The morning of the first day was clear as the line set off in the white grass and bracken. Judges Keith Bedford and Lynn Mitchell were on the right and Phil Parkins and Damian Newman on the left; they had decided that it was to be one retrieve in the first round. The first bird shot was a woodcock and Leigh Jackson’s FTCh Laggengill Dawn of Blackgrass made an efficient job of picking this moving bird that had been shot into thick bracken over the brow off the right of the line. Soon afterwards Int FTCh Miller McDuff and Declan Boyle started their campaign as they were tried on a bird shot in front of the line. They did not find it and nor did Tagabea Pretty Thing of Luddesdowne handled by Kelvin Nettleingham or the judges. Int FTCh Miller McDuff was then taken over to the left hand side of the line where he cleanly picked a bird from an area that the first two dogs tried had failed to make.
As the line progressed, a hen pheasant was shot off the end of the right hand side of the line over a brow and the fence behind. Unfortunately, neither of the right hand dogs was able to make the area but Dawn Scott with FTCh Diglake Jasmin, brought over from the left hand side of the line, after some pushing did succeed to pick.
It was a long Championship line and even in the first round the dogs were stretched. Richard Johnston with IR FTCh Trefaldwyn Kribensis of Shadowbreae made an impressive job as second dog tried on a woodcock shot by the extreme right hand gun positioned on the other side of a wide gully from the dogs.
Katarina Ljungquist and Meadowlark Humpty Dumpty made an excellent start in the second round, picking second dog on a bird which had been shot off the end of the left hand side and which, somewhat unusually, had moved back in towards the line.
Ffnongain Buzzard of Wauniago picked one of the most memorable retrieves of the Championship and was the first dog to earn applause from the gallery. This was on a moving bird where the dog persevered at length, working the bracken without assistance from handler Mike Jones, eventually to pick.
The afternoon came to its conclusion at a small duck pool where dogs were sent for retrieves the length of the line. Daniel Marx’s Lockthorn Ziva made easy work of a retrieve from the top of the bracken bank on the left and then down and over a fence at the bottom to pick a duck that the first dog tried had failed on.
The judges conferred and 39 dogs were through to Day 2.
Conditions were to be difficult on the second day; at times because of the mist and heavy rain it wasn’t possible to see from one end of the line to the other. The poor visibility caused problems both for the handlers, who at times struggled to see their dogs, and for the judges who may not always have been able to stretch the dogs as much as they would have liked.
Rueben Corbett with Ticefield Dazed N’Confused made an early promising start by picking behind Tony Parnell and Mordonmanor Bree of Blackharn. As the line walked forward, on the right there was an area of cover crop fenced at the bottom of a bracken bank with grazing beyond. Mark Demaine’s Burrendale Fergie of Caytonfell produced good work once it had located the fall to work the area and pick a moving bird from this cover crop. Kevin Butler’s Turpingreen Ando was undaunted by the fenced area of game crop, unlike the first dog tried on this retrieve, and took his handler’s direction to jump and pick from the field beyond. Clare Baker and FTCh The Windbreak Whisperer of Arcklebear retrieved a pheasant from deeper back into that same field when the first dog tried had failed to settle and locate.
The judges were to eye wipe four dogs on a bird shot behind the line off the right hand side; this was a retrieve of well over 150 yards over a fence and down into a gully. The visibility was poor. It was tried first by left hand dogs W L Steel ‘s FTCh Mitforton Oscar of Leadhills and Tess Lawrence’s Hawksworth Sirooco handled by Kirsty Cousins and when they failed to pick the right hand dogs – Louie Roberton’s FTCh Mitforton Nacho and Kelvin Nettleingham’s Tagabea Pretty Thing of Luddesdowne were also tried. Forward judge Lynn Mitchell could see the bird on the ground, the last dog tried was only a few yards short but such is trialling and all were gone.
