Pedigree Stakes' Finals 2000

The winning line up at last weekend’s Pedigree Stakes Finals 2000.

Veteran Stakes winner

Mrs S Hattrell-Brown’s Schnauzer Ch Khinjan American Express.

Judge Mrs Clare Coxall;

Veteran Stakes judge Mrs Clare Coxall with her overall winner Sarah Hattrell-Brown’s eight year old Schnauzer Ch Khinjan American Express and Kate Nicholson of Pedigree Masterfoods.









Junior Handler of the Year,

Charlene Kirk.

Judge Mr Andrew Brace

The Pedigree Junior Handler of the Year winner Charlene Kirk with her English Springer and Mrs Frances Chapman-King who made the presentation with Mr Bill King of Pedigree Masterfoods.









Special Champions’ Stakes winner

the Irish Wolfhound Mrs J Malley’s Ch Ainsea The Diplomat.

Judge Mrs Pamela Cross-Stern.

Winner of the Champions’ Stakes Mrs Jean Malley’s Irish Wolfhound Ch Ainsea the Diplomat.








The three judges pictured at last weekend’s Pedigree Stakes 2000 final Mrs Clare coxall, Mrs Andrew Brace and Mrs Pamela Cross Stern.







All Photos by Vince Hogan

See below for Show and Judges Reports

The best just gets better!

Report by Kathleen Walton

Last weekend the 22nd Pedigree Special Stakes Finals were held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel situated at the NEC. After a pleasant and very sustaining lunch, guests made their way into the elegant Palace Suite to the soothing background music by Strauss. Tiered upholstered seating backed with red velvet screens all the way around the enormous flower-bedecked ring afforded everyone an excellent view of the proceedings. The guest list read like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the world of dogs - including many well-known championship show officers, prominent breeders, Kennel Club staff, not forgetting of course the judges from each of the heats.

Bernard Hall was the commentator for the day, ably assisted by his wife Rosemary, and they were situated at a “high table” in one corner of the arena looking down onto the throng below. Before proceedings began, Bernard reminded those present that the previous day it had been Ken Bullock’s funeral and that the day before that Sir Dudley Forwood had died - two men who throughout their lives had contributed greatly to many aspects of the world of dogs.


The Veterans were the first to take to the ring with representatives from every Group except Toys. There was only one absentee - Donna McDougall’s Pointer Sh Ch Adstock Jacobite. Clare Coxall, looking elegant in a purple silk suit with matching shoes and tights, performed the task of judging the Veteran Finalists efficiently and with authority. Included in the finalists was a Parson Russell Terrier, Mr & Mrs Philp’s Ch Mindlen Hoolet of Muhlross; the first of the breed to win a Group at a General Championship Show and also the first of its breed ever to qualify for the Pedigree Stakes Finals.

Many of the Veteran qualifiers were over 10 years old; none of them showed their age, all being very sprightly on the move. Of the 24 qualifiers present, Mrs Coxall pulled out 10 which were moved again and then she shortlisted seven - the Afghan Ch Tejas Conquistador, Standard Poodle Ch Vanitonia Queen’s English, Siberian Husky Int/Sp/Port/Ir Ch Artic Blue Chancellor, Border Collie Sh Ch Dykebar Future Glory, Schnauzer Ch Khinjan American Express, Japanese Shiba Inu Ch Vormund I’m Smartie, and the Lhasa Apso Ch Saxonsprings Lineka.

Each one was moved again individually then all together and just before she announced the winner, Mrs Coxall turned to the audience and said that she was spoilt for choice. She then pointed to the Schnauzer, which had moved effortlessly and faultlessly around the ring on each occasion, as the winner, with the Border Collie Sh Ch Dykebar Future Glory in second place. The third spot went to the Standard Poodle, fourth was the Afghan Ch Tejas Conquistador and fifth the Siberian Husky Int/Port/Sp/Ir Ch Artic Blue Chancellor. Beautiful tall lidded crystal goblets were presented to the first three placings by Kate Nicholson of Pedigree Masterfoods.


Without much ado, we went on to the Pedigree Junior Handler of the Year Final with a full house of fourteen finalists comprising one representative from each group in each of the age groups 6-11 years and 12-16 years. The judge for this event was Andrew Brace looking resplendent in his flamboyant turquoise beige and white jacket (I heard someone behind me whisper that it would have looked very nice draped over their settee!) complete with turquoise tie.

