Against the odds An article produced by Pernice Press (17th Dec. 2016)
"There have been many changes since the IGL Retriever Championship was first run in 1909. As analysed in the chapter Patterns of Excellence in 'The Best of the Best', the social makeup of those taking part has changed considerably, taking it from a sport almost exclusively dominated by the 'landed gentry' to one where the ordinary person could compete and expect to do well against professionals who make their living from the sport. Over the years the rules and criteria have changed, but not the overall enthusiasm of competitors.
One such 'gifted amateur' who later became one of today's top professionals is the 2016 IGL Championship winner David Latham. With this year's victory at Ampton, on the heels of three previous wins at Sandringham in 2003 and 2010 and Cawdor in 2012, he joins Lady Hill Wood and John Halstead in the top elite of handlers to have won the premier event four times.
From Middlewich, Cheshire, David spent many years training gundogs in his free time while working as a coach builder for Bentley Motors, before becoming a full-time professional in 2010 and joining his wife Stefanie, also a professional handler and breeder, in Austria. He remembers living in a terraced house and training on dark winter nights in carparks, something many of us can identify with.
As he mentioned in this year's winner's speech at Ampton, John Halstead has been of the utmost significance in his trialling career, both as a friend and a mentor. Not only has David followed in his footsteps by winning the Championship four times, but he also took over his role as England's Gundog Team Captain in 2015. For competitors in Britain and beyond, David's success is an inspiration: with passion, dedication and perseverance, it's possible to beat the odds to achieve the highest accolades of success, wherever you come from.”
Many thanks to Graham Cox and Dr Gareth Davies for producing such an informative book; from which the following facts are extracted. The statistics shown in the "Best of the Best" relate to events up to 2010. However, after 2010 I am honoured to have won the IGL a further twice; in 2012 with FTCH Delfleet Neon Of Fendawood and 2016 with FTCH and Int. FTCH Beiley's Aguzannis Of Fendawood. Dell was also awarded a Diploma Of Merit in the 2013 IGL.
The Youngest Dogs to have Won the I.G.L. Championship
1938 - Mr L. Lonsdale's "Greatford Shy" at 19 months old
Since 1984, which is now known as the Modern Era according to Graham Cox & Dr. Gareth Davies fabulous book 'The Best of the Best'; Dell has joined a small number of dogs who have recieved three or more awards at the I.G.L. championship:- Mr. John Halstead's FTCH Breeze of Drakeshead qualified 5 times, achieving a DOM in 1984 and winning a staggering 3 consecutive championships in 1985, 1986 and 1987.
Mr. Dave Garbutt‘s FTCH Pocklea Remus qualified 4 times, gaining a 2nd in 1989, a 3rd in 1990 and winning the IGL in 1991.
Mr.R.S. Webb‘s FTCH Seasway Faldo of Birdbrook qualified 5 times, gaining a DOM in 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1998.
Mrs A. Heywood’s Lonsdale`s FTCH Ulstare StyleHandler Mr. J.W. Halsted qualified 7 times, achieving 4th in 1994, 2nd in 1997, a DOM in 1998 and 2nd in 1999
Mrs. Sandra Halstead‘s FTCH Levenghyl Silvercloud qualified 4 times, coming 3rd in 2008, 4th in 2009 and 3rd in 2010.
Mrs. C.D. Finlan‘s FTCH Cherwood Ace of SpadesHandler Mr. J.W. Halsted qualified 3 times, coming 2nd in 2009, 4th in 2010 and 2nd in 2011.
I.G.L. Results for 103 years from it's beginning in 1909 to 2012 show:-
In 103 years only TWO People had won the title FOUR times Mr John Halstead (1985/86/87 and 1992) The Hon. Lady Hill-Wood (1933/34 and 1960 and 1964) In 2016, the IGL's 107th year, I am honoured to add my name to this list as a four times I.G.L. Winner. Mr D. Latham 2003, 2010,2012 and 2016
Having mention in the sections of this book gives a great sense of pride and even more so when after completion of the book; Dell and I went on to win the IGL again in 2012 and receive a DoM in 2013 as well as winning with FTCH & Int FTCH Beiley's Aguzannis Of Fendawood in 2016. The realisation that if these results were included in the book; I would be in Category 1 - Exceptional Handlers, as well as rising up the tables in other categories; makes me very proud indeed.
A gallery of images showing some interesting facts and figures correlated by the "Best of The Best" authors.