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Olympia 2013

It's an agility Christmas cracker...

Photo: Carla WhyteMandy Wallington's daughters insist that it’s not Christmas till the Coke advert appears on TV. But Mandy disagrees. For her, it’s the first cheers accompanying a competitor at Olympia. She was therefore delighted when we asked her to cover the KC Olympia Agility Stakes Finals for Agilitynet.

This year is the 35th anniversary of the first appearance of dog agility at Olympia, albeit in an almost unrecognisable format to the modern incarnation. Back then, there was no contact equipment, a few poles in flowerpots served as weaves, and an upturned doorframe served as what we know as the tyre. Originally intended just as a fun demonstration, the enthusiastic response from the crowd secured the future of the Dog Agility Stakes at Olympia.

Now there are five exciting and separate competitions:-

  • Small dogs (Grade 3-7)

  • Medium dogs (Grade 3-7)

  • Large Novice (Grade 3-5)

  • Large (Grade 6 & 7)

  • ABC Large non-collies (Grade 3-7)33.24

Sunday, 22 December 2013
Large Novice (G3-5)

Sunday was the last day of competition; I felt partly sad because there will be no more wonderful displays of human and animal partnerships to watch, but partly happy because Christmas will be here in a couple of days!

Bill’s semi-final course was nice and flowing, giving handlers and dogs new to the arena a chance to perform at their best. However, mirroring yesterday’s Senior final, many dogs knocked the pole off the first fence. Were the dogs being positioned too far back? Was the unusual style of the jumps making the dogs misjudge their jumping effort? Whatever the cause, only twelve of the original field of 36 achieved a clear round. With only the ten allowed in to the final, it meant that despite Gwen Johnson and Claire Rosendale’s going clear, they just weren’t fast enough to qualify.


The Kennel Club Novice Dog Agility Stakes Semi-Final

Place Handler Dog

Time

1 Lauren Langman Darkeyfalls Free Flo (BC) 33.24
2 Dan Shaw Devongem Did It Again (BC) 33.28
3 Sharon Banks Dreamchart Sky's the Limit (BC) 33.72
4 Nicky Holden Rosmarinus Smoke and Water (BC) 33.99
5 Tim Stanbrook Kaleai Murphy's Legacy (BC) 34.27
6 Holly Thompson Delanor Special Edition (BC) 34.75
7 Louise Raine Silver Starlight (BC) 34.79
8 Sue Harriott Sunwine Baby Belle (WSD) 35.39
9 Kim Hunt Flare for Life (WSD) 35.78
10 Rebecca White Wiccaweys Racing Rags (WSD) 35.81
11 Gwen Johnson Cories Black Toast (BC) 36.70
12 Claire Rosendale Gempaws Gem 'N I (BC) 37.47
13 Kathrin Tasker Holy Moley (Lurcher) 33.55 (5)
14 Jenny Kimber Raeannes Falcon (BC) 33.97 (5)
15 Shannon Springford Shandream Angels Delite (BC) 34.07 (5)
16 Millie Clark Señor Brown Paw (WSD) 34.19 (5)
17 Christine Russell Galway Romany Ruby (GSD) 35.20 (5)
18 Emma Haines Diagemtas Dexter (BC) 38.30 (5)
19 Vicki Cooper Go Kai Kai Go (WSD) 39.04 (5)
20 Pauline Verity Fizzwich Cuckoo (WSD) 40.20 (5)
21 Sarah Osborne Scream if you Wanna Go Faster (WSD) 40.32 (5)
22 Naarah Cuddy Sheltysham Séance (BC) 32.51 (10)
23 Ellie Casson Little Miss Dynamo (WSD) 33.08 (10)
24 Tom Rooney Magnificent Mighty Atom (BC) 35.01 (10)
25 Carolyn Davies Ollie the Spollie (X) 35.30 (10)
26 Trev Shelswell Aviary Bright Ember (BC) 35.72 (10)
27 Ashley Carter Tom Tom Navigator (WSD) 36.26 (10)
28 Duncan Caton Alys Bach (WSD) 38.74 (15)
29 Sue Choux Bryning Gold Rushed (BC) 54.19  (15)
30 Anna Braley Mirky Day at Guildermore (BC) 51.56 (17)
31 Jeff Walton Comebyanaway to Infinity (BC) 37.04 (20)
32 Sarah Bacon Canen Diamond (BC) 43.46 (30)
=33 Janet Thompson Borderpaws Dark Wish (BC) E
=33 Shirley Fowkes Molly Monster Inc (BC) E
=33 Joanne Tristram Darleyfalls Dr Dangerous (BC) E
=33 Sarah Smith Oki Doki Oakley (WSD) E
       

Afternoon Agility Pairs Relay
Similar to yesterday’s competition, competitors placed 10th to 20th competed in an agility Pairs Relay, with seconds added for each fault. The only pair who didn’t pick up an elimination were actually two of the youngest competitors. In fact, the Semi-final had even featured ten year old Sarah Bacon. The crowd really got behind Millie Clark with her WSD Dexter, and Shannon Springford with her Collie Delight. Although they had a pole down, they kept their focus beautifully. Popular 2nd place pair were Emma Haines with her Collie Dexter and striking German Shepherd Ruby with handler Christine Russell.