Bernard Hall anounced that Andrew had spoken to the juniors in advance of the competition to inform them that he was going to judge it just like any other class i.e. they would have to move conventionally in a triangle and up and down with no “fancy moves or tricks” being requested. This annoucement provoked a spontaneous round of applause from the audience. The details of each Junior Handler’s hobbies and aspirations for the future was relayed to us by Bernard, many of them wanting to be either a vet, veterinary nurse or wishing to care for animals in one form or another. However, we learned that one girl, Charlotte Nickel, spends her spare time participating in inter-school wrestling competitions and another, Aliz Jesica Brawn practices kick- boxing as a hobby! Daniel Petrie, born in 1993, won the crowd’s heart as he was far and away the smallest and probably the youngest, finalist and yet was handling an upstanding German Shepherd Dog. We were enthralled to learn that he too participates in wrestling and indeed would like to be a professional wrestler when he “grows up”!

Mr Brace judged all the finalists and then had the unenviable task of shortlisting six. Bernard Hall quipped “I think Andrew has got to the point where he is either going to ask the audience or phone a friend” to which Andrew nodded in agreement! The six handlers shortlisted were Charlene Kirk, Rebecca Sharfraz, Stacy Rotchell, Thomas Barnett, Nikki Rual and Kathleen Partner. They were then taken away to meet their new “charges” - dogs from the Veteran Stakes which had been loaned for them to handle during the next round of the competition.

During the changeover of dogs the audience were treated to a wonderful demonstration of Heelwork To Music by Mary Ray and her Working Sheepdog Kizzy. They demonstrated a new routine to the music of Flatley’s Lord of The Dance - there wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the end of the performance!
The final six Juniors, all from the 12-16 age group, then came back into the ring; this time handling the new dog which they had only just met. All were seen individually again and then it was back out of the ring to collect their original dog for the final appraisal by the judge. The eventual winner was Charlene Kirk whose prize was a fully paid up trip to the Amsterdam Winner Show in November 2001 plus £75 cash. In second place was Stacy Rotchell, third was Nikki Rual, fourth Thomas Barnett, fifth Kathleen Partner and sixth Rebecca Sarfraz, all winning cash prizes. The presentations were made by Bill King from Pedigree and his wife, Frances.

After a welcome break for tea, we all re-assembled and the next item on the agenda was the presentation of the Treetops Shield to the Junior Handler who qualified for the Finals the most number of times during the year. This was won by Charlotte Nickel who qualified 65 times during 2000 and who has qualified over 200 times over the past four years.

The presentation was made by Suzy Roffey from Pedigree.


The Special Champion Stakes final took on the same format as that of the Veteran Stakes. There were three absentees in this competition - Mr & Mrs Greenway’s Lakeland Terrier, Ch Rayfos Fire Medicine; Mrs Taylorson’s Irish Wolfhound, Ch Shanimarle Bay Brigand and Mr Wood’s Miniature Longhaired Dachshund, Ch Wildstar Withawhisper.

The judge for this event was the elegant Mrs Pamela Cross Stern. It was interesting to note the appearance for the second time during the day’s proceedings of the Siberian Husky, handled in this event by Major Kevin Bingham, one of the co-owners. After making a thorough assessment of each finalist, Mrs Cross-Stern pulled out ten dogs and then made her final shortlist of five which were the Old English Sheepdog, Irish Wolfhound, Siberian Husky, Miniature Poodle and Pomeranian. They were all lined up for a last look before Mrs Cross Stern moved them around the ring together and made her winner, to thunderous appaluse, the Irish Wolfhound, Mrs J Malley’s Ch Ainsea The Diplomat. He is apparently bullied by all his female companions at home - “aren’t we all?” commented Bernard Hall - a rather dangerous quip considering his wife Rosemary was sitting beside him!

In second place was the Pomeranian, Miss C Smith’s Ch Moonrae Ebony Hot Shot; third place went to the Miniature Poodle, Ch Navarre Is Exemplary; fourth the Siberian Husky (also fifth in the Veteran Stakes) and fifth the Old English Sheepdog, Ch Allmark Ralph Lauren. The presentations of another set of beautiful crystal was made by Mr Mike Davies, the Managing Director of Pedigree Masterfoods in the U.K.

The day was rounded off with a spectacular celebration dinner, disco and dancing until the small hours attended by 360 guests. Next year the judges will be Veteran Stakes Mr Frank Kane, Junior Handlers Miss Sarah Pettit and Champions’ Stakes Mrs Val Foss.

Artist Dr Jessica Holm (right) is left holding the baby at the presentation of her painting of last year’s Crufts BIS Kerry Blue Ch Torums Scarf Michael to owner Mr Ron Ramsay. Mike Davies, (right) Managing Director of Pedigree Masterfoods made the presentation.

Photo by Vince Hogan



Judges Reports

Champions' Stakes Final

THE PEDIGREE Stakes Finals are, without doubt, THE event of the canine calendar year with 46 champions competing in the two show dog events - the Veteran and Champion Stakes.

All of the dogs have fantastic records in the show ring - multi CC winners - breed record holders - group and best in show winners and an international champion.

