Adverts: 0161 709 4576 - Editorial: 0161 709 4571
Mail Order: 0161 709 4578 - Subs: 0161 709 4575 - Webteam: 0161 709 4567
The final of the Petplan Junior Stakes 2003
Guess whose been At It Again?

Photo by W Moores OUR DOGS
Bert Easdon & Philip Martin’s Pekingese Yakee’s At It Again handled by Bert Easdon
was the overall winner with 89 points and is pictured here with the
judges Mrs Liz Cartledge, Leslie Page and Stuart Mallard and Peter Jenner (back)
National Sales Manager of Petplan who presented the trophies

A hush fell over the ringside as the crowd waited for the final points to be calculated and announced. After what seemed an age Andrew Brace informed us that there was a tie. The runner-up with 86 points was the Miniature Poodle Ch Minarets Secret Assignment JW and the overall winner of the Petplan Junior Stakes’ Final 2003 with 89 point out of a possible 100 was the aptly-named Pekingese, Yakee’s At It Again from the famous Easdon & Martin stable.

Remarkably the same partnership won this final in 2001 with Yakee Leaving Me Breatheless and not many years ago Bert won a Toyota Estate car on offer from Petplan for breeders who used and recommended their services!

The 2003 Finals of the Petplan Junior Stakes competition was held on Thursday 11th September 2003 at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. In a departure from the usual format of being held in October at a stately home, the Finals were held in conjunction with the Blenheim Horse Trials with which Petplan has a huge involvement.

The spacious Petplan hospitality marquee, situated by the lake and the popular water jump, was the site for the event. The ring layout etc. was to the usual format so in fact the event felt very familiar, the main difference being that at previous events a tour around the stately home was offered to guests. This year, the guests were able to tour around the whole of the horse trials and, more importantly, were able to participate in retail therapy at the many and varied trade stands present at the trials!

After a welcoming coffee the guests were seated around three sides of the ring with the now familiar giant "scoreboard" at the entrance end. We were welcomed to the event by Peter Jenner, the National Sales Manager for Petplan who explained that because of the huge sponsorship by Petplan of the Blenheim Horse Trials it was decided that it would be a good idea to combine it with the Junior Stakes Finals. He explained that this earlier date in the calendar meant that although there were fourteen qualifying heats held in 2003, those dogs qualifying at Darlington and Belfast would be competing in the 2004 finals. Peter informed us that there were more viewing guests than ever before, in excess of 100, many of whom were Petplan Breeders and had been invited by Petplan to attend. Unfortunately, 500 applications from Petplan Breeders had to be turned down he explained.

The judging format, involving three judges, was the tried and tested formula used at previous Junior Stakes finals and the commentating for the event was left in the capable hands of the equally tried and tested Andrew Brace!

The three judges, all of who were qualified to judge Best in Show at General Championship Shows, were Liz Cartledge, Stuart Mallard and Leslie Page. The ‘new’ Chief Steward, Mark Cocozza, who was ably assisted throughout the event by his hard-working assistants, Gavin Robertson and Stuart Milner, led them into the ring.

The event got underway with each dog doing a circuit of the ring on its own in view of all three judges who were standing in the centre of the ring. The qualifiers were brought into the ring in date order of the show at which they qualified; the dogs first followed then by the bitches. Each qualifier was then examined separately by each judge in turn and given points out of ten for Conformation and for Type. Each dog could therefore gain a maximum of sixty points from this assessment. The dogs came separately into the ring and were firstly assessed by Liz Cartledge and then went immediately to be assessed by Stuart Mallard and finally to Leslie Page. The judges were not allowed to confer at all throughout the event.

During this period, Andrew Brace gave details of each dog’s name, its owner, breeder and handler plus a short summary of its wins any other interesting facts. When every qualifier had been seen and given points for Conformation and Type by each judge, each dog then came into the ring on its own to be moved in a circle and up and down infront of all the judges. The judges then independently gave each dog points out of ten for movement.

At the end of this section, the five dogs with the highest points were Melanie Harwood’s Miniature Poodle, Ch Minarets Secret Assignment JW, Lovaine Coxon’s Miniature Smooth Haired Dachshund, D’Arisca Super Natural, Pam Tomes’ Old English Sheepdog, Barkshire Born in the USA, Albert Easdon and Philip Martin’s Pekingese Yakee’s At It Again and the only bitch in the final line-up, Fiona and Ray Scholes’ Lhasa Apso, Rossgilde Tis A Dream. Each of these five were then awarded an extra point for reaching the final five.

At this point in the proceedings, it was possible for any one of these five to be the final winner as the judges then had another three points available to award (or not, if so desired) to each dog for that certain je ne sais quoi – or ‘Star Appeal’ as it is termed. Each of the five finalists was taken in turn around the ring for the judges to decide (again without conferring) how many (if any!) star appeal points they were going to award each of them.

A hushed atmosphere fell over the ringside as the expectant crowd waited for the final points to be calculated and announced. After what seemed an age, but wasn’t really, Andrew Brace informed us that there was a tie (not an uncommon event at these finals) and the Miniature Smooth Dachshund and the Old English Sheepdog were asked to stand forward whilst each judge had to write down which of these two they preferred. The tie then dealt with, Andrew, in true Miss World-fashion, announced the final results in reverse order.

Attaining fifth place was D’Arisca Super Natural with 79 points out of a possible 100, fourth was Barkshire Born In The USA with 80 points and third Rossgilde Tis A Dream with 82 points.

The runner-up with 86 points was Ch Minarets Secret Assignment JW and the overall winner of the Petplan Finals 2003 with 89 point out of a possible 100 was the aptly-named Pekingese, Yakee’s At It Again.