The Kennel Club Novice Dog Agility Pairs Relay

Place Pair Dogs

Time

1 Millie Clark &
Shannon Springford
Señor Brown Paw (WSD) &
Shandream Angels Delite (BC)
83.05 (73.05)
2 Emma Haines &
Christine Russell
Diagemtas Dexter (BC) &
Galway Romany Ruby (GSD)
182.20 (77.20)
3 Jenny Kimber &
Kathrin Tasker
Raeannes Falcon (BC) &
Holy Moley (Lurcher)
183.70 (73.79)
4 Vicki Cooper &
Pauline Verity
Go Kai Kai Go (WSD) &
Fizzwich Cuckoo (WSD)
184.10 (84.10)
5 Claire Rosendale &
Gwen Johnson
Gempaws Gem 'N I (BC) &
Cories Black Toast (BC)
191.33 (86.33)
       

Evening Large Novice Agility
Sunday had been a day of triumph for the British riders. Ben Maher won the Grand Prix and Laura Renwick won the H&M Leading Rider award. And for the Novice Agility it was a nail-biting final.

First on the line was Rebecca White with Rags who picked up 15 faults but had a blast anyway. Kim Hunt’s Flare was unfortunately eliminated, and Sue Harriott’s Belle missed out the wall. Next to run was Louise Raine who was 32 weeks pregnant! Unfortunately Trigger missed his weave entry while the next competitor Holly Thompson missed a contact with Tri.

With half the field gone, there was still no clear run. Could Tim Stanbrook's dog Chance get lucky? Unfortunately not. He trashed the wall, but was the fastest time with 5 faults. The next two competitors, Nicky Holden and Sharon Banks both got eliminated.

Only two to run. Surely someone could go clear? Up stepped Dan Shaw with Ditto. How they managed to hear anything with the racket the crowd were making was a miracle. Even the 'Voice of Olympia' Mike Tucker had gone hoarse with shouting. Dan kept his cool, handled Ditto with finesse and raced home clear in 29.18s.

Last to run was Lauren Langman. A temporary hush filled the arena. Off she set and the place exploded as she pushed Fiji to the limit, curving round the jumps and acing the contacts to snatch the title from Dan with a truly memorable win in 28.57s.

The Kennel Club Novice Dog Agility Stakes Final

Place Handler Dog

Time

1 Lauren Langman Darkeyfalls Free Flo (BC) 28.57
2 Dan Shaw Devongem Did It Again (BC) 29.18
3 Tim Stanbrook Kaleai Murphy's Legacy (BC) 29.30 (5)
4 Holly Thompson Delanor Special Edition (BC) 30.15 (5)
5 Sue Harriott Sunwine Baby Belle (WSD) 33.67 (5)
6 Louise Raine Silver Starlight (BC) 36.51 (5)
=7 Kim Hunt Flare for Life (WSD) E
=7 Rebecca White Wiccaweys Racing Rags (WSD) E
=7 Nicky Holden Rosmarinus Smoke and Water (BC) E
=7 Sharon Banks Dreamchart Sky's the Limit (BC) E

And so ended another fantastic few days of competition. This year it was not only the crowd that got behind the dogs, but rumours came back of riders crowding round screens backstage to watch the dogs run. Indeed, we share much with our equestrian siblings. Both disciplines are inclusive allowing men and women, young and old alike to compete together. Handler Sarah Bacon competed in the novice agility at the tender age of 10 and jockey John Whitaker is still flinging himself at jumps at the tender age of 58. And long may that continue.

Saturday, 21 December 2013
Large Dog Grade 6 & 7

Morning Senior G6 & 7 Semi finals
Upon initial observation, it looked like the main difficulty on Bill Glover’s course was going to be a pull through just before the cloth tunnel towards the end of the course. However, as the first few competitors began to run it became clear that the seemingly innocent opening straight run was actually the most problematic, with a knocked pole in the opening sequence claiming nearly half of the field.

Last year’s double winner Greg Derrett was back for his 20th year, this time with Rehab who won the Novice class last year. However, things didn't go entirely smoothly for him. The timer failed to stop as he finished and, for a moment, it looked like he was out of the running. However, a manual backup restored his position.

