Through to the grand final at Crufts 2014

Gregor Hands  is pictured with the family dogs Rosie (left) and Jessica (right).

Gregor Hands is pictured with the family dogs Rosie (left) and Jessica (right).

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A local lad is aiming high as he prepares to take on the best in the business in the junior flyball event at Crufts dog show next year.

Gregor Hands, who lives in Finavon and is an S2 pupil at the High School of Dundee, will compete with a squad of competitive canines in the grand final of the flyball event after his team qualified to take part.

Gregor and the rest of the ‘Gleniffer Bagpipes’ squad will be willing their four playful pooches on to victory in front of a packed crowd at the NEC in Birmingham.

Gregor said: “I’m looking forward to going down to Crufts, the atmosphere is really good.

“We finished third last year and we’ll try to do our best this year.”

In flyball, two relay teams of four dogs race against each other, each dog clearing four hurdles in succession before triggering a pedal on a box that releases a tennis ball which must be returned to the finish line.

Flyball is essentially a spectator sport involving a team knockout competition. It first became popular as a sport in America and made its debut in the UK at Crufts in 1990.

Informality is encouraged in this energetic and exciting sport but the safety of dogs, handlers and spectators always comes first and foremost.

Every year at Crufts, the fun, speed and excitement of this competition is highlighted as 16 teams strive to become Crufts Flyball champions in front of the massively supportive crowd at the NEC in Birmingham.

Eight qualifiers held at a range of shows during the year give teams from all over the country the opportunity to make it to the ‘grand prix’ of GB flyball.

As well as competitng in Flyball competitions with ‘Gleniffer Bagpipes’ Gregor has two family dogs, Collies Jessica and Rosie.

Jessica is competing in another category at Crufts this year and Gregor’s long term ambition is to lead both dogs into competition at the world famous event.

He added: “The agility finals are an amazing event and fun to watch.

“I’m training in agility at the moment and my long term goal is to get into the agility category with Jessica and Rosie.”

You can find out more about the sport of Flyball and how to get involved by visiting www.thekennelclub.org.uk/activities/flyball