Dr Jackie Hay’s FTCh Laggengill Delta showed its local roots when sent second dog on a bird that ultimately was not found: the “English” dog tried first jumped the fiddle fence – the “Scottish” dog hardly broke pace as it ran through it.
Lady C Carter’s FTCh Asterix Aguzannis of Chatsworth handled by John Halsted showed its gamefinding as third dog on a duck which was tucked up in some reeds and white grass.
The day ended again with a duck drive and the judges decided that there were 21 dogs to be seen on the third and final day.
It is testament to the expertise and thorough preparations of Head Keeper Brian Dickson and his team that it proved no challenge to produce the game required on the last day to test the dogs put through.
The weather finally lifted and panoramic views stretching to both the east and west of Scotland could now be admired. It was now possible to see the full length of the line and for the judges to demand of the remaining dogs and handlers work of the highest standard.
Daniel Marx and Lockthorn Ziva provided the first excitement of the day when they picked behind the first three dogs tried on a long retrieve across the line in the heather. Sadly, their solid run came to an end ar their next retrieve.
Matty Lambden’s IR FTCh Tamrose Aragon was sent for a partridge shot low on the far horizon. The dog thundered to the fall area and, with only a hunt whistle from the handler, held the area and hunted to pick quickly and return with the bird - and earned well deserved applause from the gallery.
Nathan Laffy’s Golden Retriever dog Think Twice Zero to Hero picked behind Paul Dukes’s Brocklebank Boorbon who had been going well and shown quality work.
FTCh Tanyrhallt Blue Bloods handled by Jamie Bettinson showed its style, hunting hard to pick a moving bird in a plantation on the hill.
The last bird of the 5th round was picked in spectacular style by David Field’s FTCh Artistryn Ulrich. A pheasant was shot far off the end of the left hand side of the line. Handler and dog may have marked the line of the fall but it was not possible to see the fall area as it was over a brow and nearly 180 yards down the hill. Handler and dog were walked forward to be sent and once the dog was in the fall area it was left to do its job – its style in hunting the area and perseverance to pick was first class – one of the outstanding retrieves of this Championship.
The 6th round commenced and was full of drama. Declan Boyle’s Int FTCh Miler McDuff prompted loud applause from the gallery in taking a line in the heather to pick a running bird. FTCh Asterix Aguzannis of Chatsworth raced to retrieve a wounded bird and fully somersaulted as it picked off the fall. Mark Demaine’s Burrendale Fergie of Caytonfell made an efficient job of picking behind Clare Baker and FTCh The Windbreak Whisperer of Arcklebear, a partnership which to that point had been performing strongly.
The final round took place at a duck drive on a large lake bordered in parts by rhododendron bushes where the remaining ten dogs were all tried on a water retrieve and the final placings decided. Declan Boyle’s Int FTCh Miller McDuff yet again picked cleanly, their 9th and final retrieve, so cementing their undisputed Championship success.Subsequently, this partnership has also gone on to win, for the second year running, the Irish Championship.
1st Declan Boyle’s Int FTCh Miller McDuff, winner of The Retriever Trials Championship Challenge Cup, The Lady Auckland Memorial Salver, The Hiwood Challenge Trophy and The IGL President's Trophy (this dog qualified by winning the Irish Retriever Championship)
2nd Wendy Glue's FTCh Tanyrhallt Blue Bloods handled by Jamie Bettinson, winner of The FTCh Ulstare Style Challenge Trophy for the dog placed second
3rd Matty Lambden’s IR FTCh Tamrose Aragon
4th Mike Jones’s Ffnongain Buzzard of Wauniago
Diplomas of Merit awarded to:
Nathan Laffy’s (Golden Retriever) Think Twice Zero To Hero (also awarded Guns Choice)
Lee Hartis’s FTCh Troddenmills Full Throttle of Leacaz
Lady C Carter’s FTCh Asterix Aguzannis of Chatsworth handled by John Halsted (this dog has qualified to run in the Championship a record eight times and been in the awards on no less than five occasions including a win in 2015 at the Queensbury Estate in Dumfries and Galloway)
Louie Robertson’s Mitforton Onour
Mark Demaine’s Burrendale Fergie of Caytonfell
David Field’s FTCh Artistryn Ulrich
Some facts & figures:
This year 64 dogs qualified to run - 47 dogs and 17 bitches. Four Golden Retrievers qualified. 62 competed as Scott Marland’s Greenbriar Tame was not running and W G Steel was not defending his title with FTCh Harperrig Breac as the dog was recovering from a ligament injury sustained during the grouse count.