As the number of clear rounds increased, slower runners saw their dreams of a run in the Final fade away. Claire Burrell who won the Small class on Friday was just squeezed out by Alan Wildman who had a lucky escape when Minx wobbled an entire jump wing which then miraculously stayed up. New 10th placer Mark Laker had to wait with bated breath for the last few competitors, but the only clear run was from Norman Stokoe's Keegan who was slower by just a few hundredths of a second.

But then some confusion arose. Greg Derrett stepped back up to the start again with Rehab! The commentator announced that he was rerunning due to the timing failure. His second run was much slower, and nobody really knew what was happening. Then the commentator announced that Greg had withdrawn which meant that Claire was back in the running.

What was going on? Was this a real scoop unravelling before me? Actually what had happened was that Greg and Alan Bray had identical times so were both meant to do a runoff to determine the running order of the later final. However, Alan was running with a broken rib  - sustained prior to the competition - so had declined his run. With both definitely still competing later, would Claire now be in the final too as announced? The scoop is still not over because nobody here yet knows the answer...

A;; hail, Troy. The winner!
Photo: Laura Chudleigh
The Kennel Club Agility Stakes Semi-Final

Place

Handler

Dog'

Time

1 Laura Chudleigh Borderpaws Dark Prince (BC) 32.47
2 Dave Munnings Devongem Mister Boss Man (BC) 32.97
3 Simon Peachey Rosmarinus Rum Twister (BC) 32.99
4 Alan Wildman Chikaramor Born Performer (BC) 33.18
=5 Greg Derrett Devongem Rehab Sproglett  (BC) 33.56
=5 Alan Bray Upanova Dior Mine (BC)

33.56

7 Will Rolfe Ag.Ch. Nedlo Black Magic (BC)

34.04

8 Ian Jackson Darleyfalls at Midnight (BC)

34.05

9 Roger Teasdale Petnat By Jingo (X)

34.09

10 Mark Laker Devongem Crystal Method (BC)

34.14

11 Claire Burrell Delanor Golden Snitch (BC)

34.45

12 Norman Stokoe Highfield Magpie (BC)

34.46

13 Joanne Tristram Cascades Itsy Blitzy (X)

34.63

14 Pat Brown Nedlo Strictly This Izit (BC)

35.64

15 Anthony Clarke Nedlo Step on the Gas (BC)

35.85

16 Sharon Banks Canen Cerys (BC)

36.35

17 Jacqui Tarn Ag.Ch. Morgans Halloween Kracker (WSD)

32.06(5)

18 Karen Marriott Petnat a Touch Puzzling  (X)

32.66 (5)

19 Alison Roets Eostre of Berkano (BC)

33.51 (%)

20 Natalie Mitchell Streak of Chaos (WSD)

33.56 (5)

21 Lauren Langman Devongem Can't Stopp'er (BC)

33.62 (5)

22 Abigail Doxford Smooth Criminal (WSD)

33.71 (5)

23 Lee Windeatt Ag.Ch. Darleyfalls Pipistrelle

34.290 (5)

24 Jess Clarehugh Lynwood Cara Fuzzy Logic (BC)

34.55 (5)

25 Nicola Garrett Born into Kayos (BC)

34.75 (5)

26 Amanda Ellerton Dragondaze Intogear (BC)

33.27 (10)

27 Helen Davey-Smith Nedlo Nellie Bean (BC)

36.66 (10)

28 Tracy Bennett Raeannes Star Attraction (BC)

36.75 (10)

29 Lorna Peachey Fueled for Life by Diesel (BC)

36.95 (10)

30 Chris Cole Mr Farenheit (BC)

32.94 (15)

31 Martin Reid Went With a Flash (WSD)

34.34 (15)

32 Jo Thorpe Kyp Me Ghosted (BC)

34.86 (15)

33 Andy Sandercock Nedlo What a Whirl (BC)

38.47 (15)

=34 Toni Dawkins Coires Cute (BC)

E

=34 Charlotte Harding Rujaff Red Hot Scandal (BC)

E

=34 Gemma Walchester Corrie Dhu Lace (BC)

E

       

Afternoon Pairs Relay
Competitors placed 10th to 20th competed in an agility pairs relay, with seconds added for each fault.

Natalie and Teak ran clear, but Ostara and Alison picked up faults. Karen's Puzzle knocked a pole, and Jacqui's Becca nearly ran off course, but they recovered to take the lead. Sharon and Anthony's dogs Cerys and Gas both ran clear to become the new leaders. Their joy was short lived when Pat with Twist and Joanne with Bitz ran nearly a second faster. Last to run, Norman and Keegan ran clear, but unfortunately Claire's Ginny picked up an elimination when she missed the tyre.


