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The Royal Canin UK Agility Grand Prix Final

Judge Lee GibsonThe final of the Royal Canin UK Agility Grand Prix was held at Newbury Showground on Saturday, 27 June. Lee Gibson judged the event which turned out to be a captivating Agility class. The final consisted of 81 dogs, all of which had previously qualified at shows throughout the country this year. The dogs and handlers ranged from Beginners to Champ across all heights, incorporating Toy, Midi, Standard and Maxi. Iris Richards reports.

The competitors nervously waited in the glorious evening sunshine, with the spectators gathering around all four sides of the ring. No one could have predicted the results of this final nor how exciting it was going to be.

Course Plan

The Toy dogs were drawn first to run
Chris Baldwin with Pooh gave a good performance of distance handling, just collecting 10 faults in a time of 50.41. Dawn Weaver with Tigger was next, and with perfect running contacts was clear in 39.64. This set the pace for others to follow. Sandra Milner ran Mindy fifth, and although incurred a refusal on the weaves put in a flying round. The dog walk contact was just missed, and with a second's hesitation, Mindy back jumped no. 14 resulting in elimination.

Dawn Weaver was next with her three year old Papillion, Puzzle. A quick start and tight cornering saw her reach the A-frame quickly and scramble over the top. Tight turns around 12 took Puzzle onto the seesaw, waiting for a split second to make it tip, then the long run down towards the tunnels. With the wind blowing in Puzzle's face as she came across the dog walk, a really quick time of 38.63 was set.

A couple more eliminations occurred, and then one of the tallest competitors, with one of the smallest dogs took place on the start line. Dave Alderson started with his little white poodle Libby who is always quick and generally a little noisy too. Fast weaves, good running contacts on the A-frame and perfect turns took them onto the seesaw. Some nifty footwork from Dave negotiated the correct tunnel entrance, and saw him as the first competitor to choose to run alongside the dog walk on his left. This avoided any back jumping of 14, and a cracking clear in 39.87 was achieved. M. Adams completed the toy group with a well controlled and nicely handled round, but Tia couldn't improve on Puzzle's winning time, and she was placed 4th in a time of 43.88.

Toy Results

Place  

Handler  

Dog  

Faults

Time

1

Dawn Weaver 

Puzzle

0

38.63

2

Dawn Weaver

Tigger

0

39.64

3

David  Alderson 

Libby

0

39.87

4

M Adams 

Tia

0

43.88

5

Dawn weaver

Chelsea

5

38.23

6

Sandra Wells 

Toffi

5

45.96

7

Lee Harfield

Bonnie

5

46.39

8

Nicola Barber

Ollie

5

54.44

9

Judy Wills

Tilly  

5

57.5

10

Neil Moir

Megan

10

45.63

 

Chris Baldwin

Bear

10

50.41

 

Hannah Thompson

Mouse

22.38

70.38

 

Amy Lawson

Echo

E

 

 

Sandra Milner

Mindy

E

 

 

Ray Burke

Midge

E

 

 

Sarah Denny 

Roxy

E

 

 

Bex Surplice

Swift 

E

 

 

Des Cuffley 

Fudge

E

 

 

Tamar Quinn

Poppy

E

 

  Marion Mcilherene Fizz E  

The course height was changed to Midi
Although Helen Soper and Sweep negotiated the course clear, they did incur a number of time faults. A pattern of eliminations began, although the deviations on the course were varied. It wasn't until the eighth dog to run which was Lisa Le Signe with Chi, that a clear round in time was achieved. Chi completed the weaves very quickly and it was super to watch the Sheltie's commitment to handler as it completed the course in 38.10.

Wendy Clay ran tenth and although cautiously worked Scout around the right wing of 3. She left him in the weaves and moved around the first part of the course with ease. Scout flew out of tunnel 17, and Wendy repeated Dave's earlier tactics of running along the right side of the dog walk and put in a time of 37.29.

Four more competitors went before Nicola Garrett and Indiana set up on the start. Indy took a huge jump over no 1, powered through the weaves and completed the A-frame perfectly. Whizzing out of the collapsible tunnel, and then reaching the dog walk, Nicola's distance handling paid off, and she was at no 20, for a recall finish in a time of 37.29. This meant that a run off was going to be needed.

