19 March 2023:

Ruglands Farm, Somerset

Judge: Mark Bicknell

Slipper: Duncan Nicholls


Well what a CORKER of an opening meeting, I'm not sure it could have been any better. The field was perfect for setting out good courses with great viewing for spectators. The weather gods blessed us with surprisingly warm sunshine. I don't think anyone was expecting T-shirt weather and to be scrabbling in the glovebox rubble looking for sun tan lotion. 

Photo Credit: Martin Abbott


The first round was a lovely 660 yard course, making best use of the incline of the field. I was very pleased to see that this test of stamina showed the majority of whippets to be in good fit condition, often there are many still soft from a winter off. Credit to all the humans for the efforts, it's not been easy with the weeks of frozen ground then mud wallows that followed, but your hard work paid off, it was a morning full of brilliant performances, and it was a shame any had to get knocked out. 

Double bye, Laguna Link's and Winterfellin Dashin Comet avec Elstoto (Photo credit Sarah Meadham)


One of the opening courses of the day resulted in Link setting out as cream but returned to Lilah a mud/sheep-poo particolour! The dog stakes were followed by bitches, where a wonky number of entries created a stake with several byes, and only one pair competing for a place in a second-round place. Taltonia Fion's Azora of Runphar was the unfortunate one not to make it through. Ultra Violet made her debut in the Hartford stakes, giving a strong run, but losing out on a little inexperience to Veloxcanix Solis Venatrix who bought her 'A' game and rediscovered follow.

Ultra Violet (Photo Credit: Martin Abbott)


The Open bitch stakes followed, 3 more lovely girls making their debuts again all just missing out to their experienced partners...this time! Silverhare Fortis Saxon and Hedgerunner Blue and Lonesome at Runphar had a particularly determined battle at the start of their course, with neither giving an inch as the pushed for the run out.

Silverhare Fortis Saxon and Hedgerunner Blue and Lonesome at Runphar coming out of slips (Photo Credit Sarah Meadham)


After a late withdrawal in the mixed Open Stakes and a little shuffle of the running order, the Shillingford became a 4 dog stake, which should have been renamed the McDonald Stakes, with three of them belonging to Katie. Lavebella Life's a Breeze's creative run saw her bow out from that stake. 

4 of the open stake dogs (Photo credit Elizabeth Johnstone)


There were quite a few lure-wise dogs in the last of the Open stakes, which didn't work in their favour. However they had nothing on some of the veterans, who excelled redefining the course, but in doing so gave the field team a bit of a scare as they criss-crossed the line in the process.


After a break and sometime to catch up with friends, the course was reversed and we were onto round 2. The boys put on quite a show, one lad hoping to make it X rated with a reluctant partner, while Harerunner Hombre Estrella and Laguna Lunas Link introduced some acrobatics. 

Winterfellin Dashin Comet avec Elstoto and Harerunner Huricane Fly (Photo credit Martin Abbott)


Bitch stakes saw litter sisters Coppermow Moonstone and C. Skadi meet with Greg’s Skadi coming out on top. Greg’s other C. Velar, 2022 Top Bitch pipped Silverhare Fortis Secret who just ran out of a little puff on the hill.

Coppermow Velar and Silverhare Fortis Secret (Photo credit Martin Abbott)


In the Open stakes there was a cracking run between Silverhare Fortis Saxon and Darting Dipper, the latter taking the win.

Silverhare Fortis Saxon and Darting Dipper (Photo credit Sarah Meadham)


After the second round, the raffle was drawn while a new course was laid. What a generous bunch you all are! A table fully spread with gorgeous prizes, and £190 raised from the tickets. But perhaps we need to bring a Pantone chart next month to decide the correct colour of the tickets? Pink, which one’s pink? Is this one lilac? Maybe dusky heather?


