(Updated 3/6/01)


'Delights at the Double for Daphne'

Utility Group - 2001

by John Beacock

Judge - Joyce W Mann

Photo by Alan V Walker
Utility Group winner was Godfrey’s Toy Poodle Ch. Aedan Double Delight
pictured with judge Mrs Joyce Mann, reserve Clarke, Betts, Scanlon and Frost’s miniature Schnauzer Ir. Ch. Clarkmars Freddie Star
and Mr Gilbert Kahn of the USA who presented the trophies.

AN OUTSTANDING Toy Poodle called Ch. Aedan Double Delight swept majestically to the front of the Utility Group and proved, for the second year in succession, that black poodles and green baize go together pretty well.

As ‘Daphne’ took her umpteenth camera call, clutched safely in the arms of owner Sandra Godfrey, you could see that this twofold delight would be shared too with her co-owner; Sandra’s mother Beryl who was watching from the side. Sharing the rostrum was a magnum of champagne, waiting to pop its cork, while this homebred lady of just three years was enjoying her best win since RBIS at Bournemouth and BIS at the Poodle Club Championship Show last year. She has 14 CCs, a wonderful personality and will not forget Crufts 2001.

A worthy Group two was the Miniature Schnauzer dog - Ir Ch. Clarkmars Freddie Starr. Nothing comedic about Freddie’s performance who ran the winner close all the way. Earlier, judge Mrs Allen had given him his third CC to add to his list of honours in Ireland including Top Miniature Schnauzer of 1999. He was handled by the exhilarated Paul Scanlon who was quick to mention his multiple owners: Wendy Clarke, Monica Betts & Shaune Frost - all of whom will still be celebrating.

Group 3 was the Shih Tzu bitch - Cabbla the Cutting Edge: Group 4 the Tibetan Terrier Amonite Golddust.
The supreme production of the Group judging and, outside, there is still daylight. Was this really Crufts? Could it be the same spectacle as its enduring tradition? Judge Joyce Mann was clearly enjoying herself and could not stop talking afterwards about a fabulous Group with superb dogs; indeed she was not the only one to enthuse on a strong line up that continued Crufts 2001’s claim to have a fully-attended group. It always seems odd to me, if there is no unavoidable reason, why anyone should not take their place in this wonderful final event. The thought of being part of a show that just gets better all the time must be the very oxygen of every exhibitor’s ambition.
This year, there was no need for a nervous check on the weather forecast before going to bed. The only problems with ice would have been whether there would be enough for the many gins & tonic consumed over the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend.

The NEC scrubbed up well for the occasion and easily gobbled up the thousands of Toy & Utility exhibitors plus spectators, that had joined in the fun. Gone were the woolly parkas, the gloves and scarves; in were summer tops, sunglasses and, for what must be a first at Crufts, tattoos clearly on display.

The stands get bigger every year. There seems to be a competition for the highest and, notably, the most technically advanced. I saw many with the trendy flat TV screens that offered a dazzling display of their products and services and the option of touch-screens for those who wished to ‘play’. There were the traditional stands too offering extensive and innovative goods which appeared to be doing just as well as their space-aged rivals. Perhaps there is room for both but this polarisation seems to be more marked every year.

Over the years, The Kennel Club central stand has been polishing up its act. I think that they have got it about right. It has a certain elegance that gives it an edge and it is well staffed by friendly and knowledgeable people.
Three thousand and sixty seven dogs, including 18 from Europe. made up 2001’s Utility group. At precisely 6.15 they marched through the arch, into the main ring.

One of the last to gather in the collecting ring was the Boston Terrier owned by Anne Kennedy. Ch Antrix Silva Joey is well-schooled in the big ring with no fewer than three BOBs behind him and a collection of 14 CCs.
Not so, the Bulldog - Merriveen Take It Easy - who, together with her owner David Cahill, were taking their first CC and their first excursion in to the main ring at Crufts: ‘Gertie’ had beaten off 190 entries and looked mighty pleased with herself.

A Canaan dog from Italy who is on a short - one year - vacation over here walked confidently to his mark on the green carpet. Int. Ch Velikaya’s Lahatutan, owned by Mrs Zirri, is a multiple international winner and was handled by Thomas Wastiaux.

Judge T Wright had given the nod to the Chow known to her friends as Whitney and goes under the posh name of Brosscroft Poetry In Motion. Owner Margaret Vickery was delighted and could not resist telling me that this was the first time a smooth-coated Chow had made it to BOB at Crufts and that she is the first breeder in Britain to make up a smooth coated dog.

The second-largest entry of the group - the Dalmatian - bounced in. This superb bitch called Mappelwell Minstrel looked every bit as happy as her owner Leanne Hale from Sheffield. If you are looking for fairy tales then you cannot get much better than a win at Crufts with your very first dog, and to be pulled out into the last seven.
Breed judge Mr. Satchell sent through a popular French Bulldog called Ch. Wilcott Sullivan At Dalstead. Lorraine McLatchie won here last year too and her boy Pluto had taken his CC-tally to six.

When Brenda Carr lifted her sable German Spitz (Klein) onto the table, she knew that her bitch would not turn drama into a crisis. With a name like Kimbacrests Drama Queen she would have expected nothing else from ‘Evie’ who notched up a third in the Puppy Group at Bournemouth last year.

