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Friskies Beta Gundog Weekend
Osberton estate offers challenging terrain


Winner of the Beta/Shooting Gazette Gundog Weekend HPR section was
Madge Simmons’ GSP d. Swifthouse Basil pictured here working over kale.

Field trial enthusiasts from all over the country gathered to compete in the prestigious Beta/Shooting Gazette Gundog Weekend earlier this month. The glorious parkland of the Osberton country estate Nottinghamshire provided a perfect venue for the event offering an ideal mix of luxurious pasture, thick woods and still water. There were challenging tests for the serious competitor and enthusiast as well as ‘scurries and pick-ups for both competitors and keen spectators.

During the two days, some of the country’s top handlers worked their dogs under an elite group of judges including highly successful author and trainer Nigel Mann and trainer Robert Smalley. The AV Retriever two-day test was judged by HPR A-panel judge, Sheila Kuban and Keith Scattergood – a highly respected know judge in the HPR community. The AV Spaniel two day test was judged by Ralph Edwards also an A panel judge and Roger Tozer a name synonymous with the breeding of quality gundogs.

Prize money totalled £1,000 with crystal trophies and Beta product for winners placed to third. Competitors were keen to take advantage of free canine health checks offered by Purina’s team of specialist nutritionists who were also on hand to offer nutritional and care advice.

The Beta Gundog weekend attracted a full complement of HPR, Retriever, Spaniel and Cocker

Spaniel contestants. Tests ran over two days for the former and one day for Cocker Spaniels and the Gamekeeper test.

Two outstanding young handlers emerged from the competition – 8 year old Harrison Lee- Everton handled his father’s black and white Springer bitch, Helsby Heidi of Martonmill, confidently and competently through each individual test, scoring a total of 190 points – the maximum is 200 - and was placed Ist in the Spaniel Open competition.

Among the mix of gamekeepers experienced adult trainers and keen handlers another young competitor stood out from the crowd with her 4 year old black Labrador, Pechasi Kingston.

Charlotte Smith, a 14 year old schoolgirl from Worksop college who lives in the Southall area breeds and trains her own dogs, regularly competes against some of the top handlers in the country – and wins.

In just four years Charlotte has achieved what many adult owners and trainers strive to attain in a lifetime with her four Labradors. She has won both open and novice tests however this was Charlotte’s toughest competition to date – her labrador tackled some difficult retrieves with precision and control proving the young team were definitely ones to watch for the future.

Roy Ellershaw with this Cocker Spaniel bitch, Doganodogs Kerry, took first place in the Cocker Spaniel one-day test with an excellent hunt-up with marked retrieve and hunt up with blind and marked distraction. Mr A Gorman with his Labrador bitch Clickminn Jill, adeptly concluded a nail-biting finish in the AV Open retriever Tests when the close scoring final six were asked to run off.

Mrs M Simon’s GSP dog Swifthouse Basil, handled by Madge Simons, conclusively won the HPR two day test which attracted 24 competitors The Gamekeepers’ test was won by Mrs J Sykes with her Labrador dog Scoftonwood Blackthorn.

Throughout the weekend the Dog & Gun competition attracted enthusiastic and expert individuals and teams culminating in a shoot off on the Sunday afternoon.

Says Di Arrowsmith, Field Trial secretary to the GSP Club and a KC ‘A’ panel judge for HPRs and Beta Gundog Weekend Event Secretary, " this competition has set the standard for the future by attracting some of the best trainers, handlers and junior handlers in the country.

The event clearly demonstrates Beta’s commitment to supporting the world’s best gundog breeds at the highest level of competition. I would like to thank everyone who made the Beta Gundog Weekend such an fantastic success."

All Photos by Nick Ridley


An enthusiastic retrieve as a black labrador clears the jump

An enthusiastic retrieve as a yellow labrador clears the jump.

Winner of the Beta/Shooting Gazette Gundog Weekend HPR section madge Simons’ GSP d. Swifthouse Basil.

Winner of the Beta/Shooting Gazette Gundog Weekend Spaniel section was roy Ellershaw’s cocker b.Doganodogs Kerry