A smooth, high scoring run from Fraser Shennan and Fred won the Scottish Inter-District Nursery final, at Balyett, Stranraer, with a clear lead over of the field, and Fred’s litter brother Nap taking fifth.

Fred (E Gray’s Reiver Gray, F Shennan’s Belle) worked particularly well, running out and lifting cleanly, dropping only minor points for slight wavers on the course and completing the winning run with good work at hand.

Fraser said: “Both dogs, Fred and Nap, handled the sheep well for the day. They worked as I wanted them to – apart from Nap’s shed. Fred has been consistently ahead all season.”

The trial, competed by 10 district teams of five dogs, was set on a big, open flat field and although the fit Blackface hoggs showed the spirit one might expect of them, good young dogs proved they were manageable.

They were drawn to the spectator’s left on the fetch and on the drive away but the proximity of the pen to the starting post presented a distraction for the sheep as dogs attempted to turn them away on to the first leg of the drive, with many packets aiming for the pen, and resisting the guidance of the dog towards the drive.

The Scottish Farmer: Fraser Shennan was champion with Fred and came fifth with NapFraser Shennan was champion with Fred and came fifth with Nap

The quick turn gave dogs little time to realign their sheep on the first leg, whereas the long fetch allowed time to correct wavering lines.

After a clean start, Fred had a good fetch and won the Jimmy McNeil trophy for best outbye work. As he turned the sheep at the end of the fetch, Fred got ahead, to the front of the pen and blocked them, so they turned away to the drive.

He had little trouble from there on and achieved a good drive. A good pen and a clean shed completed the winning run with a clear lead over the field.

Fred’s late run overtook the erstwhile leader, Ian Brownlie’s Beck that had held the lead since the second of five rounds of ten dogs.

Beck (N McVicar’s Baledmund Pete and Niro Midge) ran out and lifted cleanly, had a good fetch, and kept tight control of her sheep on the turn onto the drive.

They did not flow along the first leg, but Beck kept them on the route and put them through the gate. Ian took a cautious approach there and avoided the possibility of a neat turn becoming a turn back through the gate, letting them well through before Beck turned them on to a good cross drive. A clean pen followed and although the shed was made, it was not taken from the required location; once made, the run put Beck in poll position on 86points.

In the same round, Chris Toner’s Fern Hill Spot proved a contender for the prize list on 78points.

Beck’s run overtook the early leader, Elinore’s Nilsson’s Dalriada Amy, the third run of the day which, with Lisa Gast’s (Scalpsie Kelp) Herbie on 79 and Jasmine Grant’s Nell on 78, got the first round of the trial off to a promising start. Herbie finished ninth, while Nell was displaced on outbye.

Dalriada Amy (E Nilsson’s Midderry Kid, M Gallagher’s Val) was a little short on her outrun which impacted on her lift, but she fetched on a good line and had no trouble turning her packet on to the drive where she kept up the standard and made a good return to the pen.

The sheep broke round the back of the pen, before Amy retrieved them and secured them within. She completed a first class run with a clean shed and finished third on 85points.

The third round produced three fairly closely matched runs to make the prize list.

Geordie Simpson’s Greiston Mick (RW Laurie’s Jay Beez Sky and Groesfaen Nap) stopped short at the top and his hoggs took off, spoiling the lift, but he got control of them on the fetch and managed them well from there.

Mick turned them on to the drive without a problem and achieved a good drive, earning the John Paterson trophy for best drive. A clean pen and a tidy shed completed the run on 83points, eventually taking fourth place.

Fraser’s Nap (E Gray’s Reiver Gray, F Shennan’s Belle) ran out and lifted cleanly but his packet fought their way round the course. Despite that, he handled them well and Fraser avoided the bogey on the turn round the post, as he had done with Fred.

Nap worked them round the course and put them faultlessly into the pen. At the shed, he came nicely into a gap as the packet split, but as Fraser momentarily turned, Nap claimed the reject pair. The shed was made and accepted, but Nap’s error cost him half his shedding points and with 81points he finished in fifth place.

Stephen Martin’s Cherry earned eighth place on 79.

In the fourth round, Michael Gallagher Dalriada Chief (E Nilsson’s Midderry Kid, M Gallagher’s Val) responded to a command on his outrun to take him to his sheep and lifted well.

Chief kept them under good control down the fetch, but like others had a wide turn on to the drive. The hoggs continued to pull all the way out the first leg but Chief handled them well and put them through the gate. As he turned them on to the cross drive, the last two hoggs turned back though the gate making a hole in the run. A good cross drive followed and the hoggs returned nicely to a clean pen.

Chief’s good work in shedding off the last pair earned him the Tweeddale Sheepdogs trophy for the best pen and shed of the day, and a total of 81 points put him level on points with Nap, but taking sixth place, on outbye.

In the same round, Daniel Worthington’s Bob (Albert) made the prize list, to finish seventh on 80points.

The final, captains round saw Fraser and Fred triumph, while Ian Sutherland’s Cap completed the list in 10th place on outbye work, matching but displacing Jasmine Grant’s Nell, Chris Toner’s Fern Hill Spot and John Foster’s Cap, all on 78points.

Leading Awards

Inter-District Nursery final – 1, F Shennan’s Fred, Barr, 90; 2, IM Brownlie’s Beck, Dunbar, 86; 3, E Nilsson’s Dalriada Amy, Alyth, 85; 4, G Simpson’s Greiston Mick, Forgue, 83; 5, F Shennan’s Nap, Barr, 81 outbye; 6, M Gallagher’s Dalriada Chief, Alyth, 81; 7, D Worthington’s Bob (Albert), Skarfskerry, 80; 8, S Martin’s Cherry, Cashlie, 79 outbye; 9, L Gast’s (Scalpsie Kelp) Herbie, Scalpsie, 79; 10, I Sutherland’s Dan (Hielan Cap), Strathnaver, 78.

Teams – 1, North Scotland, 374; 2, Shetland, 310; 3, Dumfries and Kirkcudbright, 299.

Main Awards

John Ferguson Cup (champion) – F Shennan’s Fred, Barr.

Inter-district Trophy (breeder of champion) – F Shennan, Barr.

RSABI Quaich (runner up) – IM Brownlie’s Beck, Dunbar.

Robert Wallace Shield –North Scotland team.

Lyn Lewis Trophy (first time competitor) – D Worthington’s Bob (Albert), Skarfskerry.

James McNeil Memorial Trophy (best outbye) – F Shennan’s Fred, Barr.

John Paterson memorial Trophy (best drive) – G Simpson’s Greiston Mick, Forgue.

Bill Fleming Trophy (youngest competitor) – H Cooper’s Roy, New Deer.

HT Johnston Shield (handled by breeder) – F Shennan’s Fred, Barr.

Tweeddale Sheepdogs Trophy (best pen and shed) – M Gallagher’s Dalriada Chief, Alyth.