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Stakes Finals of 2001 - report

What a black and white day!

The title does not reflect on the mood of the day at the 23rd Pedigree Stakes, that was bright and colourful and full of atmosphere and good humour as it always is!

No the black and white or more accurately the black and white and black was the colour of the three main winners of these highly contested competitions. A photographers nightmare but to the three winners a dream after winning their heats earlier in the year.

For some of us the final greeting at the end of the year ‘see you at Pedigree’ means meeting again at the social highlight of the new year as well as being able to see all the finalists we have watched and cheered on in the past 12 months in draughty halls, wet fields, flapping tents etc.

Photo by Vince Hogan - The winner of the Pedigree Champion Stakes Final 2002 was Sandra and Beryl Godfrey’s Toy Poodle Ch Aedans Double Delight (Ch Grayco Cinquicento ex Ch Aedan Nicer Than Nice), Daphne as she is known at home had a wonderful year in 2001 winning 11 groups, including Crufts, was BIS at Three Counties, Driffield & BUBA and she finished the year as 3rd Top Dog, she has started 2002 well winning this prestigious award. Daphne is pictured above with owner/handler Sandra, Specialist Channel Director Peter Groves and judge Mrs Valerie Foss.

We would not dream of accepting another appointment for the last weekend in January as this is where we want to be with like minded people. I count myself lucky to have been to every one of the finals and each one has its own high points.

This year two of those were things that perhaps the main figures do not want reminding of, like the lady who lost her skirt when standing up in the audience and the male dancer losing his teeth on the dance floor!!!

For those who have not been the day starts with lunch which is always a fairly a noisy affair as people meet up with each other sometimes for the first time since LKA. At 2.15 everyone gathers in the large room which has been laid out like a show ring with green floor, white picket fence, and tiered seating.

Photo by Vince Hogan
Pekingese Ch Yakee A Dangerous Liaison (Ch Tenling Golden Arrow at Pekehuis ex Shantallah Night Fever), owned by Bert Easdon and Philip Marsdon, was Top Dog for 2001 and he came second in the Pedigree Champion Stakes final, having qualified under Mrs Jill Peak at Blackpool. A delighted Bert is pictured above with Pedigree’s Specialist Channel Director Peter Groves and judge Mrs Valerie Foss.

Bernard Hall starts the proceedings by introducing Bill King who is now European Director so we don’t see him as much at shows in the UK. He in turn introduced his successor Tom Grant who is very well known to most of the show going people who call into the unit at shows. Tom welcomed us all and brought in his Breeder Team of eight in their smart uniforms, again all well known.

The judge of the Veteran Stakes was Frank Kane as with all the judges of these finals a best in show all breeds judge, he awards CCs in fifty five breeds and more importantly has been a very successful exhibitor having had more than 13 champions. There were 25 finalists due to three shows being cancelled because of Foot and Mouth, unfortunately one of these. the Bernese had died since qualifying so 24 dogs entered the large ring and showed their paces until they were lined up down two sides and Frank started his judging by looking at them individually.

There were representatives from every group although only one from the Toy group, the Papillon. Dalmatians had three representatives, there were champions, show champions, overseas champions, previous winners of this final like the Schnauzer who won last year and the Lhasa who won in 1998 and was retiring on the day. There were multiple ticket winners and all the dogs looked younger than veterans. Frank shortlisted ten and politely shook hands with all the others as they left the ring.

Photo by Vince Hogan
l Anderson & Frost’s Dobermann Ch Chancepixies Monopolist (Ch Marrijax Doobie-Have ex Pompie The Blues winger of Chancepixies) qualified at Paignton under Derek Smith, he came third in the final and is pictured here with owner Mr Anderson, judge Mrs Valerie Foss and Specialist Channel Director Peter Groves.

The remaining ten repositioned themselves on the far side of the ring and were then re-walked starting with the Schnauzer, Ch Khinjan American Express, last years winner with 28 CCs followed by the multi titled Siberian Husky Artic Blue Chancellor, who unbelievably is ten years old. Ch/Ir Ch Jardu The Republican the Shih Tzu with 41 CCs was next, followed by the only Toy the Papillon Ch Tussalud Story Teller a previous Crufts group winner. Another from the Utility group was the German Spitz Klein Ch Ahlen Bailey’s Cream at Delgray.

Again from the Utility group came the Akita Ch Oktumi Love Action with 23 CCs. From the Hound group cam the Beagle Ch Perseverance of Bayard followed by the oldest dog in the competition the Sealyham Terrier Ch Am/Can Ch Abricot Blenheim Bloke. The penultimate was the Weimaraner Sh Ch Ansona Murphy followed by the Pembroke Corgi Ch/Can/ Ir Ch Stonecrofts Second Stage.

Photo by Vince Hogan
l That all important moment as Valerie Foss congratulates her winner in the Champion Stakes Ch Aedans Double Delight.

They were then grouped in size and speed order and went around the ring once before Frank called for the boards and into first place went the last dog on the line the black and white Papillon still so full of life and leaping about in excitement. He was followed by the Beagle, the Corgi, the Schnauzer and the German Spitz, all males does that mean something?

