Chris Toner kept Niro Mace back off his sheep on the drive at Springhill where the hoggs responded to an un-pressured atmosphere, ensuring Mace achieved the best run of the day.

The early batch of Cheviot hoggs ran well, but the later consignments proved lighter to handle. The course first ran downhill and crossed two consecutive ditches, then ran up a slope to where the sheep were released, before descending down the fetch and across two bridges. Most dogs coped with the crossings, but tended to have trouble keeping the sheep on line.

Mace (R Watson’s Ace, C Toner’s Maid) ran out and lifted well, and although the hoggs took off on the fetch, he put them through the gate and turned them nicely round Chris.

By working at a distance and taking the pressure off the sheep on the drive, Mace managed to keep good lines and neat turns. A clean pen and a good shed consolidated the winning run.

Neil McVicar’s Mark (JP McGee’s Glencregg Silver, IM Brownlie’s Lia) ran out and lifted well and he had a tidy run until one hogg slipped by the cross drive gate. A break at the pen further detracted from a good start, but a clean shed helped to make up for that and Mark earned second place, ahead of third by virtue of his good work outbye.

Ian Brownlie’s Lark (D Robertson’s Joe, A Watson’s Fan) ran out and lifted well, but his sheep took off on the fetch and although he got his gates, his turns were wider than ideal.

He redeemed himself at the pen, where he made good work of holding a packet that was determined to break and finished in third.

Leading Awards

Springhill (Judge: D Wallace, Blyth Bridge). Open – 42 ran – 1, C Toner’s Niro Mace Drimsynie, 91; 2, N McVicar’s Mark, Benmore, 89 outbye; 3, IM Brownlie’s Lark, Dunbar, 89; 4, C Balmbro’s Liz, Wooler, 88; 5, S Morgan’s Moss, Heriot, 87; 6, C Dickson’s Tom, Coldingham 86.