Highlights and results of the Finals
Looking at the the line up for this year's Royal Canin final on 28 June, it promised to be an exciting event. One of the attractions of the Royal Canin final is that it is open to all levels and heights of dogs and, therefore, attracts many top agility dogs and handlers. Shaun Hunt, the judge, set out a course pitched at just the right level considering dogs had qualified from Beginners through to Championship standard. It was the type of course where handlers needed to work every part of it, but it was perfectly achievable. Mark Larker reports.
Now, those of you who are always busy (me) or lazy readers (me, too) who rarely read all those lengthy show reports, I thought I'd get straight to the point with some of the highlights of the event. For those of you who enjoy reading, the full report follows the highlights.
For me the four best runs were:
Other highlights were:-
In true finals style, the course was tested by the ‘white dog' TeeJay, handled by Sue Wood. Sue showed them the way to go with a nicely handled clear round. The draw resulted in Maxi dogs going first followed by Standard, Midi and Toy.
The pressure was on. Nerves were getting the better of some handlers now especially at the weaving poles. With the tunnel just after, it was too much temptation for some and they popped out before completing them.
Laura Derrett with Fish, running 16th, looked like they were on-form, although Laura was a bit fidgety on the start line - nerves or adjusting underwear. (Perhaps it's a Derrett start line routine!) If it was nerves she was soon to be putting in an adrenaline fuelled performance. Fish was on top form with incredible power, tight turns every where and superb handling. Clear round in 26.67 - the 1st round below 27 seconds we'd seen that night.
Following Laura was Dave Alderson. There was a bit of a delay on the start line while Renee, who was doing the commentary, explained to the crowd about Dave's part-time male model side line, but it didn't fluster him at all. Dave, as cool as an Easter show, put in the sort of performance we are used to seeing with Spice. Unfortunately, Spice wasn't quite as tight as Fish negotiating 12 / 13 and just came in behind him at 27.28. It was still good enough to take second place in the Maxi dog's height.
The great thing about this Royal Canin event is its open to all. In the Maxi dog final, we had Labs, crossbreeds and even Stuart Carter with Storm who still manages to put the performance in when it matters, finishing in 5th place.
Special well dones must go to the beginners in the Maxi dog height who put in some great runs up against tough opponents.
Angela Williams and her Kelpie Pi, who really is a Kelpie, put in a stunning performance, flying over the finish line in 26.19 even quicker than Fish in the previous class. Again, time made up by Pi's sheer power, drive and turning ability... oh, and Angela's handling, of course. Pi was the fastest dog on Shaun's course on the night and a well deserved winner of the Standard class.
Some good handling and determination was seen on the course with other exceptional runs by Morag Harris, finishing 2nd with Murran who also did a lovely run, and Sue Choux with Sassy who were 3rd with another very enjoyable run to watch.
Last to run was Lisa Le Signe with her Sheltie Chi. This was the one to watch. They produced an excellent run demonstrating very good handling; clear in 28.11 taking 1st place.
Shaun's course was definitely proving more testing for these Toy dogs. By the time Paul Isaac, a Junior handler, entered the ring with his JRT X Scooby at 15, we had only seen 6 clears. Paul and Scooby did a superb clear run in 35.31 which wasn't quick enough for the final line-up but still a run to be proud of.
The last five would determine the final results. David Alderson was back in the ring this time with Libby who needs no introduction. This pair is always exciting to watch. Libby's speed is amazing and how David manages to control a little dog going at such a pace is fun to watch. They didn't put a foot wrong over the course. Every turn was tight and accurate, the contacts fast and solid and, unlike many dogs, they managed to complete the weaves quickly and accurately. They finished clear in 29.66 going in to first place.
The final dog to run was Tia, a Sheltie, handled by Marilyn Adams. They knew they had to fly to beat Libby, and they had a really good go at achieving that. This pair put in a really good performance, finishing in 31.84 taking them into second place.
Thank you to Royal Canin for their sponsorship of the UK Agility Grand Prix 2008. For more information on Royal Canin Dog Food, please visit their web page www.royalcanin.co.uk