I feel very privileged and honoured to have been asked to judge the finals of the Champion Stakes on two occasions - in 1989 and again this year. I believe it to be the most exciting event in dogdom in Britain and, I think I can say, in the world. These are not idle words - think about it - the record of these dogs speaks for itself - they are the creme de la creme and every one is a very worthy champion.

The anticipation of this assignment sets the adrenaline going from the time the invitation is issued. The day arrives and - in my case - I was completely absorbed in the events taking place before it was “my turn”. Then, I was in the ring confronted by 21 truly beautiful dogs - four finalists were absent. As I made a preliminary walk down the line I was struck by the immaculate presentation of all the exhibits and by their calm, confident manner.

After examining and moving each dog I made a cut of 10 - the Pug, Miniature Poodle, Newfoundland, English Springer Spaniel, Lhasa Apso, Old English Sheepdog, Irish Wolfhound, Siberian Husky, Pomeranian and Welsh Corgi Pembroke.

Another circuit of the lovely, large, green carpeted ring and more deliberation on my part.

My final cut of five brought me to the OES Ch. Allmark Ralph Lauren. Muscular, strong, compact, well textured coat and an eager, powerful mover. He went into fifth place. Number four - Int. Span. Port. Ir. Ch. Artic Blue Chancellor - the Siberian Husky - light and graceful on the move, well proportioned and under his double coat a strong well made body. Into third place the black Miniature Poodle Ch. Navarre is Exemplary - lovely long, refined head, compact and well ribbed up, really dense coat, proud and elegant on the move. Second place went to the buoyant black Pomeranian - short coupled with well rounded barrel - the most enchanting head and expression with black eyes glinting with mischief. Truly the “mighty atom”, he ran very close to the winner who was at the complete opposite end of the scale Ch. Ainsea The Diplomat, the Irish Wolfhound. A very majestic and proud dog with a commanding appearance each part of the dog in unison with the other. Full of muscle and in superb hard condition, his harsh coat and easy, true gait finishing the picture and I was delighted to make him the winner. He gave his all and filled the ring with his presence.

Finally, I would like to thank Pedigree Masterfoods, with special appreciation to Mr Mike Davis, Managing Director, Mr Bill King, European Breeder Development Manager and the Pedigree Breeder Team for the organisation of this very special event, for their marvellous hospitality and for a wonderful weekend in every respect and I speak not only for myself but on behalf of all of their guests.

Pamela Cross-Stern



Veteran Stakes judge Mrs Clare Coxall receives her crystal memento from Kate Nicholson of Pedigree Masterfoods.


Junior Handling Final

I WAS delighted to be invited to judge the Juniors at this very special event and I thank Pedigree and their team for their hospitality.

Before the competition I had asked if I could have 10 minutes with the Juniors to try to relax them and assure them I was not there to catch anyone out, emphasising that I would be asking for basic triangles and circuits of the ring with no complex patterns. I also stressed that I would not appreciate handlers hopping over their dogs just because I happened to glance at a left foot! In the past some of our Junior handlers have become a little too theatrical, as the object of the exercise is to find the handler who makes the judge notice their dog, rather than themselves.

The overall standard was high and the lower placings were very closely contested.

The winner impressed me from the start. Charlene Kirk came in originally with an English Springer and they were instantly as one. Clean and sensibly dressed, Charlene did an excellent job of stacking and has that rare ability to create an outline in seconds, the mark of a good handler. She paced her dog well and whilst conscious of where I was and what I was doing she did not “eyeball” me in any way.

On the changeover she came into her own with a German Shepherd. She looked as settled with this dog as she was with her original charge and adapted her handling technique in such a breed-specific way that I cold have easily believed she had been in Shepherds all her life. Polished, but in no way fancy, she has great hands with her dogs and used her spare time to talk to and encourage the dogs she was handling. All in all I felt she was a comfortable winner, and she could handle my dogs any day.

Putting up the strongest challenge was Stacey Rotchell who started off with a well-schooled Beagle which she made look good both set up and when gaiting. She really excelled in the second round with a Vizsla as, like Charlene, she adapted her style of handling perfectly and got every ounce out of a breed quite different from her original choice. Once again, she was clean, smart and in no way flamboyant and I felt she was a worthy second prize winner.

Third was Nikki Rual, perfectly turned out for the occasion, her Briard was not the most co-operative yet she tried to bring her round quietly and calmly and at no time lost her cool. Gaiting at a perfect pace, she did very well in the first round. Given a Sealyham in the changeover she wasn’t quite as in tune with the requirements of her second breed as Charlene and Stacey, but she still did well enough to take this high placing.

