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Highlights and results of the Finals

Looking at the the line up for this year's Royal Canin final on 28 June, it promised to be an exciting event. One of the attractions of the Royal Canin final is that it is open to all levels and heights of dogs and, therefore, attracts many top agility dogs and handlers. Shaun Hunt, the judge, set out a course pitched at just the right level considering dogs had qualified from Beginners through to Championship standard. It was the type of course where handlers needed to work every part of it, but it was perfectly achievable. Mark Larker reports.

Now, those of you who are always busy (me) or lazy readers (me, too) who rarely read all those lengthy show reports, I thought I'd get straight to the point with some of the highlights of the event. For those of you who enjoy reading, the full report follows the highlights.

Royal Canin Final Highlights

For me the four best runs were:

  • Maxi - Laura Derrett with Fish with a fantastic perfectly handled run 26.67

  • Standard - Angela Williams with Pi, fastest dog on the Royal Canin course with a time of 26.19 seconds

  • Midi – Lisa Le Signe with Chi, the only Midi dog clear in less than 30 seconds (28.11)

  • Toy – David Alderson with Libby. What an extraordinary run (29.66)

Other highlights were:-

  • David Alderson and Spice trying to catch the time set by Laura with Fish. A slightly wide turn between obstacle 12 /13 let him down.

  • From the Standard group, watching the look of shock on Lucie Hinchley's face as the wing jump 13 appeared right in her line after her front cross. She wheeled backwards taking the wing with her. Luckily she was fine. I think she found the amusing side of her unfortunate tumble.

  • The Midi and Toy group were great fun to watch. Such a wide variety of breeds and all levels of agility represented. Many fell foul of the weaves which was positioned with a tunnel inviting them in afterwards. This is where the experienced dogs had an advantage.

Full Report

In true finals style, the course was tested by the ‘white dog' TeeJay, handled by Sue Wood. Sue showed them the way to go with a nicely handled clear round. The draw resulted in Maxi dogs going first followed by Standard, Midi and Toy.

Maxi Division
The first dog and handler of the evening was Bob Sharpe with Meg. No sign of nerves here as they set the pace - a clear round in 27.41 seconds. Next up was Gemma Hanekom with Boo. Now I know there are rules about double handling, but carrying an unborn baby, Gemma should have been given a head start! Starting at number three would have helped, because that's where she picked up a very unfortunate elimination. However, Gemma carried on and completed the course very bravely.

The pressure was on. Nerves were getting the better of some handlers now especially at the weaving poles. With the tunnel just after, it was too much temptation for some and they popped out before completing them.

Laura Derrett with Fish, running 16th, looked like they were on-form, although Laura was a bit fidgety on the start line - nerves or adjusting underwear. (Perhaps it's a Derrett start line routine!) If it was nerves she was soon to be putting in an adrenaline fuelled performance. Fish was on top form with incredible power, tight turns every where and superb handling. Clear round in 26.67 - the 1st round below 27 seconds we'd seen that night.

Following Laura was Dave Alderson. There was a bit of a delay on the start line while Renee, who was doing the commentary, explained to the crowd about Dave's part-time male model side line, but it didn't fluster him at all. Dave, as cool as an Easter show, put in the sort of performance we are used to seeing with Spice. Unfortunately, Spice wasn't quite as tight as Fish negotiating 12 / 13 and just came in behind him at 27.28. It was still good enough to take second place in the Maxi dog's height.

The great thing about this Royal Canin event is its open to all. In the Maxi dog final, we had Labs, crossbreeds and even Stuart Carter with Storm who still manages to put the performance in when it matters, finishing in 5th place.

Special well dones must go to the beginners in the Maxi dog height who put in some great runs up against tough opponents.

