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Alan Rees - How I select the Wales International Gundog Team

This is my 28th  Game Fair in which I have run for Wales, believe me I feel it’s a great privilege and an honour. There have been many great dogs and great trainers and handlers that have represented my Country over the years.


Whilst Wales have had their fair share of individual winners at both retrievers and spaniels over the years and in addition breed winners – as an overall team we have never won the Game Fair International title, although coming close a number of times in the 80’s and 90’s.


At the turn of this yearWaleslost association with the Lambs and Blackburn’s who ledWalesat the game fair for over 30 years. John Blackburn passed away earlier this year and he will be a sad loss to us all. When John retired as Captain of Wales I was delighted to accept the CLA’s invitation to Captain Wales - a job that I take seriously and a job I’m privileged to carry out, but a job that is not an easy one.


We are not blessed in Wales with the number of trainers and handlers at top level that England, Ireland and Scotland have.  Wales has a healthy number of spaniel handlers and trainers, as test, trials and spaniel championships will prove, both Springer and Cockers, and I’m sure that you will all know some of the spaniel legends Wales have provided in the past, present and hopefully future. Retrievers are not as popular inWalesand there are a limited amount of top handlers and trainers in the Country who compete at the top level through the sport.


In selecting the Spaniel team, I am assisted by Wesley Thomas, we look at open trial results, open test results, the respective championship qualifiers and then look at what’s available to us before our final selection test – this year there were 22 of the best spaniels in the country that took part at the selection test, 8 making it through to the final stage.


In selecting the Retrievers – up to this year I have invited everyone who has a trial award to be looked at, this normally gives me between ten and fifteen dogs to assess. From this assessment I cut them to seven or eight to carry on training and then make my mind up which six to take, of which five will run. This year with dogs getting older and dogs retired I had the opportunity to look at fourteen dogs, 3 of them not having entered trials yet. This process started in late February, by mid April we had 8 dogs being assessed and of those in contention, six are here today. When resource is limited it is essential to pull together, and I would like it noted that my gratitude is extended to each and everyone involved with the Welsh Gundog Team here today.


(posted 22/08/2016)

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Alan Rees - How I select the Wales International Gundog Team

As Captain of the Wales team, Alan Rees explains his selection process of finding 5 Spaniel and 5 Retriever handlers to represent their country at The Game Fair.
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