Skilful handling of unpredictable hoggs by Alan Wilkie and Spot earned a comfortable lead over the field at Ardormie.

A misty morning made visibility difficult at the top of a rising, green course. The Easy Care hoggs tended to walk calmly across the cross drive until they were drawn to a gate ahead of them, when they realised it offered a route to freedom from the restrictions of the trial course.

Welsh-bred Spot ran out and lifted cleanly, and had a good fetch with just a waver before the fetch gate to fault it. Alan and Spot kept the sheep calm on the cross drive and handled them very well. Alan anticipated any attempted break by positioning Spot in the prime position to deter a break, keep the sheep on a good line and make a neat turn. A clean pen and shed set the seal on the winning run.

Sion Morgan’s Middery Kim (M Magnusson’s Kilcreen Seal, L Magnussons’s Mol), started out cleanly, and she had a good fetch. The drive started well and although the hoggs wavered off line on the cross drive, they went through the gate. A clean pen and a very good shed completed the work in second place, level on points with third.

Blackface and Cheviot hoggs, running in packets of their own breed, behaved well on home ground at Benmore. The cross drive was not easy to judge and many runs went wrong there, so a good drive gave Chris Toner’s Maid the edge over the field.

Maid (DK Evans’ Doug, C Toner’s Marge) ran out and lifted well and made good work of the fetch and drive, with only minor wavers. She penned after a little work at the mouth of the pen and followed that up with a good shed, to secure first place.

Neil McVicar was in good form winning second and third places with Bill and Mist, respectively.

Neil’s Bill (R Hutchison’s Sweep, N McVicar’s Nicki) ran steadily with minor wavers over the piece, but a good finish raised the standard and helped to attain second placed.

The Blackface ewes at Fairlie were manageable on a downhill sloping course, but they were not easily navigated round the drive and most missed their gates.

Cathinka Paterson’s Cass ran out to her sheep and lifted them cleanly and although she had difficulty keeping them on line on the fetch and drive, she penned cleanly. The shed was more challenging, but once the split was made, Cass earned first place, with kennel mate Tib, close behind.

LEADING awards

Benmore (Judge: J MacDougal, Milton of Buchannan) Open – 62 ran – 1, C Toner’s Maid, Drimsynie, 92; 2, N McVicar’s Bill, Benmore, 91; 3, N McVicar’s Mist, Benmore, 89; 4, J Ramsay’s Fly, Ollaberry, 88; 5, AD Carnegie’s Linburn Rook, Comrie, 87; 6, J Ramsay’s Drift, Ollaberry, 87 Outbye; £900 raised for 2019 Scottish National trial.

Ardormie (Judge: S Martin, Cashlie,) Open – 40 ran – 1, A Wilkie’s Spot, Glenmoy, 90; 2, S Morgan’s Mid Derry Kim, Heriot, 85 Outbye; 3, AD Carnegie’s Sweep, Comrie, 85; 4, M Magnusson’s Sprout, Mid Derry, 84; 5, CM Magnusson’s Kemi Sally, Mid Derry, 83; 6, S Morgan’s Tess, Heriot,78; £428 raised for International trial.

Borders v Lanark, Lothian & Peeblesshire bounce (Judge: D Robertson, Langholm) Nursery – 2 teams of 9 ran –1, S Morgan’s Mid Derry Kim, Heriot, 80 (LLP); 2, C Dickson’s Stuart, Coldingham, 79 (B); 3, J Hill’s Bill, Heriot, 74 (LLP); 4, H Brown’s Mac, Coulter, 70 (LLP); 5, N Shaw’s Molly, Selkirk, 65 (LLP); 6, D Wallace’s Jill, Blyth Bridge, 66 (LLP); Teams – 1, LLP, 593; 2, 569.

Fairlie (Judge: R Middleton, Dunlop) Novice - 10 ran –1, C Paterson’s Cass, Kilmalcolm, 68; 2, A Paterson’s Tib, Kilmalcolm, 67; 3, R Howatson’s Style, Fairlie, 59; 4, G Little’s Jen, Fairlie, 56; 5, T Lock’s Libby, Howwood, 52; 6, C Paterson’s Lexi, Kilmalcolm, 50; 7, V Mathie’s Liv, Kilmalcolm, 45.