What an incredible few days we have had at The Kennel Club International Working Test, held at the prestigious Chatsworth Estate on Thursday 15th & Friday 16th June by kind permission of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.
The original Irish Gundog Team comprised of Tony with FTCH Tyrrellison Star Dreamer (Maisy), Declan Boyle with FTCH Miller McDuff, Billy Lundy with FTCH The Newcam Boss and Sean Diamond with FTCH Copperbirch Mandella.
Unfortunately, at the last minute, Tony was forced to withdraw Maisy due to an injury to her paw, leaving her unable to weight bare and therefore impossible to compete in the tests. The decision was made just one day prior to the competition to recruit Sean Nolan with Lettergreen Razzle to replace Tony and Maisy in the competition and appoint Tony as Team Captain. These last-minute changes certainly added to the pressure for the Irish Team.
After the completion of all the tests, there was a nervous wait while the scores were added up and certificates were printed by the wonderful team of Kennel Club staff and volunteers at the event. The Irish team were feeling positive after successfully picking every retrieve over the two days and starting the second day with a 33 point lead, however it was a welcome relief when Chairman of the Gundog Working Test, Anne Heading, took to the microphone to deliver the final result.
The results were as follows:
1st - Ireland (857 points)
2nd - United Kingdom (807 points)
3rd - Germany (796 points)
With a 50-point lead, Ireland won The Kennel Club International Working Test 2017 and each team member scored over 200 points individually. Billy Lundy secured Top Dog with FTCH The Newcam Boss, scoring an incredible 225 out of a possible 240 points. Declan Boyle achieved the second highest score of the competition with FTCH Miller McDuff gaining 218 points and Sean Diamond achieved the fourth highest score with FTCH Copperbirch Mandella, gaining 214 points.
Overall the Irish Gundog Team performed incredibly well despite a stressful line-up change just the day before. They were the only team in the competition to all score over 200 individually and not to incur any zero results, overcoming the pressure and nerves with no problems. It was an absolute pleasure to watch the handlers and their dogs over the two days.
Team Captain Tony made a speech on behalf of the team when they collected their trophy and awards. He said, "It has been a great two days and we have really enjoyed it. The tests were extremely well done and very sensible with the ground being good. The dogs worked really well and everyone was happy. I would just like to say thank you to everyone involved.''
The win was made even sweeter for the Irish Gundog Team, who have been competing in The Kennel Club International Working Test since 2011, as it was their first time winning the event.