Sharon Lear was the only other competitor in the midi height to gain a clear in a time of 44.72, so a run off for first place was next.

Wendy chose to go first after winning the draw. An uncomplicated start saw a fantastic send into the weaves by tightening the turn on the left wing of 3 this time. A superb send into the far end of the tunnel saved Wendy time, and Scout flew home in 35.01. The tension around the ring was electrifying and in the bright evening sun, the crowd fell silent. Nicola knew what she had to beat and worked Indy tightly into every corner. Her distance weave handling was awesome, and at the seesaw there was nothing in the split times. Indiana barked her enjoyment throughout, and mastered the dog walk excellently. A superb clear resulted in 35.77. Both dogs had shaved off 2 seconds from their first run, but Scout just piped Indy by .76 of a second.

   Midi Results

Place  

Handler  

Dog  

Faults

Time

1

Wendy Clay

Scout                                          

35.01

2

Nicola Garrett

Indiana  

38.1

3

Lisa Le Signe

Chi 

35.77

4

Sharon Lear

Chip

44.72

5

Jane Tatam 

Dickins

 48.5

6

Angela Williams

Ten

5

43.6

7

Jane Tatam

Jaggers

5

 48.72

8

Helen Soper

Sweep

20.16

83.16

9

Helen Soper

Roxy

24.14

72.14

Shirley Fowkes

Panda

E

 

Jillian Sawyer

Dottie

E

 

 

Alison Harwood

Mikey

E

 

 

Toni Harrison-Jones

Foxy

E

 

 

Kay Hall

Oliver

E

 

 

Alison Harwood

Cassie

E

 

 

Denise Smith

Ozzie

E

 

 

Laura Chudleigh

Phoebe

E

 

 

Paula Davies

Diva

E

 

 

Lin Abbott

Hattie

E

 

 

Amy Lawson

Fudge

E

 

Then came the Standard dogs.
After a brief interlude for judge's refreshment, the first five dog handler combinations struggled with the course. After a retirement, two eliminations and two 5 faults everyone began to wonder if the course was manageable at this height. Emma Howard, the youngest competitor broke this run of bad luck, by putting in a lovely clear. Her Spaniel Collie X, Rosie, competently completed the course in 55.72. The next nine competitors all made errors.

Some superb handling from both Morag Harris and Helen Perryman was evident although Helen's Molly just missed the dog walk contact. Dawn Weaver with Breezer put in a blistering fast round, but once again the dogwalk contact was missed. Her time of 35.35, however, was the fastest at this point. Stuart Carter with Spooks completed the course in 45.28 in his own inimitable style, but had gained a refusal at 3 due to some reverse roundabout handling.

In 16th place Sue Wood began confidently, and she chose to weave on the left. This proved successful and, with determination, Sue wrapped Teejay around the left wing of 12 before the seesaw. A super cross into the tunnel, and a brilliantly timed call off back jumping 14 saw Teejay put in the fastest clear so far at 46.04.

Shaun Hunt is always ready to take on a challenge, and superbly distance handled the weaves. Oakley bounced 6 to 7, but took a slightly wide right turn over 12. A small clip of jump 16 spurred them both on, and the combination of Shaun's long legs, experience and a perfect front cross to block jump 14, he strode home clear in 43.09.

Leslie Osborne eagerly waited at the start with Fizz, and set off at a fast pace. A tight weave entry and great cornering on 10 saw him thundering around the course. Super fast tunnel entries followed, and Leslie again chose the right hand side of the dog walk. This decision paid off and Fizz flew home clear in 35.29. The last two Standard dogs both entered the wrong end of the tunnel 18, so Leslie Osborne won this level by over seven seconds.

Standard Results

Place  

Handler  

Dog  

Faults

Time

1

Leslie Osborne

Fizz

35.29

2

Shaun Hunt

Oakley

43.09

3

Sue Wood

Teejay

46.04

4

Emma Howard

Rosie

0.72

55.72

5

Dawn Weaver

Breezer

5

35.35

6

Helen Perryman

Molly

5

41.98

7

Stuart Carter

Spooks

5

45.28

8

Sally Lewis

Jess

5

46.17

9

Angela Williams

Pi

10

41.99

10

Tim Stanbrook

Sophie

27.56

67.56

 

Jan Couzens

Zoe

E

 

 

