The IGL Retriever Championship was held at Packington Hall, West Midlands by kind permission of Lord and Lady Guernsey on 3rd, 4th & 5th December.
Judges were Jim Gale, Mark Bettinson, Les McLean and Barry Taylor.
Steward of the Beat was Matt Nesbitt, Head Keeper.
1st Billy Steel Jnr's FTCh Harperrig Breac, winner of The Retriever Trials Championship Challenge Cup, The Lady Auckland Memorial Salver, The Hiwood Challenge Trophy, The IGL President's Trophy and the Lorna Countess Howe Memorial Trophy for best dog entered by an owner resident in Scotland
2nd David Field's FTCh Artistryn Ulrich, winner of The FTCh Ulstare Style Challenge Trophy for the dog placed second and The Andrea Edwards Packington Cup for the highest placed yellow in the awards
3rd Lady C Carter's FTCh Brocklebank Bronze of Chatsworth handled by John Halsted
4th Richard Hinks' FTCh Castleman's Gobi of Garronpoint handled by Annette Clarke
Diplomas of Merit awarded to:
Mrs C Finlan's FTCh Macgiriaght Foxy Lady handled by John Halsted
Donnie Leitch's FTCh Garshake Dunbar
Lady C Carter's FTCh Asterix Aguzannis of Chatsworth handled by John Halsted
David Latham's Nettlebrae Andy of Fendawood
The Kingsford-Lethbridge Trophy to the breeder of the winner was awarded to Mrs A Usher.
Billy Steel Jnr, handling FTCh Harperrig Breac, won The Retriever Trials Championship Challenge Cup for the 3rd time, previously winning in 1996 with FTCh Linksview Jet and in 2000 with FTCh Bracken of Berrybrae. In total he has qualified to run in the Championship on 23 occasions; he has also been placed 2nd, 4th and has two Diplomas of Merit including one with FTCh Leadburn Mist, sire of FTCh Harperrig Breac, in 2013.
A special mention must go to Lady Carter’s FTCh Asterix Aguzannis of Chatsworth. John Halsted qualified this dog to run in its 7th Championship this year (previously he qualified FTCh Ulstare Style seven times) and was successful in gaining a Diploma of Merit. The consistency of this dog is outstanding: also winning 1st place in 2015, 3rd in 2016 and a Diploma of Merit in 2012. This dog is the sire of Brocklebank Bronze of Chatsworth, placed 3rd in this year’s Championship.
In total 59 dogs qualified – 40 dogs and 19 bitches. There were 2 Golden Retrievers running.
Annette Clark's FTCh Castlemans Gobi of Garronpoint qualified three times over by winning the Norfolk Gundog Club, the Utility Gundog Society and the Yorkshire Gundog Club 2 Day Open Stakes.
Five dogs were double qualifiers – Declan Boyle’s FTCh Miller McDuff, Kirsty Cousins’ FTCh Dunjailin Nickel and Dimes of Westerkames, Mrs C Finlan’s FTCh Macgiriaght Foxy Lady, Ronnie Laughton’s FTCh Wytonruss Finnigan and Wayne Mitchell’s FTCh Turpingreen Barrera of Labdom.
Five dogs qualified on B qualifications (including the 1st and 2nd placed dogs).
Five handlers qualified 2 or more dogs. John Halsted qualified 5 dogs, repeating his remarkable achievement of 2015 and, exceptionally, went on to feature in the awards with no less than 3 of those dogs. Handlers Kirsty Cousins, David Latham, Sarah Miles and Steve Newitt all qualified 2 dogs.
The most prolific sires were FTCh Copperbirch Paddy of Leadburn (notably sire of Mrs C Finlan’s FTCh Macgiriaght Foxy Lady who was awarded a Diploma of Merit) and FTCh Waterford Ganton; each had four progeny qualified.
Four times winner David Latham was running in his 20th Retriever Championship. John Halsted competed in his 27th Championship and is a two times winner. In total, there were six handlers competing this year who had previously won The Retriever Trials Championship Challenge Cup.
There were also a number of handlers running in their first Championship including Sarah Miles (who did it in style, qualifying 2 dogs), Ronnie Laughton (similarly, making up his first Field Trial Champion), Julia Redpath, Lorna Sanaghan, Keith Bianchi, Nigel Probert, Tom Lowe, Roger Wade, Harry Gillanders, Kieron Coey and Katherine Impey.
The oldest dog to qualify was Keith Bianchi’s Kenine Pacifica of Ashlevel born in 2009. The youngest dog running was Harry Gillanders’ Ffynongain Celt.