Maxi Results

  • Laura Derrett                              Fish               C     26.67           1st

  • Dave Alderson                             Spice             C     27.28           2nd

  • Chris Cole                                   Cap               C     27.34           3rd

  • Bob Sharpe                                 Meg               C     27.41           4th

  • Stuart Carter                              Storm            C     27.92           5th

Standard Division
With a great mixture of breeds and well known handlers, this was going to be fun to watch. Tace Allen and her collie Kelpie - such an easy mistake to make - Oakley set the benchmark, producing a clear round in 32.18. It was going to take another seven dogs before we saw the next clear round with a time to match or better Oakley's. It was Wendy Clay with Tishi who put in a very good performance (30.98) with tight turns which were definitely needed on this course.

Angela Williams and her Kelpie Pi, who really is a Kelpie, put in a stunning performance, flying over the finish line in 26.19 even quicker than Fish in the previous class. Again, time made up by Pi's sheer power, drive and turning ability... oh, and Angela's handling, of course. Pi was the fastest dog on Shaun's course on the night and a well deserved winner of the Standard class.

Some good handling and determination was seen on the course with other exceptional runs by Morag Harris, finishing 2nd with Murran who also did a lovely run, and Sue Choux with Sassy who were 3rd with another very enjoyable run to watch.

Standard Results

  • Angela Williams                          Pi                     C    26.19         1st

  • Morag Harris                              Murran              C    27.74         2nd

  • Sue Choux                                  Sassy                C    27.85         3rd

  • Helen Perryman                          Molly                 C    30.84         4th

  • Wendy Clay                                Tishi                 C    30.98         5th

Midi Division
Karen Bugler and Ace were first up, coming over the finish line with a clear run in 32.97. This was to prove a challenging time to better. Bob Griffin's Kromfohrländer, Kala caught my eye. He is a really happy little dog really who was enjoying the run as did Bob. They went clear in 35.94 which was going to put him in third place.

Last to run was Lisa Le Signe with her Sheltie Chi. This was the one to watch. They produced an excellent run demonstrating very good handling; clear in 28.11 taking 1st place.

Midi Results

  • Lisa Le Signe                              Chi                 C    28.11           1st

  • Karen Bugler                               Ace                 C    32.97           2nd

  • Bob Griffin                                  Kala                C    35.94          3rd

  • Carol Donnelly                            Monty               C    36.04          4th

  • Rebecca Preston                         Minnie             C    36.15           5th

Toy Division
The Toys were the last to run in the Royal Canin final with a great selection of breeds to watch. Amazingly out of the first eight dogs only two had clear rounds, but they were two good ones. I especially enjoyed watching Ray Burke and Kez go round. Such a happy little dog - clear in 37.52. Unfortunately, he was not quite quick enough to make the final placings. Elizabeth Saggers with her Poodle Florence, running order 11, was the first pair to go clear in under 33 seconds. This run was going to put her in 3rd place.

Shaun's course was definitely proving more testing for these Toy dogs. By the time Paul Isaac, a Junior handler, entered the ring with his JRT X Scooby at 15, we had only seen 6 clears. Paul and Scooby did a superb clear run in 35.31 which wasn't quick enough for the final line-up but still a run to be proud of.

The last five would determine the final results. David Alderson was back in the ring this time with Libby who needs no introduction. This pair is always exciting to watch. Libby's speed is amazing and how David manages to control a little dog going at such a pace is fun to watch. They didn't put a foot wrong over the course. Every turn was tight and accurate, the contacts fast and solid and, unlike many dogs, they managed to complete the weaves quickly and accurately. They finished clear in 29.66 going in to first place.

The final dog to run was Tia, a Sheltie, handled by Marilyn Adams. They knew they had to fly to beat Libby, and they had a really good go at achieving that. This pair put in a really good performance, finishing in 31.84 taking them into second place.

Toy Results

  • David Anderson                           Libby                C    29.96        1st

  • Marilyn Adams                             Tia                   C    31.84        2nd

  • Elizabeth Saggers                         Florence            C    32.72        3rd

  • Rosemary Anson                          Jack                  C    33.62        4th

  • Sophie Waymouth                        Millie                 C    35.00        5th

Thank you to Royal Canin for their sponsorship of the UK Agility Grand Prix 2008.  For more information on Royal Canin Dog Food, please visit their web page



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