16 Dog All Age Stake for AV Retrievers on the 8th September 2015 at Brook Farm, Cuffley, Hertfordshire by kind permission of Mr Dave Thomas and The Brook Farm Shoot
Judges: Barbara Kuen, Dave Barnes, Jane Sizer and Mike Rollinson
The club has been holding a trial at this ground for well over ten years with some of the guns shooting for the club on every occasion. This year was no different and although there were a few new faces in the team, every one shot at the high level we have come to expect from them. The first drive of the day produced birds, which dropped in woodland and a newly landscaped area around an existing lake. This provided very testing first round retrieves for the dogs, which had to hunt thick cover or pick from water. Sadly we lost seven dogs by the end of the second round. The remaining nine dogs were taken on to the next drive, which saw the guns lined out on a stubble field. The terrain and distribution of fallen game on this drive allowed the judges to test the dogs handling ability. Three dogs were dropped at this point, with the judges taking six through to the final drive. The last drive saw the dogs sat some 200m behind the guns with the birds falling in deep grass or tall game cover. The first two dogs were asked to pick a bird from the game cover, which they completed successfully. The next dog was sent to the same area, but after much hunting, failed to pick. A second dog was tried and that also failed. Rodger Ketley’s dog Highroost Hollywood was sent, disappearing from view into the game cover, and within seconds reappeared with a bird. Highroost Hollywood had done some good work all day and a good two-dog eye wipe on his last retrieve lifted him into first place. My thanks go to all the people that helped to make the day go smoothly, including stewards, bird markers, game carriers and Louise Bailey for supplying cakes and sandwiches at the end of the day.