Phil Highfield’s FTCh Mistigris Finn of Featherfly achieved two ‘A’ and two ‘B’ qualifications.
Double qualifiers were Mark Demaine’s Burrendale Fergie of Caytonfell, Mrs J Drysdale’s FTCh Highwalk Kerry handled by Sam Drysdale, Lee Hartis’s FTCh Troddenmills Full Throttle of Leacaz, Tess Lawrence’s Hawksgarth Sirooco handled by Kirsty Cousins and Derek Hill’s FTCh Stauntonvale Moose Milk handled by Laura Hill.
Among the dogs qualified with one ‘A’ and one ‘B’ qualification were Keith Broomfield with FTCh Polihale Vodka Surprise, Declan Boyle with Int. FTCh Miller McDuff, Dr Jackie Hay with FTCh Laggengill Delta, Nathan Laffy with Think Twice Zero to Hero, Louie Robertson with FTCh Mitforton Nacho, Tony Rodgers with Highwalk Galway, Lady C Carter's FTCh Brocklebank Bronze of Chatsworth handled by John Halsted and the Duchess of Devonshire's FTCh Brocklebank Navigator of Chatsworth also handled by John Halsted..
Three dogs qualified on ‘Bs’ – Simon Capstick’s Drakeshead Casey, Terry Prentice’s FTCh Hitowngreen Diamond Joe of Findpoint and Steve Richardson’s FTCh Birdsgreen Cluedo of Wedgenock.
John Halsted, running in his 28th Championship, qualified four dogs and Louie Robertson qualified two.
Lady Carter’s FTCh Asterix Aguzannis of Chatsworth was qualified by handler John Halsted to compete for a record 8th time in this event. This was the oldest dog running, born April 2010, and certainly the most successful – 1st in 2015, 3rd in 2016 and awarded Diplomas of Merit in 2012, 2018 and 2019.
David Field’s FTCh Artistryn Ulrich aged 6 years old was running in his 5th Championship.
The youngest dog was Nathan Laffy’s Golden Retriever dog Think Twice Zero to Hero which was whelped 21.05.17.
Many familiar faces qualified again including four previous winning handlers: Keith Broomfield, John Halsted, Leigh Jackson and W G Steel.
First time handlers included Katarina Ljungquist, Henrik Hanson, David Wall, Sandra Onens, Kelly Rogers-Davidson, Lee Hayman, Dr Jackie Hay, Richard Johnston, Sharon Dingle, Noah Parsons, Henrik Vilendal, Simon Capstick, Mike Forbes, Sam Drysdale, Damian Kelly, Matty Lambden, Kelvin Nettleingham and Mike Jones.
