Top dogs have their day

This year, the an­nual Easter Gun­dog Re­triev­ing Trial was run at Heart Mo­rass by the Vic­to­rian Gun­dog Club as­sisted by the newly formed Gipp­s­land Re­triev­ing Club.

Field and Game - - FGA BRANCH NEWS -

Re­triev­ing tri­als were started more than 100 years ago by shoot­ers who wanted to test who had the best gun dog. In those days com­pe­ti­tion was fierce and live game was used for the re­trieves. To­day the com­pe­ti­tion is still fierce to see who has brag­ging rights but there is no longer any live game used.

Over Easter, com­peti­tors camped at the mag­nif­i­cent Heart Mo­rass at Sale. The first day saw com­peti­tors go to their re­spec­tive stakes in dif­fer­ent parts of the Mo­rass. Duck hunters were also camped and present at the Heart but they were fin­ished chas­ing their feathered friends by the time the trial started. Some of the hunters took the op­por­tu­nity to come and have a look at the tri­alling dogs in ac­tion.

Com­peti­tors came from Vic­to­ria, Queens­land, NSW and Western Aus­tralia to run their dogs. At tri­als, labradors tend to have the most en­tries as they are a very ver­sa­tile and hardy breed of dog, pop­u­lar with hunters. There were also a good num­ber of ger­man short­haired point­ers to­gether with weimaran­ers, golden re­triev­ers, flat coated re­triev­ers and the odd spaniel.

On the first day, novice stake saw a great field of 25 dogs that im­pressed the judge, Mrs Mar­garet Hall. Mark Davis won it with a pup he bred him­self and was only one point ahead of Gar­rick Bridges. Mark scored 175 points out of a pos­si­ble 180, so he did not do too much wrong.

Cather­ine Thor­burn, who trav­elled from Western Aus­tralia, judged re­stricted stake. Di Mccann and her young GSP won the event, ahead of Jim Har­g­reaves with his golden re­triever.

All age was fiercely com­peted with only four points sep­a­rat­ing the first four dogs. Jim Har­graves got the lol­lies just ahead of Rus­sell Whitechurch, Kevin An­drews and John Stott.

On Satur­day, com­peti­tors packed up and trav­elled a short dis­tance to new tri­alling grounds just out of Sale. A good field of 26 dogs started in novice un­der the watch­ful eye of judge Leanne O'sul­li­van. Leanne broke a fin­ger in the morn­ing be­fore the trial started but com­pleted her du­ties be­fore go­ing to hos­pi­tal Satur­day evening and get­ting it at­tended to. Gutsy ef­fort, Leanne!

Leanne set two nice runs over flat farm­ing coun­try be­fore putting the dogs into the water for the fi­nal run of the day. Rus­sell Thomas scored heav­ily to win from the un­lucky Gar­rick Bridges, who was run­ner-up again. Mark Davis was not far away in third position.

Di Mccann had an­other win in re­stricted, just one point ahead of Mal Tyrie.

Cham­pi­onship and vet­eran judge Trevor Stevens set some very test­ing runs for all age dogs, in­clud­ing a third run that saw nu­mer­ous dogs elim­i­nated and oth­ers sorely tested. Most of th­ese lost dogs picked up the wrong bird. The run con­sisted of a bird thrown into the water about 100 m up­stream of the dog. Dogs lost sight of the bird once it hit the water and han­dlers lost vis­ual con­tact with their dogs once they went to re­trieve.

Once in the water, a se­cond bird was thrown over the dog — the task was to bring back the first bird to the han­dler and re­mem­ber where the se­cond bird landed so it could be gath­ered in a sep­a­rate re­trieve.

Bob Taw­ton took out first prize with his im­ported labrador, Aussie. Bob has been tri­alling since the 1970s and is an ex­cel­lent han­dler, hav­ing won nu­mer­ous Na­tional Cham­pi­onships. Right be­hind Bob was John Lawton and Leanne O'sul­li­van.

Sun­day brought dif­fer­ent runs and ter­rain for the dogs and their han­dlers. Judge Car­rick Bridges de­cided to test the novice dogs by throw­ing a bird across a small creek, up a hill and into some tus­socks with his first run. He then mixed up the ter­rain with a flat­ter se­cond run fol­lowed by a swim across water and a re­trieve from the op­po­site shore for the dogs. Most dogs got through the test with the win­ner be­ing Trevor Stow, fol­lowed by Rus­sell Thomas. Mark Davis and his wife Wendy fin­ished off a good trial tak­ing out 3rd and 4th place re­spec­tively.

Re­stricted was judged by Di Mccann, who took a break from com­pe­ti­tion to judge, and it was the girls who stood up. Prue Wink­field won with her GSP just ahead of Dodo Kelly and her golden, with Mal Tyrie and his lab bring­ing up third place. Mark had a very suc­cess­ful Easter with his two dogs be­ing placed nu­mer­ous times.

All age saw judge Jim Har­g­reaves set his usual chal­leng­ing runs. Dur­ing the three legs he lost many dogs with only five dogs fin­ish­ing the trial: John Lawton, Mal Tyrie, Karl Brit­ton, Rus­sell Whitechurch and Trevor Stow. John and his ‘Dog of the Year', Ben, took out first prize but the com­plex­ity and dif­fi­culty of the runs was re­flected in the com­par­a­tively low scores.

What a top way to spend Easter, out play­ing with our gun dogs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.