Trophy haul for top Lab retriever

Pete Southee, of Galloway, with dog trial champion Greybanks Georgie (left) and 3-year-old up-and...
Pete Southee, of Galloway, with dog trial champion Greybanks Georgie (left) and 3-year-old up-and-coming novice Stormbay Kall of the Wild, or Wolf. PHOTO: YVONNE O'HARA
Pete Southee, of Galloway, has the top Labrador retriever in the country and he has three trophies and a shield to prove it.

Nine-year-old Grandfield Trial champion Greybanks Georgie, Mr Southee, and his wife Jan, attended the New Zealand Gundog Trial Association's national championships in Twizel at the weekend.

Previously, because of her success in the recent South Island Gundog Trial championships in Alexandra, Georgie had 54 challenge points, and only required two more to become the top-scoring Labrador gundog retriever in the country for the sport since the 1950s.

Her success at the national competitions took her total to 59 (earned during her trialling career) and the Southees are delighted.

``She also won the Gun Dog of the Year and the All Breeds Dog of the Year titles,'' Mr Southee said.

Georgie had to compete in two land trials, each time locating and retrieving three pigeons, and a water trial in which she had to find two birds.

``I wasn't optimistic when we started.

``It came as a complete surprise as she was poor in the water trial.

``Her water score was one of the lowest [of all the dogs competing] but her two land scores were high and we won by three points [in total].''

In addition to a car full of prizes, Georgie's trophy haul included the Shadow Cup for the highest aggregate score for retriever breeds, the Gordon Clarke trophy for the Allbreeds Dog of the Year, the New Zealand Retriever Championship cup and the Gundog of the Year shield.

Mr Southee's other dog, a 3-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever, Stormbay Kall of the Wild, or Wolf, came second in the novice section and second in the limit section, its first run in that category.

``He went well,'' he said.

Mr Southee has been trialling for about 30 years and he and Georgie represented New Zealand in Australia last year.

The team has another trial in Christchurch next month before they can rest for the season.

Bill Johnsen and Tekuri Southern Belle, of Clyde, were second in the puppy (under 12 months) section.

David Faichney, and Makarua Juno of Diverwell, of Queenstown, won the New Zealand Limit section.

 - Yvonne O'Hara

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