FTCh Eastdale Harry, FTCh Ferbury Lancelot of Smithsteads and FTCh Waterford Featherman were the most prolific sires this year; each with three progeny running.The Draw:
|1||Leigh Jackson||FTCh Laggengill Dawn of Blackgrass|
|2||Katarina Ljungquist||Meadowlark Humpty Dumpty|
|3||Nathan Laffy||Think Twice Zero to Hero|
|4||Andrew Slingsby||FTCh Arkglas Taylor|
|5||Paul Dukes||Brocklebank Boorbon|
|6||Michael Jones||Ffynongain Buzzard of Wauniago|
|7||Tim Brain||FTCh Amancio Tirpitz of Flypatch|
|8||Jim Collins||FTCh Brockaghs Forba|
|9||Declan Boyle||INT FTCh Miller McDuff|
|10||Kelvin Nettleingham||Tagabea Pretty Thing of Luddesdowne|
|11||Stuart Arch||Gwynteg Fyne|
|12||Louie Robertson||FTCh Mitforton Nacho|
|13||William L Steel||FTCh Mitforton Oscar of Leadhills|
|14||John Williamson||Tealcreek Isla|
|15||John Barr Jr||Shimnavale Jasmine of Drumnamoe|
|16||Kirsty Cousins||Hawksgarth Sirooco|
|17||Steve Richardson||FTCh Birdsgreen Cluedo of Wedgenock|
|18||John Halsted||FTCH Brocklebank Navigator of Chatsworth|
|20||Andy Latham||Aneeterbeg Seamus|
|21||Sam Drysdale||FTCh Highwalk Kerry|
|22||Dr Jackie Hay||FTCh Laggengill Delta|
|23||Dawn Scott||FTCh Diglake Jasmin|
|24||Laura Hill||Stauntonvale Moose Milk|
|25||Kelly Rogers-Davidson||Loveloch Valentino|
|26||Daniel Marx||Lockthorn Ziva|
|27||Alan Rees||Fendawood Ecclestone of Delfryd|
|28||Lee Hayman||Copperbirch Ross|
|30||Noah Parsons||FTCh Nettle Brae Andy of Fendawood|
|31||Peter Abbs||Greenfox Viper at Scarningvale|
|32||Sharon Dingle||FTCh Bellspaddle Intrepid|
|33||John Halsted||FTCh Macgiriaght Foxy Lady|
|34||Terry Prentice||FTCh Hitowngreen Diamond Joe of Findpoint|
|35||Glynis Hillier||Lannakers Quest of Tofts|
|36||Richard Johnston||IR FTCh Trefaldwyn Kribensis of Shadowbrae|
|37||Tony Parnell||Mordonmanor Bree of Blackharn|
|38||Rueben Corbett||Ticefield Dazed N'confused|
|39||Chris Aston||Balibuntal Panama|
|40||Mike Forbes||Omachie Jock Scott|
|41||John Halsted||FTCh Brocklebank Bronze of Chatsworth|
|42||Lee Hartis||FTCh Troddenmills Full Throttle of Leacaz|
|43||Simon Capstick||Drakeshead Casey|
|44||John Halsted||FTCh Asterix Aguzannis of Chatsworth|
|45||Phil Highfield||FTCh Mistigris Finn of Featherfly|
|46||Damien Kelly||Dees Companion|
|47||Henrik Vilendal||Vilendal Quasimodo|
|48||David Wall||Buccleuch Warrick|
|49||Keith Broomfield||FTCh Polihale Vodka Surprise|
|50||Tony Rodgers||Highwalk Galway|
|51||Steve McDermott||Westmacott Gunner|
|52||Louie Robertson||Mitforton Onour|
|53||N Henrik Hanson||Drakeshead Calico|
|54||Matty Lambden||IR FTCh Tamrose Aragon|
|55||Brian Dodsworth||Hazeloaks Wigeon|
|56||Polly Dunckley||Castlemans Oasis of Smithsteads|
|57||Allie Hogsbjerg||Quarnford Pochard of Rufriver|
|58||Kevin Butler||Turpingreen Ando|
|59||Clare Baker||FTCh The Windbreak Whisperer of Arcklebear|
|60||Jamie Bettinson||FTCh Tanyrhallt Blue Bloods|
|61||Mark Demaine||Burrendale Fergie of Caytonfell|
|62||Tom Forgie||FTCH Jocksburn Jock|
|63||Sandra Onens||Kestrelway Harry|
|64||David Field||FTCh Artistryn Ulrich|