KC Olympia Agility Stakes supported by Pedigree (semi-finals)

The Kennel Club International Agility Festival, Peterborough

Report by Dave Ray (Event Organiser)


It was always going to be a good place to have Olympia semi-finals and this year, with the Festival extended to three days it proved to be ideal. The Festival itself was superb, the new layout this year was excellent and we had a magnificent main ring to run all the major events. It was a shame we were plagued this year with wind, rain and a downpour on the Sunday afternoon but as they say it could have been cancelled!

A lot of talk at the moment about the likelihood of the Festival moving and as part of this talk the topic of where is the middle of the country? As in common with most events the Festival working party are constantly looking for better venues but with a show of this size choice becomes limited, not only about the space required, availability but about how much venue owners want to charge. Also, even if there is enough acreage, it is about how useable it is. Some venues think that their sites will be fine that is until you look at how many trees there are, where the roadways are and how disjointed a layout becomes so it is very difficult to find suitable venues at a cost you can live with especially as the KC do not run the Festival as a profit. No doubt if a better venue comes to the fore it would be considered for the Festival. Then there is the other question – should it be in the middle of the country? And if so where is the middle of the country? Well, it was never intended to be in the middle of the country as such.

The criteria is and has always been to get the best venue within a reasonable travelling distance of Dogs in Need. The venues situated along the A14 corridor fulfil that criteria. I’m sure if we needed to move further afield to get the right venue then that was an option to be seriously considered. But certainly when we canvassed opinions originally, prospective handlers preferred to have a longer journey to the Festival but a shorter journey at the conclusion of the show down to Dogs in Need in Ipswich.

KC OLYMPIA LARGE DOG SEMI-FINAL 5
JUDGE JOHN GILBERT
I was very pleased that John agreed to judge the semi-finals for me as he is one of the UK’s best and most senior judges and with the talk about having the level of difficulty pitched at the correct grading that was not going to be a problem with John.

John certainly decided that for a premier semi-final it certainly wasn’t going to be a quick run round. But as always as what happens with these things as soon as a couple of handlers got eliminated I think this snow balled a little bit and may have affected the way that the handlers handled the course.

First to go, the unfortunate soul who had drawn to run first was Dave Munnings with his young Agility Champion dog Gunran Misteree. He may have missed out on Olympia last year but he certainly wasn’t going to let it happen this year. He put in an absolutely stunning round and finished to a huge round of applause from the audience in a time of 35.65. We said at the time how is anyone going to beat that and the fact is that nobody could. He went into first place and that is where he stayed. The next two handlers were eliminated then running fourth, Matthew Goodliffe got himself 5 faults and went into second place a full 2 seconds slower than Dave Munnings time.

There were 3 more eliminations following this until Sue Rolfe went into second place with a clear in 37.09 swiftly followed by a elimination for Andy Sandercock. Running tenth was Hannah Banks and she had a clear round but a bit on the steady side in 40.30 so just 0.30 of a time fault but enough to put her into 3rd place at that moment in time. Two more eliminations followed for Malcolm Card and Judy Gaden and then running thirteenth it was lucky for Sam Davies. She was running her husbands dog Magical Liquorice Alsorts who of course was the Olympia winner last year. Sam went into 3rd place with a clear in 37.67 which is where she would stay. Following her unfortunately was an elimination for Nic Jones. Nancy Hudson was next up and she put in a good clear in 39.30 and went into 4th place.

A nail biting position to be with another 5 dogs to go but we would see 3 of those 5 suffering eliminations. Running 17th with Waggerland Wildcard was Hannah Banks. She put in a very good clear in 38.30 putting her in 4th place and pushing Nancy down to 5th. The last to go in the semi final was Claire Thrift with Bekkis Panache. By this time Nancy Hudson in 5th place was looking a little bit nervous. But Olympia wasn’t to be for Claire this year, she picked up 10 faults and would ultimately finish in 8th place.

It was a very exciting course and certainly very exciting to watch but unfortunately we had 12 eliminations, 3 handlers with faults and 5 clear rounds. It was interesting to note that Dave Munnings winning time was almost 1.5 seconds faster than the second place dog handled by Sue Rolfe.

