Cliffords Pool, Raleghs Cross, Somerset TA23 0LN
What can I say other than that our luck with the weather certainly came to an end this meeting! I should remember from previous meetings that the hill at Raleghs Cross has its own micro climate. Having seen the forecast we were prepared for some wet weather, but the combined winds and fog that gusted in and out made it an extremely challenging day. I'm pleased to say, committee, members and dogs rose to the challenge and won it!
Alongside the general unpleasantness of the conditions, the day threw up many other surprises and potential issues. Starting with a large flock of sheep coming through the field to a missing quad, a missing Andy, mud, mud, sheep poo cow poo and mud, and it taking the combined efforts of three people to write on a white board, and still every one pulled together and got the meeting going and the card completed in good time. I think were all thankful for a smaller entry than usual and then some late withdrawals making the card shorter still.
We had 27 dogs competing and they didn't seem to have any concern about the weather. Its funny how whippets can look like they are about to dissolve in the lightest shower – until there is something to chase, even if it is just a plastic bag! I didn't get to see much of the runs this month due to the positioning of the gazebo, paddock and shy being placed to give best shelter, but what I did get to see, there were cracking courses, again making use of the mini hillock, and some super competitive matches.
First round was 560 yards, and saw 3 dogs make their debut. We had a pair of little boy Slippers, Fierce Fireball Emese's Dream celebrating his first birthday by winning his first ever competetive run, and Runnel Run For Fun who perhaps had slightly misinterpreted what is allowed but was certainly running for fun! Thirdly Courtbirch Forest Breeze Around Bryntreia, who had a bye due to the withdrawal of her partner.
Some of the bigger dogs provided good entertainment. First up Harerunner Heaven Sent, who started off with real commitment before losing focus and going for a close up photograph, our photographer Martin showed he had quick reactions and elastic legs by avoiding being wiped out! Twiggen Tit For Tat almost forgot to bother about the turns having set off like missile, and his partner Max Magnum at Coppermow, well I wondered if he had stopped for a picnic, or to admire the non-existent view as he went round the back of the hill, goodness only knows what he was up to as he returned from a totally illogical direction!
I'm afraid thats where my notes run out, but from memory there were a few dogs that really stood out – Ladygrove Grove Dosey Doe ran a super strong round against Wheatroyd Midnight Chimes (and Pippa's diving rugby tackles to catch her after her runs were also done wih noteworthy skill and precision!), Collooney Candyman At Alacrity ran 3 hard and fast rounds, the inclement conditions clearly suiting him, and our newcomer Courtbirch Forest Breeze Around Bryntreia winning her stake against strong competition.
There is one name that dominated the day though and that was SILVERHARE. The unstoppable Silverhare Foxy Sundance meeting his litter brother S. Farah's Sunspeed in the Sticklepath Stake Final, while their litter sister S. Fizgig Sunburst won the bitch stakes. Their breeder Fay Sechiari should be very proud of this super litter.
Despite the elements being against us, we had the card completed by mid afternoon and were able to all retreat somehwere warm and dry, with a satisfying feeling of accomplishment that we DID IT and SURVIVED! Enough thanks cannot be given to Alec, Mike, Duncan and Greg for standing out on the exposed field all day, at least the gazebos afforded the rest of us some shelter. Thanks also to all those who helped set up and pack away, it has never been done so quick!!
Big thanks also to Susie who had clearly been busy in her kitchen over the weekend, baking several cakes that were works of art, her signature meringues, and much needed this month hot homemade soup. I know I said at one point (only half jokingly) I come every month just for the cakes. SWC are lucky to have Susie volunteering to do this for us to raise money to pay for the loos. I hope you are all generous with your donatations when you get you refreshments. When I visited the portaloo yesterday in that wind, I thanked God we no longer had to use a toilet tent – maybe I should have redirected that thanks to Susie!!
Anyway, this was our last qualifying meeting of the season.... already!! So if you have had dogs running this year, check your post this week, you may have qualified for the Finals next month! If not, don't forget we have Supporting stakes so you can still come out to enjoy the day.
See you all there!!