Sunday 23rd April 2023

Frome Showground, Somerset

Judges: Laurence Winter & Sarah Meadham

Slipper: George Sell


Well, that was a truly epic meeting I know I won't be able to cover even a fraction of!


Strom trailing in the morning (Photo Credit, Lina H Lijeros)


Frome Showground was a new venue for us, and it has probably the best access and parking of any ground we have been to. The hard standing would be a huge benefit for meetings in a wetter spell. But perhaps I should modify 'best access', it was great until an RTA right at the field entrance caused such enormous tail backs a few of our unlucky members were severely delayed.

Venue, had plently of hard standing for the vehicles (Photo Credit, Lina H Liljeros)


The field itself had a few of its own challenges. There were some deep holes that the team had to work round when laying courses. The grass was fairly long and thick with wildflower. While it wasn't tall enough to stop the dogs seeing the lure, it did alter how spectators viewed the course. Having watched runs from the viewing area, the foot of the judge tower and atop it, I can say that the only way to truly see all the pulleys and turns was from above.

Our judge Laurie in position awaiting the next course (Photo Credit, Martin Abbott)


The meadow also gave our photographers a few difficulties, with getting cameras focused on dogs and not the grass. But while their task may have been tough, the results that have been shared are exquisite and made all the better by the peppering of yellow dandelions. Thank you, Elizabeth, Martin & Lina.

Flying dandelion's (Photo Credit, Martin Abbott)


The weather brought four seasons in one day, at times warm and sunny but getting increasingly cold and windy. Luckily the rain held off for much of the day and the hail was contained to a brief shower.

Running in the rain shower (Photo Credit. Lina H Liljeros)


At the April meeting of 2017, I noted a 'huge entry with 50 dogs on the card', six years later that figure is bigger than ever – 64 competing dogs and 19 trialling!

Florancy Dark and Stormy (Jointy) Debut (Photo Credit, Martin Abbott)


The first round was 560 yards and the hardest of the three to judge. As I took over to judge the Open stakes, Laurie mentioned how many very close calls there were in the Dog and Bitch stakes. Due to having my own girl entered I missed watching a few of the early runs, but I did get to see Florancy Dark and Stormy (Jonty) make his debut, Harerunner Hasta La Vista (Albin) & Veloxcanis Solis Victor (Fleet) have a tight run, and Harerunner Hurricane Fly win by just one point after a close contest with Phareal No Questions Asked at Runphar (Budd).

Harerunner Hasta La Vista (Albin) & Veloxcanis Solis Victor (Fleet)


As I took my turn on the scaffold tower, I was met straight away by a pair that made me use all my focus and concentration Cheery Violet (Verity) & Ryemeadows Mable (Mabel)! One was up, then the other, and then the other came back in. By the finish Mabel got the red flag by just half a point, that she gained by her very slight lead on the runout.

Cheery Violet (Verity) & Ryemeadows Mable (Mabel)


Wizzywips Heaven Sent (Zephyr) showed a little too much enthusiasm and impatience going in to slips, which appeared to unsettle newcomer Penbriar Rocket Star as she decided to let her run solo. Don't worry Rocket, you will soon be as loopy as the rest, I saw your beautiful cons run which will have boosted your confidence no end.

Wizzywips Heaven Sen t (Zephyr), photo credit Martin Abbott


Loroli Life's A Rollacoasta at Derohan and Sandspring Sea Hawk were inseparable on the runout. Then there were a few dogs who gave away a win that could have been theirs had they just remembered to follow the course at the end as well as the beginning!

Loroli Life's A Rollacoasta at Derohan (Photo Credit, Lina H Liljeros)


The course was reversed for second runs, unfortunately my attempt to make notes all went to pot after the first round, with nothing making sense using a card as a template to follow but minus any names. So mostly I can only give a general comment, that there were fewer tight calls, with several of the dogs not taking advantage of a lead on their partners, skipping turns and missing opportunities to pick up points. A couple memorable moments - Winterfellin Is A Free Elf at Ziradash (Dobby) having a spectacular tumble on a powerful run and yet managing to not give away a single point. 

Dobby sporting a grass stain after his tumble (Photo Credit , Martin Abbott)


And a comical episode - Penbriar Dark Secret at Mannerpool (Jack's) rather unique reaction to the lure at the end... 'Do I kill it? Nah, its already dead! And what do whippets do with long-dead things? Roll on them of course!'. Just as well for Katie the lure doesn’t have the same fragrance as a half-rotten seagull.


The raffle was drawn before the finals, and with a big entry came a big table chock full of prizes, thank you everyone who brought something, and a slap on my own wrist for forgetting, so it serves me right I didn’t win anything!

Silverhare Festive Snowelf (Photo Credit Lina H Liljeros)


It was brilliant to see some different dogs in the Finals this month, I was particularly pleased to see Laguna Locket's Loved One (Lovell) take his first win and it wasn't an easy one with Spyanfly Swan Song (Peaches) bringing her A game.


Congratulations to Marion & Don Wyatt with 2 stake winners, Silverhare Festive Snowelf (Morris) and Harerunner Hasta La Vista (Albin) plus one runner up, Ryemeadows Mabel (Mabel). What a day for you all!

Elizabeth Johnstone caught on camera in action (Photo Credit, Lina H Lijeros)


Thanks to all who came and made it a day to remember, special thanks to the team and guests who do the most vital and tiring roles – lure, quad, slipping & photography.


See you all next month!



Winners left to right, Harerunner Honeycomb, Veloxcanis Solis Victrix, Harerunner Hasta La, Silverhare Follow the Star to Silvajack, Wheatroyd Midnight Chimes,Laguna Lawn’s Lia, Runphar Ziggy Zoom, Wheatroyd Fire Into Ice, Laguna Locket’s Loved One, Penbr
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