2017 IGL Retriever Championship

9 December 2017

Pernice Press was pleased to co-sponsor the 2017 IGL Retriever Championship, held on Dec 4, 5 and 6 at Hy-Fly Game Hatcheries in Lancashire. Host Raymond Holden and his family moved heaven and earth to hold the event after devastating losses earlier in the year from an outbreak of avian flu, as well as torrential rains that flooded the coast one week before. 

Head Keeper Kevin Hughes and his team of beaters and stops succeeded in the enormous task of providing a steady flow of game for so many competitors over the three days, and the IGL’s efficient organisation and friendly smiles created a welcoming atmosphere. Judges Roddy Forbes, Judy Rainey, Alan Schofield and Sara Gadd offered copper-bottomed experience in gamekeeping, shooting and trialling from the extreme North to the South of Britain.

The Duke of Buccleuch’s FTCh Buccleuch Xena, handled by David Lisett, was a popular winner. This three-year old bitch started the season as a novice with a professional handler who had earned his reputation with spaniels rather than Labradors. After an intensive summer training with the help of John Halsted, ‘Daisy’ started the season as a novice, and finished as both Field Trial Champion and 2017 Retriever Champion.

The name Buccleuch is written into the fabric of early Labrador history, from some of the first Newfoundland dogs to reach British shores to early IGL Championship winners like FTChs Peter and Patron of Faskally, whose pedigrees carried Buccleuch breeding on both sides. When David Lisett took over as gundog trainer at Queensberry Estate 14 years ago the original Labrador bloodlines were almost lost, and only one breeding female remained. Under his careful stewardship the original bloodlines were brought back from the brink of extinction and have now reached the highest level of achievement.