Well I think we can say the day was a little breezy!! Well done everybody, man, woman, dog (and baby) who braved a day on the hillside. Despite the howling winds we had a brilliant opening meet, with a lovely mix of returning competitors and exciting new ones.
As the first meeting back after a winter of relaxing for some dogs and working for others, our whippets had varying levels of fitness which could be seen in some of the results. However, it was clear that after a break from 'bag chasing' returning competitors were keen to be back and I am pleased to say that all (bar a couple of exceptions) ran true, and some avid corner-cutters of previous seasons were following better than they have for a long time.
We had a massive entry, and though we had some withdrawals in the days before the meet we still had 7 stakes made of 42 dogs. Among those returning from 2016 we were pleased to have the Montyjacks back after a season absent, plus several newcomers and debuting pups. The Field was in lovely condition, with the young trees that were planted last year providing good natural obstacles to run around. The weather, as has been mentioned was a bit of a challenge, which bought out a fantastic range of coats on the dogs and couple of spectacular hats, Greg McLatchie was seen sporting a real statement piece on his head!
The tea stand provided much needed shelter and sustenance - i think everyone must have needed a lot of warming cuppas, as it bought in a whopping £71.50, and the raffle £95. Thanks enormously to Loraine for taking care of the tea and cakes, and Susie for selling raffle tickets when not holding the tea tent in situ!
So I guess you all want to know about the sport now? Well, what can i say, there were many absolutely cracking runs and some really close pairings.
The Avening stake for dog up to 20" was especially hot competition.
It was a treat to see 2014 and 2016 Harerunner Trophy winners going head to head in round two, with both putting on performances that showed how they won those awards, and it was a shame either had to go out. Really leaving his mark was Silverhare Foxy Sundance, a youngster having his first outing in adult company after making his debut in October's puppy stakes.
We had two stakes for bitches up to 18.5”. Ameesha Pina Colada carried as she did last season, with very fast, gutsy runs, giving her all even when running solo. Montyjack Moon En Rouge ran with SWC a handful of times as a youngster before having a season off. Returning this meeting she was a different girl, running with so much maturity, strength an conviction, and was a very worthy runner up and I'm sure will be a winner soon. Two young ladies making their débuts with the Club were Collooney Candy Crush and Silverhare Fizgig Sunburst. The former, having been schooling on straight racing tracks in recent weeks, took lure coursing like a duck to water and deservedly won her stake. The latter showed her lack of experience, losing her legs on some of the turns, but like her litter mate Foxy Sundance she has all the goods to be taking the Win in future meets.
From the Open stakes, noteworthy dogs were: Veruglas Simply Saffron, who won a strong stake and ran better than I can remember seeing her run in the past 2 seasons, Moonlake My Way another debuting young dog her runner up. Tit For Tat who has taken time to feel comfortable and confident in slips and running in company got his first win. Harerunner Halfpenny, the poorest competitor on 2016 finally found some conviction when she won her October consolation stake and was on fire this meeting, she won her stake by getting go byes in all three rounds.
Our lovely Veterans, there were only 2 but they had a lovely run. Sandspring Special Envoy easily won against his much largest rival, who made his own route round the course, but at his age surely he has earned that privilege.