A late run at Monymusk from local Aberdeenshire handler, Ian Wilkie and Skye, took the lead over a well travelled field at the first of two linked trials over the weekend.

The Texel cross hoggs were light to handle in the morning but settled to become heavier during the day on a slightly rising course of growthy grass, but they were not keen on the pen.

Skye (E Nilsson’s Midderry Kid, I Wilkie’s Floss) ran out cleanly to her sheep and had a good fetch and a near faultless drive. She penned with some persuasion, and a clean shed set the seal on the winning run.

Early in the day, Brendon Smith’s Chip made a big impression with a tremendous run on light sheep and established a lead which held until two late runs caught up and Skye overtook him.

Chip (P Byrne's Jim, A Gallagher's Tess) ran out a little wide but lifted cleanly and worked well on the course, with only minor wavers. It took time to put the sheep into the pen, but Chip managed that without letting them break and a clean shed completed one of few finished runs of the early morning.

Andy Carnegie’s Suus (E Groot’s Preseli Roy, J Roos’ Bess) dropped a little on his outrun and lift and his fetch wavered, but a good drive and clean work at hand put Suus into third place, level on points with Chip.

Bennachie saw the same sheep run again on the same field as Monymusk, but they were consistent throughout the day, requiring a dog with power and tact to handle them successfully.

An exceptional run from Cameron Dickson’s Tom (DK Evans’ Ace, U Stromer’s Caefelin Gwen) saw man and dog working as one, to win the trial with a clean start and finish, straight lines and tight turns and only three minor deviations from line incurred.

Ian Sutherland’s Dan (Hielan Cap) (J MacDiarmid’s Rab, S Robertson’s Ruby) stopped short at the top of the field, dropped minor points on the course and finished with clean work at hand and second place.

A run off was called at Hunterston to separate the top three dogs.

Mule hoggs ran well on a big flat field, but the cross drive was hard to judge and the hoggs found out weak dogs and proved hard to pen and shed.

Chris Toner’s Niro Mace (R Watson’s Ace, C Toner’s Maid) started with a tremendous outrun and worked well until he had trouble turning the sheep round Chris’ feet. Once he got them moving, they played up again at the first drive gate, but again Mace got them on track and went to finish well and the run off gave him first place.

Ross Henderson’s Lad (J Hill’s Priory Kep and Mollie) worked faultlessly outbye, had a little trouble turning into the drive away, but a good turn out and good cross drive was marred by a wide turn. A clean pen followed, although the shed was a little indecisive, but the run brought him into contention for a win, eventually taking second in the decider.

Sandy McCulloch’s Breynor Juno (A McCulloch’s Sam, BC Lester’s Jill) had an excellent outrun, and worked well from there, but her turns through the drive gates were wider than ideal. Clean work at hand brought her level with Mace and Lad, but the run off made her third.

Leading Awards

Monymusk (Judge: MC Shearer, Wesfield). Open – 67 ran – 1, I Wilkie’s Skye, Tillypronie, 104 /110; 2, B Smith’s Chip (Flash), Dunrossness, 102 outbye; 3, AD Carnegie’s Suus, Comrie, 102; 4, N Campbell’s Moss, Kinross, 101; 5, K Donald’s Bill, Dalrymple, 96 Outbye; 6, M Gallagher’s Hillrunner Bee, Alyth, 96.

Bennachie (Judge: G Simpson, Forgue). Open – 51 ran – 1, C Dickson's Tom, Coldingham, 97, 2, I Sutherland’s Dan (Hielan Cap), Strathnaver, 94; 3, MC Shearer’s Viking Cap, Westfield, 93 outbye; 4, V Shearer’s Viking Misty, Westfield, 93; 5, L Ronaldson’s Bob, Wick, 91 outbye; 6, E Nilsson’s Avon Jacob, Alyth, 91; 2 trial aggregate (Willie Davidson memorial trophy) B Smith’s Chip, Dunrossness.

Hunterston (Judge: D Robertson, Langholm). Open – 65 ran – 1, C Toner's Niro Mace Drimsynie, 94 run off; 2, R Henderson’s Lad, Gifford, 94; 3, A McCulloch’s Breynor Juno, Dalmellington, 94; 4, SL Davidson’s Dan, Sandbank, 91; 5, C Toner’s Niro Tammi, Drimsynie, 90; 6, L Gast’s Foxridge Vix, Scalpsie, 88.