Harerunner Hombre Estrella and Harerunner and Huricane Fly (Photo credit Martin Abbott)


Onto the Finals, starting off with a pair of Harerunner boys. Wow, what a run! One moment one was a point up, then the other, then Harerunner Hurricane Fly looked like he was ready to dominate, but H. Hombre Estrella (Falcon) pushed hard to get ahead at the top of the field then managed to just hang onto that lead for the last part of the course. Well done Falcon, you made a few sit up and take notice today! In the Woolcotts dog stakes Phareal No Questions Asked at Runphar took a massive tumble but got up running, and finished as strong as he started, but the win went to Winterfellin Is A Free Elf at Ziradash (Dobby). Dobby took time to reach full maturity, so it was delightful to see him come into his own and win his first main adult stake.

Winterfellin Is A Free Elf at Ziradash AKA Dobby (Photo Credit Elizabeth Johnstone)


The Winsford Stake Final was a Coppermow affair between Greg’s C. Velar (Peppa) C. Skadi,  with Peppa proving she’s still the one to beat in 2023. In the Harford Stakes Kate’s Snap (Veloxcanis Solis Venatrix) had another great run with Gemstone Luna Saphire at Runphar coming runner up in her first competition.

Veloxcanis Solis Venatrix and Gemstone Luna Saphire at Runphar (Photo Credit Martin Abbott)


In the two Open bitch stakes, Stacey and Ashley’s Verity (Cheery Violet) proved an unstoppable force and Andy an Mandy’s Paige (Darting Dipper) a force to be reckoned with! 

Darting Dipper and Vidaymi See The Stars (Photo credit Martin Abbott)


In the newly renamed McDonald stakes Jimi (Dejare Official Secret) pushed his kennel mate Jett (Penbriar Jett Setter of Solentwaves) harder than I expected.... until he had a moment of madness, veered off course and ran full pelt toward the scaffold tower, making the judge stood atop it brace for impact, which thank goodness never came!

Jimi (Dejare Official Secret) and his kennel mate Jett (Penbriar Jett Setter of Solentwaves) (Photo credit Martin Abbott)


In the last of the Open stakes came the closest match of the day. The two blue boys, Di’s Levi and Sharon and Brians boy whose name I am yet to learn, but there are a lot of Runphars! There was nothing between them, with Runphar Gemini Double Take just snatching the win from Denimblue Willdo on the final sprint to the take.

Runphar Gemini Double Take (Photo credit Martin Abbott)


Bringing the day to a close as the temperature started to drop, the veterans. Elaine’s Winterfellin Gotta Dash Avec Elstoto, twice winner of the Laguna Veteran Trophy taking a win to add to his impressive record. 

Winterfellin Gotta Dash avec Elstoto (Photo credit Sarah Meadham)


A special award must go to Launa Lawn’s Lupin and Ringmore Day Lily for their patience. In a two dog stake involving just one run, the had to wait for the last course of the day. A lovely run by both with Lupin winning this time, they will no doubt meet again in the month’s ahead.

Laguna Lupin (Photo Credit Sarah Meadham)


Ok... anyone still reading?!


The presentation of usual awards was preceded by a few gifts and thank yous, and then a special moment was seeing Di’s reaction on receiving a surprise award for Dark Wing who retired at the end of 2022 following an illustrious lure coursing career with SWC.

Di Webber receiving a special award to celebrate Dark Wing's retirement (Photo credit Martin Abbott)


Lastly, I just want to acknowledge what a fantastic job the SWC team did. In recent weeks there has been a lot of change and reorganisation of roles, with new members and returning members to the committee. It all clicked on the day, paddock and field ran like clock work, and the laughter I heard from the paddock speaks volumes. 

Ashley Haynes our newly appointed quad driver (Photo credit Martin Abbott)


Well done all, and massive thanks to all those who helped in ways big and small, but especially Ashley on the quad, Alec on the hook and trainee lure driver James (my favourite UKSS interloper).

James and Phil on the Lure (Photo credit Martin Abbott)


Same again in April? Yes please! See you all there!




Ps good luck to all our members running in the UKSS Spring Champs!


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