Fourth was Thomas Barnett, who, like Nikki, had to coax his original charge, a Great Dane, somewhat, but he did so quietly and without undue fuss. He could have been a little sharper on the stack, both with this dog and the Schnauzer he had in the changeover, but again here was a well dressed, sensible looking Junior who has considerable ability.
Fifth was Kathleen Partner and she was one of the front-runners from the start as she has wonderful hands and did a lovely job of setting up both her original Bedlington and the Irish Setter who didn’t really help her moving on the changeover. Superbly turned out and with great empathy with her charges she may have been higher had she been less keen to maintain eye contact with me at all times, which can be a little intimidating.

Sixth was Rebecca Sarfraz who started off with a Lhasa Apso and then had a Standard Poodle. Again, smart, unflustered and sympathetic, I felt she could have sharpened her charges a little more on the stack, and she didn’t quite get the Poodle’s pace right, but she too has a natural rapport and I am sure will go on to have many better days.
All the Juniors did a great job under pressure, and I must also mention Daisy Jones who won the award for the best of the 6-11 age group, and the diminutive Daniel Petrie who won the hearts of the crowd with his German Shepherd.

I wish them all the very best for the future.

Andrew H Brace

Mary Ray pictured with Working Sheepdog Kizzie


Veteran Stakes Final

TO BE the judge of this unique event is one of the most prestigious and exacting appointments in the canine world. Even before you step into the ring, you are aware of the formidable amount of knowledge sitting around the ring, and that you are about to judge some of the best veteran dogs in the country.

The ring itself is fantastic to work in, plenty of room to move the dogs and the lighting is perfect. The walk, from seeing the last dog round the ring and back to the table, was rather like walking a gauntlet, it seemed so long.
And then you forget everything around you, with the sheer pleasure of judging some really wonderful dogs. There were 25 to judge, and I had to be pretty strong minded to just leave 10, which were: the Japanese Shiba Inu, Mrs L Dunhill’s Ch Vormund I’m Smartie, eight and a half years and so typical of the breed, with that special expression and in such good coat; the Lhasa Apso, Mr K Woosnam’s Ch Saxonsprings Lineka, ten and a half, presentation perfect, so positive on the move, just looked the part. I left these two in right to the end, and then there were not enough placings left; the Border Terrier, Mrs K M Irving’s Ch Dandyhow Cleopatra, eight years, in such hard condition, used herself perfectly, good coat and true expression; the Irish Setter, Mr R Bott’s Sh Ch Autumnwood Prince of Tides, a pleasure to go over, so well put together, could have been fractionally more positive on final movement, so paid the price in hot company;

the Norfolk Terrier, Miss E Matell’s Ch Cracknor Call My Bluff, has that typical jaunty attitude, in full coat, hard body and pleasing expression; the Siberian Husky, Messrs Bingham, Holmes and Madruga and Ms Pezzi’s Int/Sp/Port/Ir Ch Artic Blue Chancellor, nine years, in placing the five dogs left, and they all deserved any one of the positions, it was hard; they all could have won. He is a delight to go over, everything is right, superb body and condition, placed fifth; the Afghan Hound, Mr Gadsby & Mrs Doe’s Ch Tejas Conquistador, nine and a half years, there is one thing you can say about her, she has attitude and she used it, so feminine, on top form; placed fourth; the Standard Poodle, Miss S J O’Higgins’ Ch Vanitonia Queen’s English, at 10 and a half, one of the oldest, and under her lovely coat is a super construction and condition. She flew around the ring with true Poodle movement, and that attitude was so great to see; third place, so fantastic for her age; the Border Collie, Mr and Mrs J Ritchie’s Sh Ch Dykebar Future Glory, at 10 and a half years again one of the oldest, in such superb condition you felt she could work up the highest hills all day; covered the ground going round the ring effortlessly, second place; the Schnauzer, Mrs S Hattrell-Brown’s Ch Khinjan American Express, eight years old. Well, what can I say about my winner, he was so hard all over, I think every muscle had been primed, from front to back, and the look he can give you, I loved his expression. You can say with ease, he was on top form. His movement was such that he powered round the ring with such outstanding drive. They say athletes work to reach their peak in training for the Olympics, well it was his day. He had to go first.

I must say a big thank you to all the handlers, especially those left at the end. They watched and anticipated everything I asked, so I was not distracted from judging their dogs. Our handlers can match anyone in the world.

Last of all, the biggest thanks to Pedigree Masterfoods. I have been to every one of their events over 22 years and to be given the chance of judging a final at one of the top events in this country will remain one of the highlights of my judging career.

Clare Coxall

Mr Bernard Hall ably assisted by his wife Rosemary gave an
informative commentary on the proceedings.



Mr Mike Davies, Managing Director of Pedigree Masterfoods in conversation with European Breeder Development Manager Mr Bill King.




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