The Kennel Club Large Dog Agility Pairs Relay

Place

Pair

Dogs

Time

1 Joanne Tristram &
Pat Brown
Cascades Itsy Blitzy (X) &
Nedlo Strictly This Izit (BC)

69.72

2 Anthony Clarke &
Sharon Banks
Nedlo Step on the Gas (BC) &
Canen Cerys (BC)

70.66

3 Jacqui Tarn &
Karen Marriott
Ag.Ch. Morgans Halloween Kracker (WSD) &
Petnat a Touch Puzzling  (X)

71.93 (66.93)

4 Alison Roets &
Natalie Mitchell
Eostre of Berkano (BC) &
Streak of Chaos (WSD)

76.92 (66.92)

5 Norman Stokoe &
Claire Burrell
Highfield Magpie (BC) &
Delanor Golden Snitch (BC)

177.35 (72,35)

Evening Agility
Saturday is the day for the big classes. For the horses it is the FEI Gold Cup, and for the dogs it is the Kennel Club Large Agility Stakes. Once again Bil'’s course held some subtle traps, ready to snare unwary competitors. With the exception of one dog, all were Collies. There was just one female competitor.

Starting the evening off was Mark Laker and Devo who set an impressive time. Roger Teasdale’s Retriever x Collie unfortunately slipped on the see saw, an excited Bobbie missed two contacts with handler Ian Jackson and Will Rolfe's Scoot also missed a contact.

Next to run was Alan Bray who was nursing some broken ribs, having fallen out of the loft at the beginning of December. You guessed it... he was retrieving the Christmas decorations. With the crowd making the biggest noise of the whole week, Indiana squeezed three tenths of a second off the time to become the new leader. Rehab nearly caught out Greg Derrett with a slightly premature start. They recovered quickly but weren't quite fast enough and took 3rd place.

But with a strong field still to go, how long would this last? Alan Wildman's hopes were dashed when Minx took the dog walk instead of the weaves, and DJ knocked a pole with Simon Peachey. Dave Munnings and Boss picked up ten faults and, although Laura Chudleigh's dog Troy ran the fastest time, he’d already knocked the first pole, leaving Alan and Indiana to claim the top prize.


The Kennel Club Large Dog Agility Stakes Final

Place

Handler

Dog'

Time

1

Alan Bray Upanova Dior Mine (BC)

33.00

2

Mark Laker Devongem Crystal Method (BC)

33.30

3

Greg Derrett Devongem Rehab Sproglett  (BC)

33.74

4

Laura Chudleigh Borderpaws Dark Prince (BC)

32.64 (5)

5

Simon Peachey Rosmarinus Rum Twister (BC)

33.81 (5)

6

Roger Teasdale Petnat By Jingo (X)

32.98 (10)

7

Ian Jackson Darleyfalls at Midnight (BC)

35.70 (10)

8

Dave Munnings Devongem Mister Boss Man (BC)

35.82 (10)

9

Will Rolfe Ag.Ch. Nedlo Black Magic (BC)

E

10

Alan Wildman Chikaramor Born Performer (BC)

E

Friday, 20 December 2013
Small Dogs

Friday's early horse classes feature the younger riders in the equestrian equivalent of the YKC. Many of the riders then appear a few years later competing against childhood heroes. Although there is no YKC event at Olympia, many a youngster watching the competitions has been inspired to compete. Many years ago yours truly was just such a child watching from the sidelines; I have since discovered that a 12 year old Greg Derrett was also somewhere in the crowd that day!

Afternoon Pairs Relay
In a slight change of format from the previous two days, the Small dog warm-up was run as a Pairs Relay over an agility course.

First to run were Daniel with Sheltie X Bess with partner Jeanette with the lightning streak that is Wee Betsy Boo. They recorded the fastest running time but Bess missed a contact. That five second penalty put them back to 2nd place. Amy's Sheltie Fudge ran clear, but Clive's Sheltie missed a contact which put them out of the running. Zoe and Rosie's young spaniels put in a great performance but were beaten into 4th by Selena and Marc's poodle pairing. Last to run were Neil and Claire with working Cockers Bex and Teasel. With the crowd whipped up into a noisy rabble by commentator Nick Brooks-Ward, both flew around tails-awagging to finish first over a second faster.

This year’s small dogs put in performances of an exceptional standard, and the final tonight looks like it will be a memorable one.