Lucy Waldron

Missy

E

 

 

Andy Sandercock

Kyp

E

 

 

Sue Choux

Sassy

E

 

 

Morag Harris

Murran

E

 

 

John Winney

Cass

E

 

 

Helen Perryman

Kip

E

 

 

Mandy Su Sarti

Ruby

E

 

 

Nicola Garrett

Wych

E

 

 

Dawn Weaver

Minky

E

 

Maxi height saw all 21 competitors run this level.
Meg began with surrogate handler Hannah Houldsworth, and set off at a fast pace. She responded well in the weaves; and with a really sharp right turn over 12, and onto the seesaw, their speed was clearly evident. Brilliant tight control into the tunnels paid off and a well worked dog walk gave a superb clear in 35.73, which was the time to beat.

Next Andy Sandercock put in a good effort. Free bobbed through the weaves and then opened up around the bottom half of the course. Although a sharp call at the end of the dog walk saved a back jump the time of 37.55 only placed them second. Some minor handling errors followed, once again with the course being challenging at various stages. Chris Cole set a good time, but was the first to just tip the long jump, which proved to be a problem later through the class.

Angela Williams was ninth to run. Tiff focused with her head down in the weaves. Quick turns gave a split time at the seesaw of 23 seconds. This round was looking to push Hannah from the lead. A reverse turn into the pipe tunnel and another before the final jump may not have been the quickest choice, but still gave a good clear in 36.36. Once more minor errors were forcing the judge Lee Gibson to fault the next few competitors. Becca Middleton, however, put in a good controlled run with super tight turns in a time of 37.38 this placed her 3rd at that point.

Dawn Weaver left Promise in a long stand wait to start. Coming over 2 she really looked at the weaves and Dawn controlled her around the left wing of 3 to give a great weave entry. Promise strode around the first half of the course and didn't put a paw on the top of the A-frame, but had a perfect contact. Once again a split time of 23 seconds was given, so could Promise match Hannah's performance?  Stealthy running contacts on the dog walk proved unbeatable at 35.00.

Dave Alderson was the penultimate competitor. As he had earlier experienced the course with his Toy dog Libby, the crowd fell silent in eager expectation of his run. Rocky pulled off a superb wait and Dave worked him fast and tight through the weaves. As earlier, the long jump was catching out the very long striding dogs, and he incurred 5 faults there. Dave was determined to push Rocky. Once again he used his experience and long legs to negotiate the tunnel entrance and complete the dogwalk on the right side once again. A blistering run at 35.92, it was fantastic to watch!

Maxi Results

Place  

Handler  

Dog  

Faults

Time

1

Dawn Weaver

Promise

0

35.00

2

Hannah Holdsworth

Meg

0

35.73

3

Angela Williams

Tiff

0

36.36

4

Becca Middleton

Kit

0

37.38

5

Andy Sandercock

Free

0

37.55

6

Dave Alderson

Rocky

5

35.92

7

Shelley Christmas 

Rossi 

5

37.1

8

Sandrine Farr

JJ

5

37.55

9

Chris Cole

Cap

5

37.80

10

Hannah Holdsworth

Flynn

5

41.00

 

Shaun Hunt

Juo

20

41.93

 

Lucie Hinchley

Dodger

20

44.98

 

Gill Kimber

Tess

E

 

 

Leah Gardner

Herbie

E

 

 

Gemma Hanekom

Boo

E

 

 

Dawn Weaver

Freeway

E

 

 

Mark Laker

Kodi

E

 

 

Dairen Keating

Boo

E

 

 

Toni keating

Raq

E

 

 

Michelle Elder

Spec

E

 

 

Sandra Milner

Bobby

E

 

The evening was completed with the presentations of awards. Royal Canin had sponsored the event, and each competitor sported a red embroidered polo shirt. The top 3 places of each height category won a sports rucksack, and were awarded Royal Canin food for their size of dog.

All finalists

Thank you
The evening was a huge success with everyone enjoying taking part. Greg and Laura Derrett organised the final and it ran like clockwork. A huge thank you must go to their team who must be commended for their efforts. Lee's judging was excellent and his course proved to be an challenging design for a final.

On behalf of all UK Agility competitors, a big thank you to Royal Canin for supporting the Grand Prix in 2009 and enabling such a great competition to run

First published 19/07/09