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(Updated 08/02/01)

Charlene is top Junior for 2000


Charlene Kirk
Charlene Kirk, who won Junior Handler of the Year at the recent Pedigree Stakes Finals 2000.

Judge Andrew Brace said of her performance, “She could handle my dogs any day”.

Read his full report below.

Pedigree Junior Handler of the Year - Judges Report

Andrew Brace


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

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. Al 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 who 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