Photo: Sam Lane
The Kennel Club Small Dog Agility Pairs Relay

Place

Handler

Dog

Time

1 Neil Harding &
Claire Burrell
Kyvallack Dare to Dream (Working Cocker) &
Daimonic Expelliarmus (Working Cocker)

73.35

2 Daniel Croxford &
Jeanette Tandy
Bogshole Bess Beauty (X) &
Ag.Ch. Wee Betsy Boo (X)

74.47 (69.47)

3 Selena Bray &
Marc Wingate-Wynne
Ag.Ch. Shanandi One and Only (Min Poodle) &
Ag.Ch. Vanitonia Mr Big (Toy Poodle)

74.74

4 Zoe Councell &
Rosie Cavill
Jessie Blackjack (Cocker Spaniel) &
Ag.Ch. Fieldspy Leana (Cocker Spaniel)

76.53

5 Amy Lawson &
Clive Foden
Ag.Ch. Millieon to One (Sheltie) &
Mohnesee's Miss Chief (Sheltie)

78.98 (73.98)

Evening agility
Once again Bill Glover had set a testing course, particularly a pull-through between the dog walk and the weaves. F

irst to run was Mandy-Su Sarti with Patterdale Izzy who went clear but, in true terrier style, decided not to take the most direct route. Zoe Councell with young Cocker Jessie got the pull through, but entered weaves on the wrong shoulder and picked up an elimination. Clive Foden tried running the other side of the dog walk with Sheltie Poppy only to pick up an elimination further on.

Marc Wingate-Wynne steered Poodle Mr Big through the trap beautifully and raced home clear to take the lead. Daniel Croxford tried a different handling position at the pull through with JRT x Sheltie Bess, but she popped round the back of his legs and got eliminated. Amy Lawson handled Sheltie Fudge brilliantly, but she just couldn't cover the ground as quickly as Mr Big, and moved into 2nd place.

Next was Claire Burrell with Cocker Teasel. Could this very young dog keep her nerve? As they approached the pull through, it looked for a second like Teasel was going to try the same move as Bess, but Claire stood her ground and pulled her back on course to romp home just tenths of a second faster than Marc. Selena Bray's Poodle Shade unfortunately missed a jump after the pipe tunnel and picked up an elimination, and Rosie Cavell's Cocker Spice knocked a pole. Neil Harding’s Cocker Bex started well, but turned the wrong way momentarily which cost him time.

Last to run was Jeanette Tandy with JRT x Collie Betsy. Jeanette handled the pull through in a completely different way, choosing to wrap around the front of the jump instead. The tactic worked from a timing point of view as Betsy had the fastest time, but she unfortunately also picked up 10 faults during her mad dash around!

So the winner was Claire with Teasel, whose win was made all the more memorable because a very excited Sam Lane (who bred her) was watching the whole thing next to us.

The Kennel Club Small Dog Agility Stakes Finals

Place Handler Dog Time
1 Claire Burrell Daimonic Expelliarmus (Working Cocker) 32.20
2 Marc Wingate-Wynne Ag.Ch. Vanitonia Mr Big (Toy Poodle) 32.51
3 Amy Lawson Ag.Ch. Millieon to One (Sheltie) 32.56
4 Neil Harding Kyvallack Dare to Dream (Working Cocker) 35.35
5 Mandy-Su Sarti Stonebridge Black Magic (Patterdale) 35.69
6 Rosie Cavill Ag.Ch. Fieldspy Leana (Cocker Spaniel) 32,49 (5)
7 Jeanette Tandy Ag.Ch. Wee Betsy Boo (X) 31.28  (10)
=8 Zoe Councell Jessie Blackjack (Cocker Spaniel) E
=8 Clive Foden Mohnesee's Miss Chief (Sheltie) E
=8 Daniel Croxford Bogshole Bess Beauty (X) E
=8 Selena Bray Ag.Ch. Shanandi One and Only (Min Poodle) E
       

Thursday, 19 December 2013
Medium Dogs

World class extreme driving kicked off the second day, with an even harder course than yesterdays, including wrapping the horses round a 360o turn whilst trying not to dislodge tennis balls perched on the obstacle. I wonder if the sled dog racers have ever considered a canine equivalent?

Thursday was the turn of the medium dog competition, also at world class level as ‘Team Dizzy’ return to try and reclaim their title for a 4th time?

Afternoon Jumping
Bill Glover’s course hid a subtle trap at the end of the weaves, drawing the dog's eye from the last pole, which resulted in four of the runners being eliminated.

Amanda Hampson ran a textbook clear with Rogue to take the lead only to have it snatched away by Angela Williams and Ten (on his ninth birthday!) Jacqui Tarn and Jessica then took over the lead again with an amazing run over one second faster.

So, with the leader board changing hands over four consecutive runs, could Tasha run faster? Well, I have watched Dizzy run many times before, but her speed over the opening straight was truly awesome, and she carved over a second off Jacqui’s already impressive time.

