The RAS / CSJ Medium ABC Agility Final was held on Saturday, 24 September at the Hare 'n' Hounds Agility Show at Barnard Castle, Co. Durham, with 14 finalists coming from heats that had taken place all over the country during the last year. The judge for this inaugural Final was the well-known and well-respected Angelo ‘'Doc' Docherty. Brenda Tenten reports...
This year's RAS/CSJ Medium ABC Champions are Amanda Hampson and her Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Shoredancer Sea Jade, aka Rogue. This partnership has represented Great Britain in both 2010 and 2011.
But it wasn't all plain sailing for Amanda! Doc had set a course that was fast and flowing with wide spaces to traverse, along with some technical sections that required a high skill level from both dog and handler! The course time was 48 seconds.
The 'white dog' - Steven Richardson and his Patterdale X – made an excellent job of showing the waiting competitors and spectators just how it needed to be run – fast, tight and accurate.
Dawn Harvey was the first finalist to run with her Working Cocker Spaniel Carrowdale Orchid (aka Jasmin aka Sweetpea) who set a great fast clear (40.232s) for all the others to chase, with lovely entries to the dog walk and the weaves. They lead the class until almost the end!
Next on the line was the first of the veteran dogs – not that you could tell from the speed of Julie Anderson's 10 year old rescue crossbreed Ron (Ginger Whinger Rocket Ron) who flew round accurately until a missed turn in the sequence before the dogwalk led to an elimination.
Then up stepped Amanda Hampson with the first of her Tollers, eight year old Minx (Winfren Vulpecula Kayla) This is an experienced team, a member of the Bronze medal winning British team at last year's European Open as well as competitors in the FCI World Championships in 2006 and 2007. But this wasn't their day as Minx picked up a missed A-frame contact and had another 5F earlier with a wide turn.
Farrier Graham Burgess was next on the line with Whippet Patterdale X Deme (Miss Demeanour Whipperdale) another rescue dog. Sadly a back jump led to an elimination for this speed-merchant! 11 year old rescue Lurcher Daisy (Crazy Daisy Moses) came out of retirement for this Final. Again, there was no sign of age as she was steered around the course at top speed around the course by handler Eileen Ainsworth. They finished with 5R for a hesitation at the tunnel under the A-frame in a time of 48.011 seconds.
The sixth dog to run was the first of Kevin Macintosh's two dogs, Macs Muck (pet name Guinness ), a four year old Working Cocker Spaniel who won the Avon Medium Dog of the Year in 2010. His time of 39.935 proved that Dawn's time could be beaten but an unfortunate 5F on the dogwalk put Guinness out of contention. Cheryl Harkness travelled from Northern Ireland for the Final with her Cocker Spaniel Swift Lass (aka Beans.) They had a beautiful wait at the start line and an excellent dogwalk entry, but unfortunately they worked a bit wide and entered the tunnel under the A-frame, taking a wrong route.
Ag.Ch. Monkey Madness Noworries, Ellie - yet another agility rescue dog - and her handler Linda Cummings entered the ring. They are another very experienced partnership who were members for the Gold medal team at this year's FCI World Agility Open Championship. Ellie self-started but Linda quickly adjusted to steer her to a fast, fluid clear round in a time of 41.408seconds. Claire Gosling's seven year old rescue Parson Russell Terrier Frodo (Funtime Woodfella), who recently went into Grade 6, put in a great run but a refusal in the technical sequence cost her time as well as faults, leaving her on 5R and 45.668 seconds.
Next up was Catherine Rowlands' Staffie, Stella (Starshine Sula) yet another rescue doing agility! In her enthusiasm to attack the course, Stella rolled the pole on the second fence so was out of stride for the technical turn to 4 and had an unfortunate elimination. But the partnership got back together and completed a stormin' round. Gloria Coupe and her Cocker Spaniel Jaz (Contrail Midnight Delight) travelled down from Scotland on the day for the Final, and they really attacked the course to finish with a super clear round in a time of 45.210 seconds.
Back came Kevin Macintosh with the second of his two dogs, eight year old Working Cocker Spaniel Scamp (Rhyl Rhuaridh) who has two CCs and is waiting on his third to make him up to a Champion. Knowing that there was all still to go for, Kevin and Scamp put in a consistent fluid round but 5R at the wishing well left him with 5 faults and a time of 46.067.
With just two very fast dogs to go, Dawn and Jasmine were still leading the way. Amanda Hampson and the second of her Tollers Rogue (Shoredancer Sea Jade) had no choice but to go for broke - and they did! Super fast turns, lovely weaves, smooth, confident and clear in a time of 35.926 seconds snatched the lead from Dawn.
The last handler was the Olympia Medium winner Adam Wildman with his super fast Australian Kelpie, Zoom (Za Zar Zoom.) Adam knew he would have to really run his heart out, and he did, with not an inch spared until three obstacles from home when Zoom picked up a refusal at the wishing well! The crowd watching had been on the edge of their seats! Adam and Zoom finished on a total of 5R and a time of 39.073 seconds.
And so a very exciting, nail-biting Final was over.
The top five placings were:-
First published 28 September 2011