The Marketing Director of Pedigree Patrick Huyskens came out to present the beautiful crystal goblets to the winners and photographs were taken of very pleased owners and dogs.

After the Junior Handling final (reported on page 26 Ed.) which was also won by a black and white dog we retired for a quick cup of tea before all returning to our seats for the Special Champions’ Stakes final, there did not seem to be anyone slip out to watch the sport on T.V. this year. The judge for these stakes was Valerie Foss, another person who was a very successful breeder before starting her judging career and I’m sure nobody envied her task as the quality was excellent and it looked as though it was going to be a case of splitting hairs to get the final five.

Photo by Vince Hogan
l Owner of Crufts BIS winner 2001, Paul Singleton receives a painting of the Basenji Ch Jethard Cidevant, presenting the award is Managing Director of Pedigree Masterfoods Mike Davies and artist Diana Merchant Giles.

There were two dogs absent, the Beagle and the Afghan so only 23 dogs in the ring but still a daunting task I would have thought. Again after everyone had been seen and walked individually it was down to a shortlist of 10 who were then walked once more and you could have heard a pin drop in the room such was the tension.

Heading the line at that moment was the American Cocker Sh Ch Afterglow Arrabella with handler Mick Gadsby who had won the Puppy Stakes earlier this month with a Tibetan Terrier, would he do the double? Next to him was the Basset Ch Siouxline Joshua followed by another low to the ground dog the Pekingese Ch Yakee A Dangerous Liaison who ended 2001 as Top Dog.

Another Toy next, the Pomeranian Ch Moonrae Ebony Hotshot. Going up in size next, the Dobermann one of two to qualify, Ch Chancepixies Monopolist. The only Utility to get this far was the Toy Poodle Ch Aedans Double Delight who was one of the three dogs running neck and neck last year for Top Dog.

Next to her stood the Rottweiler Ch Fantasa Emerald Intruder. Next was one of the three top winners from last year the OES Ch Zottel You Don’t Fool Me who made good use of this large ring. The BGV(P) Ch Willowbrae Amazing Grace for Afterglow was handled as usual by his co-owner Gavin Robertson.

Last on the line was the Pem Corgi Ch Penliath Shooting Star the holder of 40 CCs. Black was very much the colour at this stage as five of these dogs were black or black and tan. Again Val shortlisted down to the final five and they were placed in size and movement order and went around the ring one last time.

Once they had been stacked up again the black Toy Poodle followed closely by the Peke with the Dobe in third place. Fourth was the black American Cocker followed by the OES. Strong applause for all these dogs who had shown their hearts out in a large ring under hot lights and all had done their owners proud. Peter Groves the Specialist Channel Director of Pedigree came out to present the beautiful crystal which Pedigree give so generously. Both judges of these finals had been given crystal decanters and glasses.

Photo by Vince Hogan
l Every ring needs a steward and pictured are the team of stewards for the Pedigree Stakes final,
from l - r Gerald King, Keith Young, Dennis Coxall and George Morgan.

After all the photographs and presentations it was time for one more little event. Paul Singleton the owner of the Basenji who had won best in show at Crufts last year was called into the ring to be presented with a pastel painting of his dog by Diana Merchant Giles. No stranger to Crufts winning herself, she won the group there in 1986 with a Saluki.

The final three winners Veteran, Junior Handling and Champion were called back in the ring to do a lap of honour and there was the title of this article moving beautifully in front of me. Black and white, and black. Bernard gave thanks to Pedigree for all their work, not just here but throughout the year, and to the stewards who had kept the ring running smoothly all day. Just time for a quick drink and then a change for dinner.

Bill King gave the welcome speech, not too long as all good after dinner speeches should be. He called for a toast to absent friends as every year we remember those who were with us last year and he presented a lovely bouquet to Mrs. Olga Bullock who was attending for the first time after the death of Ken.

Photo by David Cavill
l Fiona Grant of Pedigree presents a commemorative crystal goblet to Jill Peak who came second
in the Pedigree Veteran Stakes with Beagle Ch Perseverence of Bayard.

Next year’s judges were announced as Derek Smith for Veteran, Margaret Everton the Champions and Ellis Hulme the Junior Handling.

Val gave the response on behalf of the guests again thanking Pedigree and giving us a little information about the John MacDougall Centre and the educational things that the KC are involved in which are important to breeders of today and tomorrow. She had read recently about speeches being too long and so did not labour the point.

Peter Groves of Masterfoods finally told us what his title meant, his remit covers pet shops, vets and breeders and he has only been back in the UK for nine months from Yugoslavia and Croatia. I think he was amazed how big and keen the dog fraternity were here.

Another excellent day thanks to Pedigree and if you want to be there next year enter the stakes’ classes at the championship shows and try your best, take it from me it is well worth it.

Photo by Vince Hogan
l Judge of the Veteran Stakes final, Frank Kane seen here holding his winner Papillon Ch Tussalud Story Teller (Ch Caswell Principality ex Tussalud Classic Tale) who qualified at Windsor under Mr Albert Wight, also pictured are owners Mr and Mrs K Stewart. (Frank you were the judge not the handler!)