Friday, February 13, 2009

The Coursing Season in Review: Part III

And now for the final installment of the coursing season review.

Gil attended one last hunt for the season while Fecni attended two. As mentioned in a previous post, Fecni tried her luck at a NOFCA mixed hunt and ended up tying for 5th place against some of the top coursing Greyhounds and Whippets in this part of the country.

The weekend prior to Fecni's mixed hunt victory both she and Gil headed back out for another rare breed hunt. The weather was much fairer this time around (thank goodness!) and we had a nice entry of 6 Ibizans, 1 Galgo, 4 Afghans and the two MA's. That gave us enough dogs to split the stake into two with the Ibizans forming one stake and the rest of the dogs making up the other stake.

Since we had had a lot of luck popping rabbits in the high brush up against the levy we decided to start there. It turns out that without the strong winds all the bunnies had moved out into the open. We were happy to move ourselves out of the high brush and out into the middle of field, but unfortunately there were quite a few rabbits that got away because we were moving too fast. Still, we managed to finish on finals at a decent hour. Gil ran a very nice prelim course with Santana the Galgo and Wendy the Afghan. The rabbit broke right and took the dogs right back towards the high brush that we had just come from. The dogs had a good decent-length chase before the rabbit decided to head up the levy. Gil wasn't able to clear the levy and lost sight of the hare. The Galgo managed to climb up the levy but by the time he reached the top the rabbit was long gone. Gil won the course and moved up to finals.

Fecni didn't have such good luck in her prelim. Even though the brush was thinner out in the open, there were a lot of these toothpick-like reeds that stuck out of the ground all over the place, making it hard for a lot of the dogs to get sighted. Fecni put in a hard run but in the end she didn't make it to finals. That left Gil and the two Afghans Neka and Fiana running off in the final course.

We didn't have to walk long before the rabbit popped from the right and took a hard left right in front of the dogs. Gil got a late slip which gave the Afghans a good lead on the rabbit, but it didn't take long before Gil caught up and wrenched a right-hand turn on the hare. The rabbit carried all the dogs waaaaay out into the field until they were just about out of sight. We could see some dust kicked up about midway through the course where we believe Gil attempted a take but failed. He was temporarily slowed down but picked up the pace quickly with the two Afghans following up from behind. This rabbit also tried to escape by heading up the levy, but this time Gil climbed his way up and continued his hot pursuit with the Afghans following along the bottom of the bank ready to catch it in case it decided to come back down. It was an incredible course, by far the longest one run that day, with a lot of hard work put in by all three dogs. I have to say, the Afghans did an amazing job and their owners should be very proud of them!

At the end of the day Gil ended up taking first place, followed by Neka in second and Fiana in third. That gave Gil the last points he needed to finish his Coursing Championship, making him the very first member of his breed in America to earn a NOFCA title.

All in all it was a great coursing season, with a lot of great running and great people. We can hardly wait until next year!

Many thanks to Dave Mills for the wonderful photography!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Race Practice Videos

Here are some long-awaited videos from the race practice that we had back in January.

This one's a race between Gil and Willow. Gil ended up winning this one:

Belle's single runs:

Gator and Luna:

And last but not least, the race between Gil and Gower the Lurcher. This was a very close and interesting race:

Another Nice Day of Race Practice

Bob and Jane Bulman of Point Breeze Greyhounds invited us to their home today for some oval track race practice. They have a beautiful 220 yard track with a plush peat moss surface, perfect for Greyhounds! It was so nice and soft I even let my accident-prone Greyhound, Humer, have a run on it.

Anyway, Gil had one nice solo run and then I asked Jane if she had a Greyhound that Gil could race against. She picked out a lovely little black dog named Ryder that Gil seemed to tower over. Gil made a nice clean break out of the boxes which put him in the lead for a short time. However, little Ryder soon caught up and passed Gil right after the first turn, proving that when it comes to a short sprint the Greyhound can't be beat. The MA's are really best suited for a longer distance where endurance is their strong point.

Thanks Bob and Jane for a great day!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Coursing Season in Review: Part II

I've finally gotten around to the second installment of the 2008 NOFCA coursing season now that I finished my first week of midterms (yay!)

Team Magyar Agar continued it's winning streak at the CRA's first breed hunt of the season. We had a nice entry of 9 which consisted of 6 Ibizan Hounds, 1 Galgo Espanol and of course the two MAs. We also had a couple of Greyhounds, an Afghan and a Borzoi working the gallery.

Fecni drew the first course of the day and within 2 minutes we had popped a hare. Fecni shot off the line like a bullet and won her prelim. Gil waited impatiently until the third course where he drew the Galgo and an Ibizan. The rabbit popped to the right and all three dogs ran off the line fully sighted. Gil won his prelim course too and he and Fecni drew the same final. Their finals course went off beautifully. Gil put a hard turn on the hare within seconds of leaving the line which pointed the hare right in Fecni's path. Everyone thought they were going to get it, but the lucky rabbit lived to run another day. In the end Gil took first place and Fecni came in second.

The second rare breed hunt of the season took place on January 3rd 2009. Team Magyar Agar rang in the new year with more great running.

On this day we had a split stake between Ibizans and the rest of the rare breeds. Gil drew the first course of the day along with two Afghans and took the highest score. Fecni also took the high score in her prelim brace which put both of them in the running for the final course. After having spent hours in the middle of the field with no luck we hit the jackpot when we headed towards a heavily-brushed levy on the far side of the field. The chilling winds had forced all the rabbits up against the levy and once we got our gallery in there they were popping left and right.

In Fecni and Gil's final course the rabbit popped from behind us. Despite having to make a full backwards turn, both dogs were sighted and closed in quickly. They hadn't gotten far when they both came to a diving stop. Gil had caught the hare!

With that, Gil and Fecni once again finished in first and second place respectively.

Stay tuned for part III ...