A homebred bitch, Abbeyhome Heven Joy, was Pamela Cross-Stern’s choice for top German Spitz (Mittel); something that her owner, Maureen Lack could hardly believe. This was her first major success with this breed but she has bred Shelties for many years; Maureen gave a big hug to handler Norma Taylor for doing the business here.

Always popular with the Utility group crowd, the Japanese Akita - Ch Redwitch Chippendale - showed why
he was the best of 194 entries. Led in by breeder Dave Killilea, ‘Kato’ is owned by Tracy & Ricky Morgan and was celebrating his fifth CC.

Behind the Akita, Glynis Payne proudly walked in her Japanese Shibu Inu - Chevawn Simply Special At Tanikae. Special was very much the word with this duo who were taking their second CC to add to the first, won at SKC in 1999.

Stephanie Jones looked composed as she put her Japanese Spitz - Ch. Gordorna Atatakai Chokoreto - through her paces for the judge, This lad likes prizes and has five CCs and two RCCs to his name; it was his third time as BOB at Crufts so it was no surprise that he looked up for it this year.

Jean Hardcastle had delighted the Keeshond community earlier on by making up two champions. Her choice for BOB was the dog - Stratus Midnight Legend. Owners Lynn Lithgoe and her husband Brian could scarcely believe that they were actually in a Crufts Group final and the sparkle in Lynn’s eye said it all.

The Lhasa Apso - Ch. Hashanah the Commitment - was truly committed at Crufts 2001 and was one of Joyce Mann’s choices for further consideration. This fine bitch had seen off 227 of her breed to emerge as Ken Woosnam’s number one. Owner/breeder Judy Franks was not complaining - 22 CCs and the ‘double’ on successive Crufts.

On a day, that was very much a Poodle occasion, the Miniature was owned by Janet Clare. Ch. Reykjavik Flor-Del Robin-Hood had put away his trusty bow and had bigger targets in mind. This lad, called Teddy, was made up in ten days - a record for the breed - and comes from Rose Paling’s kennel.

There was applause too for the classy Standard US import - Ch/Am/IrCh La Marka Lemerle Oscar Wilde. Owned by Bayliss & Robinson, it was Roger who took him around the ring. As Top Standard Poodle of 1999, 18 CCs, and three Group wins behind him ‘Oscar’ looked completely at home in the limelight.

Ch Franhowil Black Mystical was top Schipperke Stud last year and moved on his CC-total at the show to
seven. Lindsey McLachlan and ‘Jack’ looked good as they took the cheers from the crown; both clearly was enjoying every minute of the experience.

With so many successes behind him it was no surprise to see the Schnauzer move effortlessly into the final cut. Ch. Khinjan American Express has been here before - just one of 19 Group wins and 28 CCs. He is owned by Sarah Hattrell-Brown but, on this occasion was expertly handled by Annika Kammonen.

Shar Peis were enjoying their third year at Crufts with CCs. Judge Brenda Banbury chose the breed record holder - a pretty bitch called Ch. Kolnago Red Rose - to represent the breed. This was happily accepted by owner Kevin Shaw who has started the year well with BOB at Birmingham National. That’s two successive CCs at the same venue; I wonder if a hat trick would be possible?

If you are looking for dreams then how about this! Top Utility entry; made up at Crufts and then a stroll to the Group three position. Gwynne Goodwin took it in her stride but must have been absolutely over the moon to see her homebred Shih Tzu bitch - Cabbla the Cutting Edge - build on her success last year when she won Top breed Puppy. A stylish Tibetan Spaniel called Ch. Hilsar Duar-A-Pala with five CCs to his name, met with the approval of the crowd. Being alphabetically challenged when show dogs are led into the ring, clearly does not bother ‘Parly’ at all. His owners - Sarah & Hillary Breeze - may have been hoping for a breeze in the hot ring but did not show it at all.

Despite being the last to enter, there was a top place awaiting Mrs Crampton’s homebred Tibetan Terrier Amonite Golddust. Group 4 and a new champion too. His owner, who had previously owned Wheaten Terriers for 18 years, told me that the move of Crufts to May had greatly helped in her preparation for the show and the shining spotlight on ‘Shamus’ certainly proved that he was in tip-top condition.

As Miss Sybil Churchill, Chairman of the Crufts Committee, escorted into the ring her special guest Gilbert Khan from the USA, Sandra Godfrey was still to realise that she would be in the last six at the world’s greatest dog show. Even the golden Send Vase that she held for just a few precious moments seemed unreal as did the many riches for a Group win that were later delivered with the speed of a machine gun.

After the bleak days of March, Crufts had turned tragedy into triumph. They had dramatically frozen this colossal operation and brought it through to survive at another date. The organisers, who deserve the congratulations, were smiling and the traders not complaining. We must also remember the Bath committee who graciously surrendered one of the best spells of good Bank Holiday weather we have enjoyed for some time. They deserve sunshine too when their time comes.

As for the Kennel Club’s famous show, it had been unique. A holiday Crufts: A strawberries and cream Crufts: A sunshine Crufts. Some said they were not sure, but I think that I could get used to it. The big question however remained: Did it really feel like Crufts? Fabulous dogs, perfect timing and breathtaking displays. Need I say any more!


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