A CLACKS dog breeder is hoping his luck will hold out this weekend as he enters a first-of-its-kind four-nations competition.

Alistair Learmonth, who runs Riffmuir Kennels in Alloa, is set to represent the Scottish HPR International Team at the renowned Game Fair, which is being held at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire this weekend.

The gundog breeder will be travelling with field trial champion (FTCh) Berriedale Vesta of Riffmuir – more affectionately known as Heidi.

Alistair hopes his luck will hold out as Heidi just earned first place at a gundog working test event held in Somerset on July 3, when her kennel mate field trials winner (FTW) Rollenwood Magheralin of Riffmuir, also known as Meah, earned first place in the scurry competition.

It was a glorious day for the competition and despite the scents mixing on the day, Heidi came out on top.

Alistair, who has been travelling extensively for competitions and tests, said: "It was a new ground to me and there's actually quite a strong group of individuals who compete and meet up, you meet a lot of old friends over the years, even though we compete against each other we do chat and send correspondence."

Heidi earned field trial champion status in January 2020 by achieving first place at an open trial in Leicestershire and Alistair has big hopes for the weekend coming.

He told the Advertiser: "I'm hoping my luck holds out, we get up there and all the dogs do what they are meant to do.

"All the work we've put in, it's just a matter on the day – the big thing I'm apprehensive towards is the heat."

At the Game Fair this weekend, top gundogs from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland will go head-to-head in a purpose built arena in a team event.

It will be the first time hunt, point, retrieve (HPR) dog breeds – such as Alistair's German shorthaired pointers – will take part, bringing together the best for the HPR Home International.

Four dogs from each of the four nations will retrieve items from land and water before completing a retrieve where they do not see the launch.

Alistair added: "It will be quite a big group of dogs and it's the first time it's ever been done."

Looking beyond this weekend – which will see the HPR Home International on Friday, July 23 – Heidi has also qualified for this year's Kennel Club HPR Championship, which is to be held in November.