Adaminaby trialler Dean Incher improved on his placing last year to take out the prestigious Pedigree Murray Valley Yard Dog Championships at the Henty Machinery Field Days.
Dean and his black and tan Kelpie, Rafa, won the final on 192 points, closely followed by Greg Walton and Max on 191 points in second place.
The win automatically qualified Rafa for the 2020 NSW Yard Dog Championships.
The trial drew almost 200 entries and was run over the three days of the Henty Machinery Field Days on September 17-19 under judge Chris Johnson, Leeton.
Filling the placings were Matt Sherwood and Wonder in third, Ben Costa and Lucy in fourth and Chris Sellars and Run in fifth.
Judge Chris Johnson said the competition drew a strong field of handlers and dogs.
Murray Valley Championships co-ordinator Neale Taylor, Holbrook, said the Henty Machinery Field Days had been supportive of the dog trials.
“It is good for the region and is the biggest event where we can showcase the NSW Yard Dogs Association.
“We are aiming to have an interstate challenge at Henty between Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Tasmania.”
Dean Incher said four-year-old Rafa was a strong dog by a homebred Wik Wak sire out of a Tumut Valley bred bitch.
Rafa was fresh from wins at Hay and Yass, and is used for sheep work on Dean’s own mixed farm.
“It is great to win here as it is very competitive,” he said.
Meanwhile, in the Pedigree Three Sheep Trial, Mick Hudson, Cobar, and his dog Ritchies Finn emerged from the finals to win from 126 entries on 276 points.
Mr Hudson was 15 points ahead of John Perry, Bredbo, with Gem in second place and Brett Smith and Tip in third on 251 points.
Popular competitor, past winner and octogenarian Laurie Slater, 86, Murrumbateman, finished in seventh place with his Border Collie Wondara Jewell.
Ritchies Finn left Henty bound for the Supreme Australian Championships on the Monday.
The five-year-old bitch has won the Queensland and Commonwealth Championships, the Australian Stock Dog Championships, and is a NSW representative.
Mr Hudson has battled three years of serious drought on his farms at Cobar and Dubbo, and uses competing at the yard dog trials as stress relief.
Co-ordinator Paul Darmody said the young dog training demonstration during the lunch breaks with master trainer John Perry, Bredbo, was a great success and would be built on for next year.
“This is the hardest dog trial to win and there are no flukes in it when this comes about,” he said.
Mr Darmody said judge Barry McKenzie, Koraleigh, was tested over the three days by a close field of entrants.