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The final at Scone Palace

The Pedigree Highland Final is always an enjoyable event. Set in the grounds of Scone Palace (Perthshire) as part of the Scottish Game Conservancy Fair, it is just a fabulous event, and handlers are always in good humour. Year on year the Scottish show gets a bigger gate, and this year was no exception. Attendance was 36,000, beating the previous record by 3,000. Folks were eight deep around the Main Ring where the 2009 Agility Final was held. Dave Ray and judge Blair Cochrane report.

The Game Fair has remained true to its roots. This year they had 300 trade stands which were vetted to ensure that none of them resembled a Sunday market traders so consequently you can buy everything from a pack of pheasant food for £1 to a pair of Remington shotguns for £35,000.  And of course, as our dogs are working dogs, the agility is always extremely popular. 

It is always difficult when organising an event 350 miles from where you live so I am indebted to my merry bunch of helpers: Jean Fotheringham, Val Marrian, Veronica and Graeme Scott and Morag and Alex Birse.  And especially my right hand person in Scotland – Ann McBride for organising everything and everyone so well.  And last but not least to our Scottish judge Blair Cochrane who I am sure enjoyed his judging appointment having been a previous winner of the event, an appointment he handled in the most professional manner. 

Judge's report
For the morning event I set a course that I wanted to flow but that had a bit of a sting in the tail. There were eventually nine clears and seven eliminations and the rest being faults. The first six dogs were either eliminated or had five faults. Of the fives one of my favourites was Pat Brown who had a great run but unfortunately had a fault at the end.

The first clear was by Kenny Spottiswoode and Nike who had a nice steady clear in 40.78. He was not, however, in the lead very long as the next dog in handled by the ever youthful Christine Robson took two seconds off his time. The next dog in was handled by John McEwan, a regular at this event. He had a nice clear in 42.07.

The next three dogs were eliminated or had faults. Then standing on the start line was Nigel Staines with his young kelpie Morgan's Assassin AWG who went into the lead in a time of 37.64. A couple of dogs later was Norman Stokoe. My first thought was to get spare weave poles ready. However, they were not required, Norman attacked the course but unfortunately was not as fast another couple of dogs with faults.

I would like to mention one handler, Shuna Stewart with El Cappucino in particular. This was her first final so she was very nervous, but what a show she put on! She is definitely one to watch for the future.

The next two dogs were clear Karis Leckie with Wallacetown William. Karis handles this big powerful dog brilliantly, making sure he was tight on his turns which ended up with her going into the lead. Another favourite of mine was next in Jean McEwan and Middleton's My Guy. I believe that Jean got fed up watching her husband John so she decided to get a dog herself and has done extremely well.

The next dog in was Nigel Staines and Ag.Ch. Dragonheart Dark Destroyer. Nigel attacked the course from the start with extremely tight turns and accurate contacts. His run down to the sting in the tail would give Linford Christie a run for his money. He did the course in a staggering 34.95 seconds.

The last two dogs had it all to do. Emma Jones, whom I think is the calmest person I have met in agility, did a lovely clear in 38.25 but it was not quite  quick enough in the end. The last dog was Louise Raine's Indistorm No Regrets who unfortunately was eliminated. Louise continued to smile and the dog never knew it had gone wrong and still had loads of fun. Final Placings for the morning were





Nigel Staines

Ag.Ch. Dark Destroyer (Kelpie)


Karis Leckie

Wallactown William


Nigel Staines

Morgan's Assassin AW(G) (Kelpie)

The Final
We then had time for some shopping so I headed to the Food Hall to stock up on some Cairn O Mohr wine. Then a lovely lunch of fish 'n chips which was marvellous. We were following a gentleman who was flying falcons in the main ring. In the past it has been known for the falcons to stay in the tree and not come down so I was eagerly awaiting my time in the ring again.

Once we got back in the ring I set up my course which started out with some control and then went on to a lot of running in the second half. I always feel sorry for the first person in the ring as they have to decide whether to take it easy of go for it. Nick Robson went for, it but unfortunately his dog took the last pole down. Nevertheless it was a good round.

Our 2nd placed pair from this morning, Karis Leckie and Wallactown William, were next but unfortunately they were eliminated. We had to wait until dog number 7 to get aour first clear. Lynne Crombie and Easterdales Countess Kel completed the course without a fault but, upon checking the time, they had 0.21 time faults. Lynne’s sister, Gwen Knox, was next with Easterdales Hot Toddy. Unfortunately she had five faults plus 0.95 time faults. Sarah Stokoe came up to the start line at running order 10. Sarah was last year's winner and was keen to repeat her win . She had a brilliant round and proved that the course could be done within the time.

The next dog in had faults. Then it was the turn of Kenny Spottiswoode with Bannetstane Nike Just Do It. Kenny started training with me so I knew that he could do it. He went for it from the beginning and showed that you don't need a flyer to win. Nike was extremely tight with Kenny showing him the way around the course.

Morgan's Assassin, handled by Nigel Staines, was the next dog in. After the mornings run, I felt was this pair was in  with a chance, but unfortunately  Cougar took number 2 down. The next dog was eliminated.

Then it was the turn of young Peter Dall with his dog Gee. He was one who could give Kenny a run for his money. He handled the run from the A-frame to tunnel the way I would have - by leaving the dog on the contact, calling him and showing him the next jump. However, he not as fast as Kenny so he went into 2nd place.

We only had to wait for a couple of dogs before the ever youthful Christine Robson stepped up to the line to have a go at the course. She gave it her all but the run at the end was too much for her so she had to settle for 4th place. Sue White was next. She had travelled from West London and was having a great run with Mr. Mercury until he went back into the weaves, resulting in an elimination. Sue did extremely well considering she had been in hospital most of the week. The only dog to go clear after that was Pat Brown but once again they were too slow to beat Kenny. The winner from this mornings round Ag.Ch. Dark Destroyer was going great until she looked at me on the dog walk which resulted in her jumping off so no double for her.

I must also mention Norman Stokoe who had to pull out of the Final due to his dog going lame after the morning. I was glad to see that the welfare of the dog came first and not the winning. Well done, Norman.








Kenny Spottiswoode

Bennetstane Nike Just Do It (BC)




Peter Dall

Gees Hits the Spot (BC)




Sarah Stokoe

Highfield Hot Spot (BC)




Christine Robson

Kilallan Just a Notion (BC)




Pat Brown

Nedlo Sheez a Diva (BC)




Lynn Crombie

Easterdales Countess Kel (WSD)




Nick Robson

Keefer Kind of a Kilallan (WSD)




Nigel Staines

Ag.Ch. Dragonheart Dark Destroyer (Kelpie)




Shuna Stewart

El-Cappucino (WSD)




Emma Jones

Knockhills Kerri (WSD)



Thank you
I would like to end by saying thank you to Dave Ray Pedigree for inviting me to judge this Final. I won this final in 1999 with my Border Collie Chase (Lang Toon Lad) so it holds a lot of memories for me.



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