With such an exciting start to the day, the final tonight looks like it could be a real nail biter.

The KC Medium Dog Jumping Grand Prix

Place

Handler

Dog

Time

1

Natasha Wise

Ag.Ch. Raeannes Flipping Heck (BC)

25.00

2

Jacqui Tarn

Midnight of Merle Kracker (WSD)

26.19

3

Angela Williams

Withersfarm Perfect Ten (BC)

27.48

4

Amanda Hampson

Ag.Ch. Shoredancer Sea Jade (NSDTR)

28.84

5

Nancy Hudson

Obay Tiz Zensational (Sheltie)

34.07 (29.07)

6

Sian Illingworth

Ag.Ch. Falconmoor Shadow Dancer (BC)

36.58 (26.58)

=7

Heather McLean

Ag.Ch. Morgans Chance Navigator (WSD

E

=7

Julie Ashton

Master Dumbledore (Cocker Spaniel)

E

=7

Denise Wilkinson

Ag.Ch. Meisterwerk Jexie Jangles (BC)

E

=7

Rob Evans

Giftnell Ali's One Freta of Berkano (BC)

E

Evening Agility
The evening got off to a strange start with rumbles of thunder, lightning flashes and torrential rain spooking the horses, very few of whom could manage a clear round. Unbeknown to us at the time, this same storm was probably the cause of a roof collapse in a theatre just a few miles down the road.

Thursday evening is Puissance evening in the horse world where competitors jump a huge wall which increases in height with every round. Often it is the smaller horses that ultimately triumph. One of Britain’s most popular jockeys, Laura Renwick, is one of the few ladies to take on the big red wall, but has frequently beaten much larger and more powerful rivals. Could this be a night for girl power again? With just one guy in the line-up, the odds were certainly in our favour.

By the time the dogs ran, all was calm again... except for the dogs, of course!

First to run was Collie Jexie with Denise Wilkinson who set a cracking pace. Sian Illingworth and Collie Jazzy picked up an elimination, and Collie Ten lived up to his name by missing two contacts with Angela Williams. Seasoned competitor Toller Rogue nearly strayed off course. Amanda Hampson managed to get back on track at the last second, but the detour meant she wasn’t fast enough to take the lead.

Julie Ashton’s Cocker Chester was up on the time, but knocked a pole. The only man in this year’s competition, Rob Evans, lost time when his collie Freya slipped. Nancy Hudson, running a Shelti Zeki for the first time stormed around, but still couldn’t beat Jexie's time and went into 2nd. Jacqui Tarn set off at an amazing pace, but unfortunately slipped over. Although she was up in a flash, Jessica understandably lost focus, and they were eventually eliminated.  Heather McLean had lost her voice and found it hard to communicate with Collie Mooie over the roar of the crowd and picked up an elimination.

Last to run was Tasha Wise and, for a moment, it looked like she was going to take the title again but - perhaps aptly on puissance night - Dizzy knocked a brick out of the wall. Denise, who had led right from the start, finished in the top spot.


The Kennel Club Medium Dog Stakes Final

Place

Handler

Dog

Time

1

Denise Wilkinson

Ag.Ch. Meisterwerk Jexie Jangles (BC)

31.52

2

Nancy Hudson

Obay Tiz Zensational (Sheltie)

33.85

3

Amanda Hampson

Ag.Ch. Shoredancer Sea Jade (NSDTR)

33.90

4

Rob Evans

Giftnell Ali's One Freta of Berkano (BC)

35.56

5

Natasha Wise

Ag.Ch. Raeannes Flipping Heck (BC)

28.25 (5)

6

Julie Ashton

Master Dumbledore (Cocker Spaniel)

33.57 (5)

7

Angela Williams

Withersfarm Perfect Ten (BC)

33.26 (10)

8

Jacqui Tarn

Midnight of Merle Kracker (WSD)

46.31 (10)

=9

Sian Illingworth

Ag.Ch. Falconmoor Shadow Dancer (BC)

E

=9

Heather McLean

Ag.Ch. Morgans Chance Navigator (WSD

E

       

Wednesday, 18 December 2013
Large ABC

In a change of rules, each breed type is now limited to just two competitors. The rationale behind this decision was to broaden the range of breeds competing for the coveted final. So this year, in addition to the expected presence of Kelpies, Beardies and BSDs there were are Labradors and for the first time a Hungarian Vizsla. Even the two representatives for crossbreeds were an exotic mix of Weimaraner x Labrador and NZ Huntaway x Kelpie. Both were rescues.

For some of these agility teams, this was their first experience of running with the added stresses of supertrooper lights, TV cameras and a mere 8,000 spectators! To help them acclimatise, competitors get a jumping competition in the afternoon before the main event in the evening.