KC OLYMPIA MEDIUM DOG SEMI-FINAL
JUDGE JOHN GILBERT

A total of 36 handlers and dogs had qualified for the medium semi-final with the top ten going through to the Olympia finals on Thursday 18th December. So needed to get in the top 27% in this competition to make it to Olympia (another piece of useless information!) and as it was the same course we were all interested to see if anyone could beat Dave Munnings time. But I will save you checking the results because no one did BUT the handler who got closest to the time actually wasted a few split seconds towards the end of the course so perhaps it was achievable but we will never know. It certainly was an exciting competition with 16 eliminations and only 8 clear rounds.

The unfortunate soul who was drawn first in the mediums was Blair Cochrane with his miniature poodle but he had 5 faults and unfortunately 2.6 time faults as well and as the second dog was eliminated at least Blair was in the lead for two dogs! Amanda Hampson and her NSDTR running third had no course faults but sadly had 3.44 time faults which ultimately would put her in the dreaded 11th place at the end.

The next handler to be really in contention was running tenth who was Laura Richardson with her Staffie Mahogany Girl and she took the lead in a clear round of 43.22. Amy Bennett and her Sheltie running twelfth just failed to catch her with a clear in 44.03 which put her into 2nd place. Anna Burton running fourteenth with her cocker jumped into first place with a clear of 42.35 but she couldn’t enjoy the fame for long as running fifteenth was Joanna Tristram with her crossbreed took the lead off her in a time of 40.40 and Joanna hardly had time to pat herself on the back before Bernadette Bay with Sheltie Zen took 2 seconds off her time and snatched the lead in 38.40.

Running twenty-second up struts Toni Dawkins with her BC Minx. Toni has had some really tough luck and tends to be really brilliant or nowhere and today she was brilliant. She went round the course like a rocket and as I said at the beginning nearly beat the time of Dave Munnings but she snatched the lead in a time of 36.71 and that is where she stayed until the end. Well done Toni.
Running next was Gary Cummings with his Patterdale, a few time faults but would ultimately end up in 10th place. And the last two handlers that would finish in the top ten were firstly running thirty-first was Heather Lee running her JR cross who had a clear in a very creditable time of 41.21 and the last handler to run in today’s semi-final young Adam Wildman with Za Zar Zoom his Kelpie. He didn’t have any course faults but had 0.23 time faults but would finish in 9th place making him the youngest handler to qualify for Olympia.

Disappointment of the day was for me Natasha Wise. Great dog, great handler but got the tunnels mixed up today!

I would like to thank our judge Mr John Gilbert for judging for us and Jackie Brett for scribing. Thanks also to Graham Partridge for commentating and if you bump into him just remind him that there are two ‘o’s’ in Cook! Thank you to the Festival ring party and to Pauline Barr who took care of the administration on the way down to Dogs in Need.

RESULTS OF KC OLYMPIA LARGE DOG SEMI-FINAL 5
COURSE TIME - 40 SECONDS

Place Handler Dog Breed
Time
Faults
1st Dave Munnings AG CH GUNRAN MISTEREE BC
35.657
C
2nd Sue Rolfe KESTREL GTX BC
37.096
C
3rd Sam Davies MAGICAL LIQUORICE ALSORTS WSD
37.679
C
4th Hannah Banks WAGGERLAND WILDCARD BC
38.303
C
5th Nancy Hudson BRYNING RED RASCAL BC
39.121
C

RESULTS OF KC OLYMPIA MEDIUM DOG SEMI-FINAL
COURSE TIME - 45 SECONDS

Place Handler Dog Breed
Time
Faults
1st Toni Dawkins AG CH TENITA MAGIC MINX BC
36.711
C
2nd Bernadette Bay AG CH OBAY TRULY BALANCED Sheltie
38.401
C
3rd Joanne Tristram ELLIE DE LYSTON X
40.404
C
4th Heather Lee TIPPY TIPEX TIPPYTIPTOES JRX
41.214
C
5th Sarah Evans WICKED WILLIAM Cocker
41.523
C
6th Anna Burton DANA’S TIGERLILY Cocker
42.351
C
7th Laura Richardson MAHOGANY GIRL Staffie
43.229
C
8th Amy Bennett HEIDRON DREAM COME TRUE FOR XOTICA Sheltie
44.031
C
9th Adam Wildman ZA ZAR ZOOM Kelpie
45.232
0.232
10th Gary Cummings MONKEY MADNESS NOWORRIES Patterdale
46.556
1.556

 



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