A tremendous amount of time and effort are required to produce a trial of this magnitude. THANK YOU to the committee, co-chairs Barbara Ray & Lori Cunningham, Michelle Dobbs, all the volunteers, the set out crew and every one who made this week at Belle Grove possible. While the extreme weather conditions made executing the National much more difficult, it appeared seamless to the handlers and we greatly appreciate the hard work. Thank you also to Susan Rhoades for offering the practice field.
Congratulations to Scot Glen & Don and all those in top placings.
Neither Alasdair nor I did well in the nursery. Alasdair ran Renee Newcomb's Skye and like many dogs, retired in the first run. Nell showed glimpses of both her mother & father (Star X Alba Cap) in round 1 and made it through to round 2, but with running sheep that she could not get with I retired. We enjoy watching the young dogs and it is a treat to see those from parts of the country we do not travel.
The highlight for me was running Max in his 10th consecutive National at 12 yrs. old. We drew a difficult ewe in the qualifying and did not make the semi but as always, Max punched above his weight. He looked more like a 6 year old than a 12 year old in this, his last National. It has been an brilliant journey. His natural ability and talent have afforded me invaluable experience. He is a tremendous partner and friend; I am so grateful and incredibly blessed.
Cap ran exceptionally well in the semi's but did not get the breaks; with a difficult ewe and a shortened clock we timed out before the single, missing the cut for the final. Alasdair and Jim suffered a similar fate but Alasdair made it through to the final with Sweep and was Reserve Champion! They had a flawless turn back, best gather, excellent drive and Sweep was very impressive and positive in the ring.
We bred Sweep in 2009. He is out of Alba Lyn (Alba Cap's litter sister) & by Don Russell's Sweep (a son of Alasdair's Sweep).
With the same complex formula in which I selected Cap (looks like my Bear :-)) I choose Sweep as a puppy. I ran him in the nurseries in 2011 National (we finished 8th) & gave him to Alasdair in Dec 2012 as I had 4 open dogs. In that short time Alasdair and Sweep have developed a remarkable partnership and they are an amazing team!
I am also very excited and proud of Peg Anderson and Spot. They had a great National finishing 4th in the Double Lift-congratulations.
Although fashion lost out to function and the weather was gloomy, the good friends and good dogs (especially the good friends who make a mean lemon drop), made for another great National!