Alec Dalgleish LURE DRIVER: Mike
With kind permission of landowner Russell Cowling.
When we visited Raleghs Cross last June, it was one of our most disastrous meets. After the quick arrival of ground-nesting birds, the grass wasn't able to be cut as planned.
The machines we had prior to the arrival of Big Red just couldn't cope with the long grass, and we were forced to abandon coursing for short straight races.
Thankfully, this year couldn't have been more different! The landowner Russell Cowling had done a wonderful job preparing the ground for us. Freshly grazed by sheep, the grass
was an ideal length, and he had also raked over the ground to disperse the pooh. Very kindly Russell also built us a judging tower out of straw bales. It was just as well Mark isn't afraid of
heights! The weather was perfect. After a heat wave the week before, a few days of rain softened the ground before clearing to leave us a day of warm
began the day with a number of trials, some dogs returning to build on experience
and others getting their first taste of lure coursing, plus some puppy schooling. The first round was a relatively short course at 490 yards which was surprising given the size of the field.
Initially I was a little disappointed, but it turned out to be one of the best course layouts we have ever put on. The turns were laid out in a way that enabled Mike to keep the lure right in front
of the dogs, and that discouraged even the most seasoned the dogs from cheating*. This kept the dogs very close, with many pairs neck and neck and some tough calls for the judge. Harerunners
Hedgehunter and Hot Gossip both ran better than they have in a long time. Harerunner Hell For Leather and Winterfellin Merry Mayhem had a very close run, and Ryemeadows Zaras first outing since puppy
stakes showed she was more than capable of holding her own.
Having a relaxed and enjoyable day in the sun, the first break ran on longer than normal and became lunch time. Second round began with more first timers
second break, raffle and a chance to sample more of the cakes and Biddy's delicious quiche. Thank you Fleur for doing a great job selling raffle tickets and all those who donated such lovely prizes,
though I am very sad none of you wanted the Donald Trump joke book! The raffle made £102 and the teas and cakes £72.94.
For the Finals, a 500 yard, bendy course was laid. All winners and runners up showed why they deserved their places in the stake finals. It was a great day for Sue
Meecham, with both Winterfellin Vanilla Sky and Silvajack Cassian winning their stakes. Special congratulations to Elaine whose Winterfellin Gotta Dash is our first dog of the season to win twice,
and Fleur's Florancy First Footing not far behind with a win and a runner up under her belt. The winners all had an extra treat this month, with animal physio Mary Bromiley giving copies of her
It was a smaller meeting than some, with 6 stakes / 32 dogs, but as the saying goes 'quality not quantity'! It was a lovely day, that ran smoothly with lovely runs from all
competitors. The sun shone and the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. Thanks to all of you came and made it such a good day. There is only 3 weeks until our next meeting, so don't delay getting
your entries in, and I look forward to seeing you all there!
(*all other than my own Penny Paynes Blue Grey, who as always had to buck the trend!)
Thanks to Elizabeth Johnston and Bryan Marshall for the super photographs.