2nd September 2018
CLIFFORDS POOL, RALEGHS CROSS, BRENDON HILL, SOMERSET
SLIPPER: Duncan Nicholls LURE DRIVERS: Mike Florek & Greg McLatchie JUDGES: Mark Bicknell / Alec Dalgleish
Raleghs Cross at Brendon Hill – a venue with it's own microclimate where the weather forecast does not apply! I think nearly all members arrived wishing they had dressed in warmer clothes. Just minutes down the road, it may have been low 20s and sunny, but at our field there was a cold gusting breeze. All that being said, it was a vast improvement to the weather conditions we faced last September!
Apologies to all for the rather basic facilities, and thank you to Tracy and Duncan for the loan of the Porta-potty and even more so for taking it home afterwards. I think this rather impacted on the amount of teas drunk, but none of us could resist Susie's bacon rolls, no matter how hard they tried.
It was a smaller meeting than some, but with a quality entry, 30 whippets competing over 6 stakes. We also had 5 triallers, including three youngsters clearing ready for next month's puppy stakes.
Further apologies too for the rather late and dramatic start to proceedings. Big Red had been running fine on arrival, however when it came time for dogs to start running it wouldn't get going. None of us were expecting the flash of flames, and though some were able to pass it off as nothing to worry about, some of us were pretty alarmed. Needless to say, further safety measures have been introduced for all future meets.
Once we finally got underway, we continued to be plagued by technical glitches. I would like to say , in the words of Alan Sugar, 'Big Red... You're fired!' however given what happened maybe best not! Our field team worked really hard to get the meeting to end at its rightful conclusion, and will be working until we meet again to iron out these issues.
Our first round was a 580m course, with a fairly long run out followed by a tight, close series of turns. While some expressed concern that the layout wouldn't bring out the best, and would play into the favour of the cheaters this didn't prove so. In fact this course saw perhaps the best runs of the season yet. Particularly exciting to watch were the littermate pairings: Harerunners Huntress at Alacrity / Holy Smoke and Twiggens New Leaf of Moonlake / Lettice Leefe. These runs were so close, it was pretty breathtaking watching the technical parts of the course run with the dogs running shoulder to shoulder. Also noteworthy for a standout run was Harerunner Halfpenny... standing out as the one who made a total mess of the course by running past the first turns with enough determination to send her half way to Cornwall.
Second round was a tinkered version of the first reversed. Though still a good course it did allow some of the corner cutters to put bad habits to good use. The moment to remember from the second round was provided courtesy of a consolation runner – Harerunner Hornet. He ran so wide he finished on the wrong side of the fence, nearly visiting the tea stall on route, much to the amusement of onlookers.
Final course saw another meeting of Silverhare Foxy Sundance and Mannerpool Its A Fine Life, with the former winning hos 5th stake of the season. In the bitch stakes kennel mates Cheydanhar Sooleawa At Coppermow and Gills Little Gem at Coppermow came head to head – albeit briefly as they determinedly covered all angles, running from slips in opposite directions, neither being the way of the lure. After much creativity on both parts, C. Sooleawa came out on top, taking her third stake of the season. In Open stakes T. Lettice Leefe reached her second final of the season, but it was to be a Coppermow day, C. Evoque taking it. In the second Open stake Winterfellin Vanilla Sky found herself alone in the final after a succession of withdrawals. For the Veterans, our 2 dog stake happened earlier in the day with a lovely win for Dawesychoice Moon Light Run and in the 4 dog stake Moonlake Mercedes was on top again.
This was our final qualifying meet of the season, I can't believe it has gone so fast!A few dogs were latecomers to the top part of the league tables, and caused a little re-shuffling. All Finalist qualifiers and reservists have been informed.
See you all on the big day!