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Clumber record point to revival

FOR THE FIRST time, five different Clumber spaniels have won field trials in consecutive seasons. While in English Springers and Cockers such an achievement would be unremarkable, among the minority breeds this is a record without precedent, and suggests an improvement in depth in the performance of the largest British land spaniel. The nearest equivalent since spaniel trials were first held at the end of the 19th century was in the period 1902-04, when three dogs took comparable awards. The newest field trial winner is Sedgehurst Maxim Venaticus, owned and handled by James Darley. At the Clumber Spaniel Club's all aged stake for minority breeds open to American Cocker, Sussex, Field and Welsh Springer Spaniels as well as Clumbers held on November 28 at the Eagle Star estate, Sutton Scotney, Hampshire, the dog overcame the challenge of his litter brother, Sedgehurst Tormentum, owned and handled by John Zurick. Judges were Terry Baker and John Corps, both of them with previous experience of judging these breeds, who commented favourably on the standard of the leading dogs. Steward of the beat was Andrew Barrett. The two clumbers have shown they are closely matched. Two seasons ago their positions were reversed in a Sussex Spaniel Association 'minor breed'field trial. Earlier in November this year, alongside an English Springer and a Sussex spaniel, they achieved Certificates of Merit, the highest awards given, in an any variety all aged stake held by the Working Clumber Spaniel Society. They have a dozen field trial awards between them. Other clumbers to have taken top honours since 1997 are David Wood's Julchris Bob, Mrs S. Ruffles Lliojaschar Digby, both dogs, and Bill Cadwell's bitch Greencourt Mistic Meg of Jubilwell.

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