the semi-final stage, and then a final. The stake is arranged by drawing the runners to form four pairs. These are shown on the card, on which spectators mark the results so that they can follow the progress of the stake.
On arrival at an SWC meet, please book in with the Secretary. You will be given your card and any dogs that do not have an SWC passport will be measured. If you have a dog that has not been entered into the competition but that you would like to trial, please pay the secretary and obtain a trial number. Trials will take place before each round if time permits.
Dogs entered into stakes will be required to wear the appropriate knitted collar and a properly fitting muzzle. The top dog in each pair on the card will wear red, the bottom will wear white, or blue if a bye. When trials are completed, the Slip Steward will call to the gates the first pair of competing dogs and ensure they are wearing the correct colour.
When instructed to do so, handlers may enter the field and take their dogs to the shy where the Slipper will be ready to put the whippets in slips. The red dog must be on the left, and white on the right. All dogs will be slipped from double slips by the Slipper. Hand slipping will only be permitted for trials and schooling. Please do not remove your dog's collar and lead until the Slipper tells you to.
When the starting flag is raised, the skills of Slipper and Lure Driver come into their own. The Slipper must ensure both dogs are sighted, give sufficient law, and ensure a well-managed, smooth release. The Lure Driver must keep the lure at a speed and distance that ensures the whippets have to really work. The Driver must accelerate the lure to avoid a take before the end of the course, whilst never getting so far ahead that the dogs become unsighted, or are encouraged to cut corners.
The Judge will be positioned so as to have the best view of the course. The setting out of the course will reflect the path a hare may take i.e. run up, turns and wrenches. Dogs will be judged on their performance in relation to coursing, using a similar point scoring system. At the end of a course, the Judge will raise a coloured flag indicating his decision. The judge's actions are replicated by a Steward, thus passing the message onto spectators.
Competitors should mark up their card after each course, and keep it up to date. Although there is a Slip Steward, it is the competitor's responsibility to ensure they have their dog ready to go into slips at the right time, wearing the right collar.
Once the first round is completed, there will be a short break whilst the course is changed. Time permitting, trialling dogs will run, followed by the second round of all 8 dog stakes. The course will then be changed again ready for all stake finals. All first round losers will be allowed a second, unjudged run at this time.
At the end of each meeting, rosettes will be awarded to all Stake Winners and Runners up.
Throughout the season, a tally is kept of all rounds of all stakes. Competitors are awarded 1 point for a heat win, 5 points for winning a Semi Final and 10 points for being a Stake Winner. No points are given for a Bye ( a solo run) but in the event of a dog withdawing from a final through injury 5 points will be awarded to the opponents dog. At the end of the season the highest performing whippets are invited to compete in the Trophy Finals:
The Top Veterans will qualify for the Laguna Trophy
The top 8 dogs up to 20'' will qualify for the Harerunner Trophy
The Top 8 Bitches up to 18.5'' will qualify for the Shandril Trophy
The Top 8 dogs and bitches over these heights will qualify for the Sporting Whippet Club Stakes.
Fitness and Wellbeing
Like many of us humans, our dogs may get a bit soft after time off, so can we take this opportunity to urge you all to ensure your dog is fully fit before entering an SWC competition. The courses we run can be long and gruelling. If you are unsure, please come and trial your dog over a shorter distance before entering.
We would also like to encourage all members to take the time to warm up and cool down their dogs sufficiently to prevent injury. Warming a dog up can be as simple as a brisk walk and some trotting, when you feel warm, your dog will be ready to run. Similarly, it is important to allow your dog to cool down, keep it walking until it has stopped panting to prevent lactic acid build up. A good rub and massage of your dog is also a great way to warm up.
Please consider the weather conditions, and make sure you have the means to keep you dog warm/cool enough throughout the day, and always provide your dog with water to keep it hydrated.
Finally it is essential that you also check after each round once your dog has rested, that it is sound before allowing it to run again.
If you are ever unsure, please seek the advice of a commitee member and remember 'better safe than sorry'!