Sunday 14th May 2023:

Swerford Park, Swerford, Chipping Norton.

Judge: Tony Dent, Slipper: George Sell


Our May meeting was another epic and action-packed event of many highs, a few lows, love, laughter and tears.

Photo Credit Liljeros Design


We had another whopping entry, with 61 dogs competing, 14 trialling, and special runs for a saluki, greyhound and terrier. Swerford was a new location for us, and it couldn't have been more picturesque, the quintessential English meadow on a warm summer day. I thought last month's peppering of dandelions was special, but that was nothing compared to the sea of yellow buttercups at Swerford. As pretty as the scene was, it was a difficult ground, with stands of trees, patches of nettles, and areas where the grass was knee-high limiting options for course layout, and making visibility for the lure drivers and some of the dogs an issue. Luckily after the quad had been round a few times flattening a track this was less of a problem.


For the first course we had an unusual layout, approximately 580 yards and too hard to describe, so you will have to admire my attempt to draw it!


After a first group of triallers, bitch stakes began the competition. First up Northwhip She's A Lady of Whisterfield (Rosie) put in the best run I've seen from her. Her partner Coppermow Velar (Peppa) had got the run out, but overshot the first turn and struggled to find the lure again in the long grass. Rosie's keen focus led and tight turning led her to the win, making Angela eat her words after she had said she was the slowest dog on the field and didn't stand a chance. Harerunner Honeycombe (Fig) with Coppermow Skadi (Skadi) and Ultra Violet (Teasel) with Veloxcanis Solis Venatrix (Snap) were two super close matches, worthy of the finals of Finals Day! The type of courses that are a thrill to watch, pure poetry!

Lady of Whisterfield (Rosie) and Coppermow Velar (Peppa) (Photo Credit: Martin Abbott)


Next came the dog stakes with Harerunner Highly Prized (Hugo) starting a new trend of incorporating long-jump and high-jump to clear the nettle clusters. It makes good sense if you are a small boy with low hanging fruit I suppose! Silverhare Festive Snowelf (Morris) and Laguna Lunas Link (Link) tried to out scream each other in slips and Link had no qualms pushing Morris out his way in his in order to make an early shortcut. Harerhunner Hurricane Fly (Tinto) made sure there was not a chance of becoming unsighted and stuck to the lure like glue. Harerunner Hombre Estrella (Falcon) and Phareal No Questions Asked at Runphar (Budd) ran a double bye, but it was another beautiful course, with a synchronised dive on the lure at the end Tom Daley could only dream of .

Harerunner Hombre Estrella (Falcon) and Phareal No Questions Asked at Runphar (Budd) (Photo Credit: Martin Abbott)


Onto the veteran stakes, and the return to the field from (in)voluntary retirement for Harerunner Halfpenny (Sylvia). She was clearly very happy to be back though following the lure seemed to have been missed from her agenda. Laguna Lawn's Le Lundi (Wallace) surprised Sue because of his tendancy to cheat, well not this time, he ran beautifully and thoroughly and really made Winterfellin Gotta Dash avec Elstoto (Ringo) work for the win!

Harerunner Halfpenny (Sylvia) (Photo Credit Martin Abbott)


The Open stakes were the final group. Florancy Hot Shot (Browning) badly overshot the first turn and must have given himself an extra 100 yards to make up which was just too much. Ch Lolani Cafe Amore (Asher) was left with a comfortable lead, and even though he ended the course a little early, proudly catching and picking up the second to last cone, the win was his. Harerunner Heartfelt (Logan) returned to the field after a year's absence due to shoulder surgery. It was so lovely to see him running again and coming off sound. Runphar Gemini Double Take (Gemini) reminded me of my old bitch Ivy. You could see him using his brain, assessing the course on the run out trying to read the layout, and you could see him very quickly understand that this was one needing full focus and follow, and that's what he gave, with a very powerful run. Denimblu Willdo (Levi) and Rathglass Captain Midnight dispelled the myth that bigger dogs can't turn. Penbriar Jet Setter (Jett) and Penbriar Rocket Star (Rocket) were paired in a double bye. I was very happy to see Rocket run with such enthusiasm after her wobble last month. P. Jet Setter baffled us all when he over shot a turn at the bottom of the field and disappeared from sight! One moment he was there, then he wasn't, it was like the Bermuda Triangle had come to Oxfordshire. Luckily it was just an undulation in the landscape and he soon popped back over the brow. Sandspring Sea Hawk (Kitty) was determined to run to the left and left herself out the running. Lavebella Life's A breeze (Bracken) took an abstract approach. Royal Tudor Storm Diana (Purdy) showed lovely speed and follow, not quite enough this time, but her day will come. Vidaymi See the Stars (Eva) and Littlebriton Secret Love's (Mabel) acrobatics in slips resulted in them needing to be rebuckled, and reminded to wait for the 'starting pistol'. Loroli Life's A Rollacoaster at Derohan (Jacinthe) was having a storming run until.... well, I don't know! She didnt appear to become insighted, but she took a sudden 90 degree turn off course and bolted straight across the field. Galemira Starlight Express, making her debut, stayed on course and took the win.

