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A crackling time for all with the WKC champions!


Photo by Nancy Bassant
Runner-up in the Top Puppy Contest was Steve Lloyd-Jones’ Great Dane Nightwing the Enchantress JW, pictured here with judges Keith Thornton & Meriel Hathaway.

When I received the phone call asking me to write the Our Dogs report for the WKC Top Dog and Top Puppy competition I couldn’t believe my luck, writes Nancy Bassant. Having attended last year for the first time when I enjoyed more than a fair share of quality dogs and laughs, I jumped at the chance. The hospitality at this contest is second to none and secretary Graham Hill summed it up perfectly as “prestigious but relaxed”.

Last year the competition was delayed until November because of the Foot and Mouth crisis. Many people had commented that this was a better time of year anyway so once again it was held in November. This meant the qualifying period ran from January 2001 to August 2002.

On a personal level something new for me this year was my new beau Chris. Not being involved in the dog game in anyway shape or form I didn’t want to frighten him and this event was the perfect introduction. Having recently found myself without a car I also required a chauffeur!

Enough of my banter and onto the important part, the competition. The judges are not announced until the day and this year the privilege went to Keith Thornton and Meriel Hathaway. Together they offered an impressive judging CV, both passed to award CCs in a number of breeds. The competitions were both drawn into two pools, judged in the format of a match with one judge to each pool. The winners of each pool compete against each other in the final decided by both judges. Top Puppy judged in the afternoon enjoyed a large entry and Meriel Hathaway drew the first pool. Her finalist was Fiona & Ray Scholes and Geoff Corish’s Lhasa Apso Sealaw Forever Dreaming of Rossgilde JW. Pet name Terence, he has enjoyed a very successful show career.

To date he has won 3 RCCs from junior, in the summer he took his first CC and BOB at Bournemouth. A Junior Finalist himself he has already sired JW winners in all of his litters so far. Apparently he has a taste for real ale and turns his nose up should anyone dare to offer him draught! From the second pool Keith Thornton’s finalist was the Great Dane belonging to Steve Lloyd-Jones Nightwing the Enchantress JW.

Also enjoying a successful start, she has never been unplaced. At the Dane of the Year she won first in limit before she was two and Steve told me she has a fantastic temperament. She is from only the second litter he has bred but sadly her sire died earlier in the year. So after a four-month break, during which her sister enjoyed a litter, she was back with a vengeance.

Assessed

Both finalists were given some time to prepare and then it was the moment of truth. Each judge assessed the dog from the opposite pool and without further ado they had agreed on their winner. It was over to Graham Hill, who proved himself a wonderful commentator throughout, to announce that Sealaw Forever Dreaming of Rossgilde JW was the WKC Top Puppy 2002. Patsi Ann never fails to present the winners with beautiful sculptures. This year she had created four traditional and of course beautiful pieces, each a shepherd with his sheepdog. The WKC are also indebted to the continued sponsorship provided by Pedigree, this year representatives Suzy Roffey and Dave Williams were flying the flag.

Photos

Once the photos had been taken there was time to retire and pamper oneself ready for the evening. The Top Dog pools were drawn and Keith Thornton took to the ring first. His finalist was the Beagle Ch Emorlen Crackle, owned and bred by Cliff & Helen Howell. Blue has a total of 4 CCs, the first won at South Wales this year, he continued his run of success taking the CCs at Leeds with BOB, Richmond with BOB and Driffield. The winner of the second pool under Meriel Hathaway was Yvonne Briscoe’s Briard Ch Kshan Koffee Krunch. Chewy won his crowning CC at Bournemouth this summer, the other two at SKC 2000 and WKC 2001. On his first trip to Ireland he won a CACIB of which he now has two, as well as a group 3 on the Emerald Isle.

The excitement had gradually built up until we found ourselves with two finalists. The judges made their decision and the WKC Top Dog 2002 was Helen Howell with Ch Emorlen Crackle. Afterwards I asked her how she felt and she said she just couldn’t believe it and husband Cliff was sharing the delight!

The presentations were made and the cameras clicked. With enough time to check on dogs we were soon enjoying the delights of the Metropole in Llandrindod Wells, where the competition is held every year, and the festivities began.

I know last year I had told tales of trainers sprayed gold and sausage filled socks but I promised I wouldn’t mention that this year! So all that remains is for me to say, another wonderful WKC and Top Puppy competition the final prestigious, the atmosphere relaxed, and the evening a great crack-le!