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Pedigree Agility Stakes’ Finals - International Horse Show
The Pedigree International adds a continental flavour
Concluding part of a report by DAVE RAY - Photos by Kit Houghton


the finalists in the European Agility Cup

The Pedigree International event is now in its third year at Olympia and consists of handlers and dogs from all over Europe. Each pairing have qualified from events and finals staged in their own respective countries. I was told that it was an honour and a privilege to be here representing their country and for many it is their event of the year. The ‘Saurday morning nerves syndrome’ had most definitely returned to the collecting ring with bottles of ‘rescue remedy’ and other nerve calming potions adorning the tables

The first run was a pairs relay – using FCI height jumps, no tyre and a mini table the competition was extremely fast and furious. Olympia appeared packed with thousands of children who sole purpose was to make as much noise as possible this in effect made the dogs go even faster. Fastest of all were Andreas Mayer with Athora Of Magic Borders representing Austria and Bianca van Gastel with Diestro for Holland.

European Agility Cup

Once more our judge Barrie Harvey took centre stage – again his course was very well received and we were treated an excellent display of agility as he now reports:-

"First up was our very own Stuart Harmes representing Wales with Trelogan Trim. I know Stuart won’t mind me saying the Trim is probably his second string dog but with Noggin recovering from a serious injury (hopefully he should be competing again in the New Year) Stuart is very lucky to have a dog such as Trim to fall back on. Trim has had a bit of year of it to – recovering from a stroke but all seemed well tonight. Although clear he got a bit caught up in the collapsible tunnel wasting valuable seconds but a good round all the same. Clear 36.60.

Jenny Damm representing Sweden with her cracking border collie Lotus always gives a top class performance. As previous World Champions they are well used to competing at top class events and produced an amazing display of speed and accuracy. It really was poetry in motion. Clear in 35.75 and into the lead.

Irishman Sam McCracken with his Border Collie "Shane" were next on the line. There were quite a few Irish supporters in the crowd and they cheered their every move. Unfortunately the luck of the Irish didn’t quite last. This dog is so fast it took Sam a bit unawares and he found himself out of position and he checked Shane a bit too much causing a refusal at the dog walk. 5 faults in 39.60.

Sally Andrews and Daley from Belgium were on their third visit to Olympia and they were well aware of how this atmosphere affects both handler and dog. All was going well until the box of jumps after the seesaw. Daley was flying and got too far in front of Sally and took the wrong jump.

Even the large breeds put in an appearance at the event - here a Deerhound squeezes through the tyre!

Having been part of the winning pairs from the afternoon competition – Andreas Mayer from Austria with Athora of Magic Borders was brimming with confidence. Knowing that Jenny had had a fast clear, Andreas just went for it.

He worked the course every inch of the way, with Thora cutting all the corners and running her contacts. Andreas turned to check the clock and was delighted when Mike Tucker, the commentator, announced he had taken the lead with a time of 34.23 seconds.

It was Denmark’s Birthe Juhl Jensen’s turn to try her luck with Joey but the dog’s enthusiasm got the better of him and he was eliminated when he failed to make the turn to the tunnel and took the next jump.

Toni Lock from Scotland with Whiz powered around the course really going for the time but she failed to control the dog at the dog walk and picked up 5 faults but in a good time of 34.38.

Bianca van Gastel with Diestro representing Holland were the penultimate pair to run and were going really well until they rolled a pole at jump 14 for 5 faults in a time of 33.48. It was the fastest time of the night – a superb round – so close!!

The Pedigree Agility Stakes winner from last night was back at Olympia – this time representing his country. Terry Insull and Madge were the last to run but Madge got away from Terry at jump 9 and had a run by and took the wrong jump resulting in elimination.

Although not quite emulating his "double" win of 2000 Terry still left Olympia with the biggest smile on his face."

What a cracking competition this was – with the cream of Europe on show the standard was excellent and this is fast becoming established as one of the best International competitions of its kind.

Monday 23rd December 2002

Pedigree Team Flyball Event

For the first time ever Flyball was featured on the Olympia programme. We’re quite used to seeing horses chasing up and down the arena in knockouts and Grand Nationals but dogs!

We had teams from Rugby, Northampton, Packington and Watford all of which compete at a very high level in the sport. I’m sure Dave was a little worried about how this might go but his fears were unfounded. I have never heard such noise in the Grand Arena. Eight and a half thousand people screaming, clapping and stamping their feet. Mike Tucker commentated for one side whilst Nick Brookes Ward took the other. They did an amazing job getting one side of Olympia to pitch battle against the other. Manic mayhem probably best describes what we witnessed and the spectators loved it. Oh, I nearly forgot – Packington were eventual winners in a very close final against Northampton.

It was a resounding success and I’m sure will feature in future Olympia events.

Monday Evening

To close what had been an extremely successful show, Pedigree invited the ABC’s to compete in the Pedigree ABC All Stars Agility Final.

Ten separate breeds were represented and provided a varied spectacle for all to enjoy. Unfortunately we only had one clear round and once again it brought the house down. Sarah Blackshaw’s Beardie Cross – Simplie A Fluke were both running flat out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Sarah run so fast. Once again the crowd brought them home in great style.

Penny Cooper’s Tervueren, Dixie, although gaining five faults at the dog walk, was good enough to take second place. Running last in the competition, Angela Williams with her Rottweiler Cross Ballistic Burt had a run by on the weaves but was still fast enough to take third place and just behind them in fourth position Bridgette Wyre’s Malinois, Sabrefield Sky’s the Limit missed a down contact on the ‘A’ Frame but still managed a very respectable time of 43.69 seconds to take fourth place. Taking fifth place was Siobhan Butterfield’s Schnauzer/Border Terrier, Eckford’s Border Reiver, who missed the down side of the dog walk.

It was a super competition to end Olympia on and proved a wonderful showcase for all the different breeds.

This has been one of the most successful Pedigree Olympia dog agility finals we have ever been to. The atmosphere was superb and the show itself achieved another record, selling more seats for this event than ever before. And of course the dogs are now an integral part of its success. But I think we will have to bring some ear defenders for next year when the Flyball is on!


Results

Sunday Afternoon – International Pairs Relay
Winners – Andreas Mayer with Athora of Magic Borders(Austria) and Bianca van Gastel with Diestro(Holland)

Sunday Evening -European Agility Cup
Andreas Mayer Athora of Magic Borders Austria C 34.23
Jenny Damm Lotus Sweden C 35.75
Stuart Harmes Trelogan Trim Wales C 36.60
Bianca van Gastel Diestro Holland 5 33.48
Toni Lock Careless Whisper Scotland 5 34.38
Sam McCraken Sam’s Pride of Broughshane Ireland 5 39.60

Pedigree Olympia Flyball Team Competition
Winners – Packington DATC
2nd Northampton
3rd Watford
4th Rugby

Pedigree ABC All Stars Agility Final
1st Simplie a Fluke Sarah Blackshaw 40.36
2nd Minack Dixie Narco Penny Cooper 5 41.24
3rd Ballistic Burt Angela Williams 5 41.61
4th Sabrefields Sky’s the Limit Bridgette Wyre 5 43.69
5th Eckfords Border Reiver Siobhan Butterfield 5 44.56
6th Killinnan Fern Jim Darcy 5 48.37
7th Supple Superstition Helen Evans 10 38.24
8th Decoymans Piper Pirate Kerry Abbott 10 46.00