Afternoon Jumping
Wednesday was ABC day. This year's judge, Bill Glover, had set a suitably taxing jumping course with a nice flowing final run that allowed the dogs to open out at full pace carried by the roar of the crowd.

There were only two clears. Fiona Morrison with newbie Vizsla Riva - the first G7 Vizsla to qualify for Olympia - seemed completely unfazed by the surroundings and set an amazing time, but they were pipped at the post by seasoned agility team of Beardie Dee and Karen Young, whose amazingly tight turns ensured a jumping win. However, with all competitors settling in, there is still all to play for in what proposes to be an exciting final this evening.

 Karen Young
Photo: Arthur Rodgers
KC Olympia ABC Agility Speed Jumping

Place

Handler

Dog

Time

1

Karen Young

Rock Melody (Beardie)

30.55

2

Fiona Morrison

Ruchanroo Rhymenreason (Vizsla)

31.14

3

Michelle Griffiths

Minka Phoenix Jazz (BSD - Terv)

39.05 (34.05)

4

Vicky Tough

Gaveloch Cadrona Law (Labrador)

44.05 (39.05)

5

Stuart Lovatt

Cories Blade (Kelpie)

47.25 (37.25)

=6

Penny Harrison

Claret & Blue (X)

E

=6

Joanne Sullivan

Alfredo Frog (X)

E

=6

Victoria Lyons

Jamedemi Moll Andromeda (Labrador)

E

=6

Amy Creaser

Gary's Gift (Beardie)

E

* Times in brackets are because 5 seconds was added to the total per fault.. 

Evening Agility
Wednesdays at Olympia are evolving into a day for something A Bit speCial.

The introduction of a Carriage Racing class as an alternative to a Jumping class has proved hugely popular. Several tons of highly excitable equine plus carriage attempt to navigate around plastic obstacles without crashing. Little House on the Prairie it's not!

In the canine world, it proved to be just as exciting. After the elimination of both Lab x Weimaraner Alfie with Jo Sullivan and Beardie Dee with Karen Young, and speedy Labrador Becky missing the soft tunnel with Vicky Tough, it was the turn of Scottish hopeful Fiona Morrison with her Hungarian Vizsla. Riva gave a near perfect performance to take the lead nearly six seconds faster. Michelle Griffiths' BSD Jazz looked like she might take the lead with her amazingly fast weaves, but knocked a few poles.

Next was Nigel Staines in his ninth Olympia run with Kelpie Cougar who was making her debut appearance at Olympia, having missed the Jumping session earlier due to a gridlocked M40. Would Cougar be on the naughty or nice list? Nigel took an alternative handler route, handling the weaves and A-frame up to the dogleg from the right hand side. Cougar decided she wanted a visit from Santa, shaving over two seconds off Riva’s time.

With the elimination of both Victoria Lyons with Labrador Molly and Stewart Lovatt with Kelpie Blade, followed by Beardie Phelan missing a jump with Amy Creaser, only Penny Harrison was left. Her New Zealand Huntaway X Kelpie Sampson, a rescue, who had been found - nearly dead - as a pup when someone just threw him away. Now he was facing a cheering crowd of thousands at Olympia. Penny took the same route as Nigel, and Sampson ran an amazing run, but the big dog couldn't quite match the pace and finished clear in a very respectable 3rd place.


The Kennel Club ABC Dog Agility Stakes Final

Place

Handler

Dog

Time

1

Nigel Staines Morgan's Assassin (Kelpie)

34.62

2

Fiona Morrison

Ruchanroo Rhymenreason (Vizsla)

36.97

3

Penny Harrison

Claret & Blue (X)

38.86

4

Amy Creaser

Gary's Gift (Beardie)

37.46 (5)

5

Vicky Tough

Gaveloch Cadrona Law (Labrador)

43.41 (5)

6

Michelle Griffiths

Minka Phoenix Jazz (BSD - Terv)

40.69 (15)

=7

Stuart Lovatt

Cories Blade (Kelpie)

E

=7

Joanne Sullivan

Alfredo Frog (X)

E

=7

Victoria Lyons

Jamedemi Moll Andromeda (Labrador)

E

=7

Karen Young

Rock Melody (Beardie)

E

       

Thursday, 19 December 2013
Medium Dogs

World class extreme driving kicked off the second day, with an even harder course than yesterdays, including wrapping the horses round a 360o turn whilst trying not to dislodge tennis balls perched on the obstacle. I wonder if the sled dog racers have ever considered a canine equivalent?

Thursday was the turn of the medium dog competition, also at world class level as ‘Team Dizzy’ return to try and reclaim their title for a 4th time?

