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Kiwi Dogs Challenge Their Aussie Kin

Kiwi Dogs Challenge Their Aussie Kin At Mystery Creek

New Zealand dogs and their owners will be pitting their skills against the Australians this Friday (June 15).

A trans-Tasman test will be a highlight of the Pedigree Meaty Bites Yard Dog Trials being held at the Mystery Creek Field Days.

Rural Business Manager of Pedigree Meaty-Bites, Ross Pritchard, has been involved in the trials since their inception and says they are an excellent event for spectators and competitors alike.

“The arena is compact, about half the size of a rugby field, so spectators get really involved in the event,” he says. “It’s also a very accessible event for competitors and the rules are very straightforward.”

The two top New Zealand competitors in the national trials held earlier in the day will pit themselves against Australians Steve Condell and Geoff MacDougall in what is likely to be a very evenly matched test.

Prior to the test, the Australians will be competing in the New Zealand final which is a good opportunity for them to become accustomed to the conditions at Mystery Creek and the behaviour of New Zealand sheep.

Steve with kelpie, Harry, and Geoff with border collie, Butch, won the Murray Valley Championship Yard Trials at the Henty Field Days last year. They are both from New South Wales.

The trans-Tasman test has been held since 1998 and the winner has consistently been the home team, although when the test was last held in New Zealand in 1999 the New Zealanders won by a very slim margin of 1.5 points.

New Zealand competitors and spectators always enjoy seeing the Australian kelpies at work. They are much smaller and lighter than the New Zealand huntaways and don’t make nearly as much noise.

John Chittock from Gore who judged last year finals and is a finalist this year says the trans-Tasman test is always a highlight. “The Australian dogs are unreal. They’re so nimble on their feet, almost a cross between our huntaways and heading dogs.”

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