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skirts the beds of bracken, shingle and rough cover. The spectators were able to walk the cliff edge and look down on the field of play, positioned to see every move as the trial progressed below us. This was where the trial stepped up a gear or two.

"They (the Judges) knew the level the dogs would work at and gave everybody the opportunity to show their dog to its best advantage."

It has to be said that these two Judges took no prisoners. Both Ian Openshaw and Roger Tozer being very experienced and popular in Northern Ireland having been here on numerous occasions. They knew the standard expected of them. They knew the level the dogs would work at and gave everybody the opportunity to show their dog to its best advantage.

However, the Island is unforgiving. It is no place for the faint hearted. Dogs need to be polished - and experienced. Handlers have to remain cool and unflustered as the dog works under strong temptation at all times. Scent is abundant and can be misleading at times - as it swirls around rocks, over shingle and various types of cover. Rabbits tuck in tight, partridges flush early, and lines can be hard to follow. More of our best dogs fell by the wayside as the morning progressed, succumbing to all sorts of tempting situations. Something unfortunate happened which took the gloss of a good run. This was despite having shown fast stylish hunting or good retrieving up to the fatal moment of elimination when the Judge stepped forward and sympathetically said, "Sorry, put your lead on please."

We saw some very good hunting, especially as we looked down from our vantage point overlooking the bracken. Rabbits were moving ahead and to the side. Game was flushing as dogs were retrieving; it was very exciting to watch!

The top two dogs showed class.

Robin Young’s bitch, Edwardiana Topsy, (by Ft Ch Laganmill Malvern out of Ft Ch Toonarmy Torrent) was nothing short of outstanding in her hunting. She covered the ground with pace and style showing disdain for cover and combining all with a good quartering pattern. Topsy retrieved well, dropping instantly to whistle as she responded to directions. She was seen to be steady to flush when out on retrieve, a very satisfying refinement under severe temptation. Topsy’s First place Award together with the Guns Award was well deserved and made her a Field trial Champion.

In Second Place - after a run off - was Willie Chamber’s bitch, Hillside Bramble, (by Irish Ft Ch Millshadow Aster out of Sally’s Secret) Again, the result was achieved by pace, style and pattern. She never faltered in a long second run. She impressed Roger Tozer so much that he remarked, "For a large part of her run, she did not need to be handled at all." The bitch quartered without the use of the whistle to control what was obliviously a natural pattern. She came out directly from her long second run into the run off and exhibited the same speed and pattern, but was piped at the post in the awards.

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