Afternoon Jumping
Bill Glover’s course hid a subtle trap at the end of the weaves, drawing the dog's eye from the last pole, which resulted in four of the runners being eliminated.

Amanda Hampson ran a textbook clear with Rogue to take the lead only to have it snatched away by Angela Williams and Ten (on his ninth birthday!) Jacqui Tarn and Jessica then took over the lead again with an amazing run over one second faster.

So, with the leader board changing hands over four consecutive runs, could Tasha run faster? Well, I have watched Dizzy run many times before, but her speed over the opening straight was truly awesome, and she carved over a second off Jacqui’s already impressive time.

With such an exciting start to the day, the final tonight looks like it could be a real nail biter.

The KC Medium Dog Jumping Grand Prix

Place

Handler

Dog's name

Time

1

Natasha Wise

Ag.Ch. Raeannes Flipping Heck (BC)

25.00

2

Jacqui Tarn

Midnight of Merle Kracker (WSD)

26.19

3

Angela Williams

Withersfarm Perfect Ten (BC)

27.48

4

Amanda Hampson

Ag.Ch. Shoredancer Sea Jade (NSDTR)

28.84

5

Nancy Hudson

Obay Tiz Zensational (Sheltie)

34.07 (29.07)

6

Sian Illingworth

Ag.Ch. Falconmoor Shadow Dancer (BC)

36.58 (26.58)

=7

Heather McLean

Ag.Ch. Morgans Chance Navigator (WSD

E

=7

Julie Ashton

Master Dumbledore (Cocker Spaniel)

E

=7

Denise Wilkinson

Ag.Ch. Meisterwerk Jexie Jangles (BC)

E

=7

Rob Evans

Giftnell Ali's One Freya of Berkano (BC)

E

Thursday was Puissance evening in the horse world when competitors jump a huge wall which increases in height with every round. Often it is the smaller horses that ultimately triumph. One of Britain’s most popular jockeys, Laura Renwick, is one of the few ladies to take on the big red wall, but has frequently beaten much larger and more powerful rivals. Could this be a night for girl power again? With just one guy in the line-up, the odds were certainly in our favour.

Evening Agility
The evening got off to a strange start with rumbles of thunder, lightning flashes and torrential rain spooking the horses, very few of whom could manage a clear round. Unbeknown to us at the time, this same storm was probably the cause of a roof collapse in a theatre just a few miles down the road. By the time the dogs ran, all was calm again... except for the dogs, of course!

First to run was Collie Jexie with Denise Wilkinson who set a cracking pace. Sian Illingworth and Collie Jazzy picked up an elimination, and Collie Ten lived up to his name by missing two contacts with Angela Williams. Seasoned competitor Toller Rogue nearly strayed off course. Amanda Hampson managed to get back on track at the last second, but the detour meant she wasn’t fast enough to take the lead.

Julie Ashton’s Cocker Chester was up on the time, but knocked a pole. The only man in this year’s competition, Rob Evans, lost time when his collie Freya slipped. Nancy Hudson, running a Shelti Zeki for the first time stormed around, but still couldn’t beat Jexie's time and went into 2nd. Jacqui Tarn set off at an amazing pace, but unfortunately slipped over. Although she was up in a flash, Jessica understandably lost focus, and they were eventually eliminated.  Heather McLean had lost her voice and found it hard to communicate with Collie Mooie over the roar of the crowd and picked up an elimination.

Last to run was Tasha Wise and, for a moment, it looked like she was going to take the title again but - perhaps aptly on puissance night - Dizzy knocked a brick out of the wall. Denise, who had led right from the start, finished in the top spot.

The Kennel Club Medium Dog Stakes Final

Place

Handler

Dog's name

Time

1

Denise Wilkinson

Ag.Ch. Meisterwerk Jexie Jangles (BC)

31.52

2

Nancy Hudson

Obay Tiz Zensational (Sheltie)

33.85

3

Amanda Hampson

Ag.Ch. Shoredancer Sea Jade (NSDTR)

33.90

4

Rob Evans

Giftnell Ali's One Freta of Berkano (BC)

35.56

5

Natasha Wise

Ag.Ch. Raeannes Flipping Heck (BC)

28.25 (5)

6

Julie Ashton

Master Dumbledore (Cocker Spaniel)

33.57 (5)

7

Angela Williams

Withersfarm Perfect Ten (BC)

33.26 (10)

8

Jacqui Tarn

Midnight of Merle Kracker (WSD)

46.31 (10)

=9

Sian Illingworth

Ag.Ch. Falconmoor Shadow Dancer (BC)

E

=9

Heather McLean

Ag.Ch. Morgans Chance Navigator (WSD

E