It’s a dog’s life as trial season begins

The sheep dog trial season has started in Otago.  Photo: Stephen Jaquiery.
The sheep dog trial season has started in Otago. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery.
Dog trial season is under way, with a big week ahead in May for the Otago centre.

The South Island championships will be held at Warepa, in South Otago, starting on May 1.

The centre’s first trial for the season was held recently at Lowburn and entries were well up on last year.

It was a particularly good couple of days for members of the Omakau-Earnscleugh Collie Club, who featured among the prizewinners.

Duncan Campbell, from Earnscleugh Station, won the long head with Zip, while his father, Alistair, was third in the straight hunt with Ra.

Bill Hinchey and Mist won the short head and yard and Paul McCarthy and Gay were third, while Barry Murphy and Grizz were fifth in the zigzag hunt.

Scott Milne, who is a member of the St Bathans club, but helps out at the Omakau-Earnscleugh trials, won the straight hunt with Gus.

Mr Hinchey said the season had got off to a good start and the club was hoping to qualify a few dogs for the New Zealand championships which will be held at Whangara, between Gisborne and Tolaga Bay, starting on May 29.

Last year, the club shifted its trials from the Waikerikeri Valley to Earnscleugh Station where extensive development has taken place.

Three of the courses worked well. The long head was not practical for a championship course and what was virtually a new course had been built for this year’s club trials on February 19 and 20, he said.

Favourable feedback had been received from competitors and the development had "actually strengthened the club", which had about 24 members and welcomed new members.

Omakau-Earnscleugh has put its name forward to the Otago centre to be considered to host the South Island championships in 2021.

It would be great for the area if the club was successful, as there were about 280 entries in each event, Mr Hinchey said.

The club was fundraising to further develop the courses. It was running a Central Otago winter feed competition, in conjunction with Omakau School, and most of the funds raised were going to the Omakau first response unit.

It was hoped it would become an annual event for farmers in the Ida Valley and Omakau area, culminating in a dinner and auction.The club was also providing support for the finale of the Otago Goldfields Cavalcade’s 25th anniversary event which finishes in Omakau on March 4. It was having a fastest yard competition and also running the bar.

Results of the Lowburn dog trials held on January 27 and 28. — Long head: D Campbell (Zip) 93 1, P Collins (Tilly) 91 2, W Hinchey (Mist) 88.5 3, D Hudson (Stone) 87.5 4, B Murphy (Jane) 86 5. Intermediate: D Campbell (Zip). Maiden: Michael Clark (Mac) 80.75.

Short head and yard: B Hinchey (Mist) 88.5 1, D McRae (Haze) 86.4 2, P McCarthy (Gay) 65.4 3, J Davis (Dick) 64.2 4, G Allison (Luck) 63.8 5. Intermediate and maiden: P McCarthy (Gay).

Zigzag hunt: J Kotlowski (Digger) 97 1, A Ward (Toy) 95 2, G Dickie (Bourne) 94 3, Duncan McRae (Murphy) 93 4, B Murphy (Grizz) 92 5. Intermediate: J Kotlowski (Digger). Maiden: G Metherell (Rebel) 88.5.

Straight hunt: S Milne (Gus) 98 1, P Boys (Gem) 97.75 2, A Campbell (Ra) 97.5 3, J Kotlowski (Digger) 97 4, P Collins (Tiger) 96.5 5. Intermediate: J Kotlowski (Digger). Maiden: P Heaney (Cruze) 95.5.

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