Na­tion’s best to com­pete in sheep and yard dog tri­als

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - HENTY FIELD DAYS -

COM­PE­TI­TION is ex­pected to be in­tense at Henty this year as the na­tion’s best sheep dogs - and their han­dlers - gather for the Ex­elpet Sheep and Yard Dog Tri­als.

Run un­der the aus­pices of the NSW Sheep­dog Work­ers In­cor­po­rated, the sheep field trial is set to at­tract more than 100 dogs and their work­ers from around Aus­tralia.

The Ex­elpet Mur­ray Val­ley Yard Dog Cham­pi­onships, run by the NSWYard Dog As­so­ci­a­tion, is tipped to also at­tract more than 100 dogs.

Cham­pi­onships co-or­di­na­tor, Peter Dar­mody, said the event was one of the most pres­ti­gious on the cal­en­dar, and would draw the cream of the na­tion’s best dogs com­pet­ing for more than $5000 in prize money.

The maiden trial will be held on Tues­day, Septem­ber 19, fol­lowed by the novice and open classes on Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day.

The fi­nals are due to get un­der way from 1pm on Thurs­day, Septem­ber 21, with the win­ner re­ceiv­ing au­to­matic en­try to the 2017 NSW Yard Dog Cham­pi­onships.

Dogs will be fresh from last month’s South West Yard Dog Cham­pi­onships at West Wya­long, and the Rabobank Clas­sic Dar­ling River Cham­pi­onships at Went­worth.

Bill Luff of Gunda­gai, Kevin Howell of Eu­gowra, Fred Raines of Coolac, and Neil Tay­lor of Hol­brook, and new Aus­tralian cham­pion Shane Mau­rer of Young, are ex­pected to be among the top line com­peti­tors.

The event is de­signed to demon­strate ev­ery­day skills a work­ing dog would use on a farm.

Each en­trant has 12 min­utes to gather a mob of about 18 sheep, herd them through a draft, and then on and off a truck.

Start­ing on a score of 100, points are de­ducted for live­stock and mis­han­dling break­away sheep and in­ef­fec­tive work.

Up to 450 sheep will be needed for the Ex­elpet Sheep Dog field trial heats and fi­nals over the three days.

The event is lim­ited to an open trial, with no en­cour­ager or novice classes, and han­dlers can en­ter their four best dogs.

The 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 sheep dog trial win­ner, Lau­rie Slater, of Mur­rum­bat­e­man, will re­turn to com­pete this year.

Cen­tral NSW dog tri­aller Paul El­liott (pic­tured) broke the four-year win­ning streak of Mr Slater at last year’s event.

2016 WIN­NER: Cen­tral NSW dog tri­aller Paul El­liott won the Ex­elpet/Pedi­gree Sheep Dog Trial at the 2016 Henty Ma­chin­ery Field Days.

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