Florancy Hot Shot (Browning) and Ch Lolani Cafe Amore (Asher) (Photo Credit Martin Abbott)


PHEW! If you are still reading, that's first round done - luckily there are far fewer runs to cover in the next rounds.

Our special spectator, the Bluetit (Photo Credit Martin Abbott)


During the lunch break I was called on to use my foghorn voice and summon everyone to a gather for a very special and emotional presentation to the one and only Sharon Dalgleish. Founder of SWC, former secretary and our Chair for the last 7 years or so, we all wanted to thank her for the hardwork, friendship, support and encouragement she has tirelessly offered all members and their dogs. I know she was caught off guard, but I hope she felt the love as she was presented with her beautiful gifts and we all gave three cheers and a few tears.

Photo Credit Martin Abbott


Ok, ready for the second round!? This was 560 yards, the first reversed with some adjustments. H. Honeycombe was having a lovely run until she got unsighted , but not being one to give up she scanned the field until she spotted the lure and set off straight into the path of Coppermow Moonstone (Willow) narrowly avoiding a head on collision. Silverhare Fortis Secret (Eos) and Ultra Violet had a little jostle as they struggled to separate themselves through the first section. L. Luna's Link and the H. Hurricane Fly in successive runs took off straight towards the scaffold tower, so committee hastily put up a windbreak as a visual deterrent and physical barrier, which seemed to do the trick. Zoraden Bright Star (Keats) made a strike for the lure at the bottom of the field, and though he recovered well from a quadruple somersault he couldnt make up the lost ground. Veloxcanis Solis Victor (Fleet) had a seemingly perfect, incident free run, but as he came down the final straight his gait changed and it was clear something wasn't right. In fact it was very wrong. Healing thoughts for Fleet and Phillippa.

Veloxcanis Solis Victor and Laguna Luna’s Link (Photo Credit Sarah Meadham)


A second break, the raffle drawn, and course re-set. A shorter course just over 400 yards, circuiting the stand of trees. It was a challenge to the lure drivers to see the lure and keep it the right distance ahead of the dogs, several of the trialling pairs got unsighted, with owners probably wondering where their dogs were, and what was happening behind the trees. I watched one pair running have an exquisitely matched twisting and turning run together, just a shame they weren't actually chasing something! Ashley was then deployed and did a lovely waltz with the quad to flatten down the grass, which must have grown another 6" over the day. 

Coppermow Sika (Photo Credit Lijeros Design)


Our Finalists - WOWEE! You know they are good when every one gets a round of applause. Tony and Gillian Warne had a wonderful day with their homebred brother and sister Nita & Neymar Pilgrimsway winning their stakes. Stacey and Ashley Haynes also got a double, sisters Ultra Violet (winning her first stake) and Cheery Violet (back on top form). For the second month in a row, Marion and Don Wyatt took home two winners, this time Harerunner Hasta La Vista (Albin) and Ryemeadows Mable (Mabel). Lilah and Richard Wainman's Laguna Lawns Lupin (Lupin) and Julia and Chris Cloke's Wheatroyd Midnight Chimes (Dottie) both won their veteran stakes for the second month on the trot. Deb Yates and Laurie Winters' Ch Lolani Cafe Amore won his first stake and became the first show champion to win at SWC. And last but not Least, Brian and Sharon Tomkinsons Runphar Gemini Double Take got his second stake win of the season, making him the current top scoring Whippet .  Congratulations all!!

The winners (Photo Credit Elaine Jenkinson)


Thank you to all who came, who helped, who cheered the successes and assisted with the difficulties. And finally, welcome to the new faces, I hope you and your dogs enjoyed your first experience with the club.

Sarah Meadham with Camera and Notes in hand (Photo Credit Martin Abbott)


I'll be judging next month, so does anyone fancy stepping in to report on the day?



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