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Judges Graham Mulligan and Martin Ford

The briefing was explained by myself acting as Chief Steward and included the concept and layout of the test. It was to be run as near as possible to a Field Trial, with hunting to be of prime importance. There would be a number of retrieves: seen, unseen, and with distractions. These would be repeated under each Judge, aimed at testing the handler's control of the dog and the dog's response under temptation. Given the nature of the woods, long retrieves were impossible to replicate for each handler - so each entrant was to have four unexpectedly short retrieves. These were placed or thrown to land freely on fresh ground as we hunted up the wood. The top six dogs would qualify for a Grande Finale competing in unison with the top six retrievers for three Awards and three Placings in each breed.
Dispatching the Spaniel Scores.
Rosemary Hall (KC), Mrs. Frazer Allen (CDGA),
and Rachael Corbett (CDGA) steward and crowd control.

This was not to be the usual Game Fair type of test. Fresh ground, natural cover, fallen trees, broken branches and game scent would provide different problems for each handler and dog. This would test the training, skill and experience of each and every one.

That was exactly how it proved to be.

The Stewards, under the direction of Coventry clubman Rob Aldenton, lined out. The Judges moved into place and the crowd, under the control of Rachel Corbett, took up the best viewing positions. Then off we went.

Right from the start, it was noted that this ground was going to test the depth of training. The test, itself, had sounded simple, but now the ground threw up little quirks. The dummy throwers had been well rehearsed and they were consistent. Ground cover changed from light to rough, and scent was variable. Some dogs coped; some didn't. Some were not up to Open standard. Others lacked control mostly going for the wrong dummy, not responding to the whistle, not quartering, etc... losing points and falling by the wayside.

In accordance with Test Regulations, serious faults eliminated and a failed retrieve excluded from the Awards.

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