SUNDAY 21st MAY 2017
CLIFFORDS POOL, RALEGHS CROSS, SOMERSET
JUDGE LAURIE WINTER SLIPPER ALEC DALGLEISH
Whoever is in charge of the weather, we must thank you for the week of rain ahead of the meeting which softened the ground beautifully. However, more efforts are required in getting the right weather for the meeting day itself! We must be taking bitter winds and cold air with us, while the rest of the country basking in sunshine, we all froze! Those members who collected new Club wear were no doubt grateful for the extra layer!
Our Somerset meetings are always a little quieter than our more central locations, but we like to give our West Country members the opportunity to attend. After a handful of withdrawals we had 35 dogs on the card, with one absent on the day, making 5 stakes and one solo veteran. We welcomed 5 new competitors and the return of several dogs for the first time this season.
Being a quieter meeting it was nice to be able to give more time to trialling and schooling. Liz Woodward joined us with Rubie, Bree and Anna, who are all at different stages of their training. Rubie ran a beautiful course in company and we hope to see her competing next time.
We had a lovely lot of puppies for schooling. Taking their first look at the lure were Jink, Iris, Stanley and Mariska. Progressing to running in muzzles from slips were Wren, Swift and a pair of Slippers, and gaining more experience with turns over a longer course was Peaches.
Also stepping out in style was one from a little larger mould than we are used to, the exquisite Bletchley!
Onto the main competition, the first round was a 660 yard gallopers course with good straights and sweeping turns. Previously at this ground we have run to the left of the entrance, this month we ran to the right, with the team utilising a hillock at the back with spectacular results! I always enjoy the challenges of grounds with 'natural obstacles' and this one was a new one for us. While most of the dogs sailed over like boys at a skate park, a few ran around the hill and a few visibly slowed as they reached the top.
Our newcomers to the field all had very impressive first runs. Combeholt Celestine, our youngest competitor won against her mother who gave a very good account of herself. Wheatroyd Midnight Chimes showed herself to be even faster than her reputation. Florancy First Love had a very close battle with Collooney Candyman at Alacrity, who himself is just back from injury and running for the first time since the Puppy Stakes in October. Ch Spyanfly Shake It On Down, I do believe our first British Show Champion, was very unlucky to have missed out on a win, nearing veteran age, yet well ahead of her younger opponent until a loose dog interrupted the course. Drakesoak Haunting at Hutaka ran an impeccable course despite his counterpart running a course entirely of his own design!
After the first round we had a short break and a chance for a much needed hot cuppa, (too many pieces of ) cake, and to spend some of the dogs' pocket money with liz and her stall of goods from Spiders Web Canine Paraphernalia. The dried duck necks have gone down very well!
Second round was a reversed, slightly shortened course. Poor Korky (Harerunner Heaven Sent) having badly skinned a pad was withdrawn, much to the Johnstone's disappointment, they were very proud of their boy making it o his first semi. Hopefully he will be in another soon.
The course, as did the previous one, bought out the very best in the dogs, but the standout run by a country mile was that of Silverhare Foxy Sundance and Winterfellin Gotta Dash, all I can say is WOW!!! These are two classy dogs who are so evenly matched, they were inseparable throughout, every time one seemed to inch forward the other found some extra speed to come back. Neither gave anything away, both maintaining pace and stamina to the end. It was not just the run of the day, it was run of the season and in fact I don't recall ever seeing better.
Another break, more tea, more cake, raffle, and more money spent at Spiders Web Canine Paraphernalia. Thank you Biddy for sterling work on the tea stall all day, and Catriona for doing the raffle tickets, between you £183 was made to pay for toilets etc next month.
The Finals course was a slightly short more tightly twisting affair, perhaps too tight looking at how some of the dogs faired.
We had some very worthy winners, with the cream of the crop rising to the top! Respectively, S. Foxy Sundance and Ameesha Pina Colada are top dog and bitch this season. SFS has been in all 3 finals, winning 2. APC has 3 out of 3 finals. Harerunner Halfpenny may also have won 2 out of 3 finals, but the arrival of Chris and Julia Cloke's two girls, Wheatroyyd Midnight Chimes and Vensuter Wheal Chimes showed very clearly the competition on the Open group has only just begun!
Not to be forgotten - Coppermow Lady Lettie, she may have won her stake by being the only veteran to enter, but thats not something she took into account, and she ran with all she had, same as she always does.
Another dog who deserves a special mention is Nathan's Ash, now renamed 'Official Course Tester', a very important job that allows our field team to make any course adjustments and the judge and luredrivers to 'get their eye in'. This was an extra important role this month as he was the only trialler running the complete course. Thanks Ash, hope you will take up the role again next month!
Thank you to everyone who came and made the day so good, and to those who helped out even in small ways, it all counts!
Thanks also for remembering to pick up after your dogs. There was no mess left on the field and we are all appreciative at not having to clear up other peoples poop!
This month I need to remind everyone that loose dogs can pose a real danger. There were several incidents of loose dogs this month, we were lucky no harm was caused but please PLEASE remember to ensure that:
1) Your dog is wearing a secure collar - think straightjacket! The collar or harness you use in everyday life may not be suitable when your docile whippet becomes Houdini on the field.
2) You remember to have a jolly good grip on the lead!
3) Your dogs are secured properly when unattended!
Entries are now being taken for our next meeting. We will be at Eiling Farm but a different field to April meet. Entries close 4th June so you don't have long!
ps - Thanks Martin Abbott for all the photos!!