The five finalists performed a lap of honour and were then awarded their prizes. The proceedings were brought to a close by Peter Jenner who also gave presentations to those hard-working people involved in the organising of the event, Jill Peak and Mark Cocozza, not forgetting to mention Keith Young who had been Chief Steward at this event for many years and was present today as a VIP guest. The three judges were then called to receive gifts of four boxes each which looked suspiciously like bottles of the alcoholic variety, in recognition of their hard work and diligence here today.

The invited guests were instructed to go over the bridge where there was a coach waiting to take them to lunch in a splendid marquee situated by the main horse event ring. After a superb lunch enjoyed by more the 100 guests, Peter Jenner gave a toast to the guests and competitors to which David Cavill replied on behalf of the guests. All three judges then stood up simultaneously to say "thank you" in unison for the generous hospitality afforded them and the enjoyable day they had judging some wonderful young dogs.

As the guests filtered out of the lunch marquee they were then left with a choice of options, to catch the coach back to the car park, to spectate some of the horse events or to partake in retail therapy (the preferred option by many it would have appeared!)

There could not be a more scenic setting for the Petplan Junior Stakes Grand Final 2003 than the grounds surrounding Blenheim Palace, the English Countryside at it’s most beautiful.

Held in conjunction with the famous Blenheim Horse Trials, we were royally treated not only to seeing some of the canine stars of the future, but also some wonderful horses.

September 11th was Dressage day as well as out stakes final, and whilst we were enjoying a scrumptious lunch, we could also feast out eyes on some of the very elegant dressage competitors.

When the dog judging and lunch were completed there was also the opportunity to do some serious, and very “classy,” shopping - the various trade stands were out of this world. My guest Elizabeth Mattell; Irene Terry and I did our very best to show our support, and aid the traders’ takings!

I have had reservations in the past about judging on a points system and being on a panel of three, but I am delighted that Keith Young, and Jill Peak persuaded me to at least try it once. In the event I was lucky to be part of a compatible panel - Stuart Mallard, and Leslie Page were my co -judges, and I know that we think fairly similarly. For my part I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

There were 24 finalists competing and had I judged them on my own as a normal class, I would have had the same five dogs that the three of us chose, possibly not in exactly the order they finished up, but that is not important. Nobody “warned” me beforehand that the dog press wanted a report, so no notes were taken,....hence these comments are purely off the cuff.

I liked all five finalists very much, and feel pretty confident that they will make their mark at group level next year. The big personality Peke, Yakee’s At It Again, with such a lovely head and eyes, wonderful front and tight elbows was full of type and character, most definitely a chip off the old block. The black Miniature Poodle, Ch Minarets Secret Assignment - Mature and well bodied with tight feet, moved and showed in terrific style. Coat presentation and handling by Melanie Harwood were absolute perfection.

Melanie was definitely the youngest participant and deserves an extra bouquet for her calm and professional approach throughout. What a talented young lady, in step with her dog at all times, and they never put a foot wrong. Then the young Lhasa Apso, Rossgilde Tis A Dream, who truly “grew” as the event progressed. The only bitch to figure in the final line up. Very feminine, full of jaunty air and arrogance with that delightful touch of “Primadonna.”

Beautiful coat and condition, lovely size and overall proportions. Barkshire Born IN the USA, the all American OES boy was impressive with his shapely, well constructed outline and good bone.

The slowest maturing breed in our quintet, his full potential, quite rightly, will not be realised for a while yet, but he is one with a lot of promise. Last but not least D’Arisca Super Natural, the Miniature Smooth Dachshund, and yet another from this famous kennel to hit the high spots. Coat shining like satin, he looks sleek, fit, and well muscled, and cold hold his own with any of the others on the move, retaining a good topline at all times.

The sponsors should be congratulated on putting on a truly first class event. They have picked a great management team, and my advice to them would be not to change this winning formula. Andrew Brace, on form, is the best canine commentator I know. Mark Cocozza, ring master, young, multi talented and quietly efficient, - with the back up of Jill Peak, Stuart Milner and Gavin Roberson, this final really ran like clockwork.

Liz Cartlege

Petplan Junior Stakes Final
Blenheim Palace – 11th Sept 2003

I was extremely honoured to judge the finals of this prestigious event and privileged to be doing so with co-judges Liz Cartledge and Leslie Page.

A great team, the organisation was slick, no detail overlooked and in a fabulous setting. The expert organisation is such that everyone is made to feel relaxed and the unstinting hospitality greatly appreciated by all fortunate enough to be there. I offer my heartfelt thanks to all concerned for a memorable day.

The quality and breed type of the dogs that had won heats through to be present here was of a high order and each exhibit presented to full advantage making for an exciting contest with the scoring tight.

When the highest scoring five were called back in I was pleased to see that I too had particularly admired the qualities of these dogs and felt that any would have made a very worthy winner. There was just one tie-breaking decision to be made and then the winners were announced in reverse order keeping the suspense going right to the end since none of the judges even knew who it was going to be!

The outright winner emerged as Albert Easdon & Philip Martin’s Pekingese Yakee’s At It Again. Has personality, a lovely head with large round knowing eyes, excellent bone and correct body shape. A sturdy dog with typical action and shown in a quality coat.

Runner up was the black Miniature Poodle owned and bred by Melanie Harwood, Ch. Minarets Secret Assignment JW., is so sound and put in a superb performance, well chiselled clean head and sound all-through, easy action and put down to the minute.

Third was the Lhasa Apso and the only ‘lady’ in the final five, Fiona & Ray Scholes Rossglide Tis A Dream, jaunty lass, feminine, balanced and of nice size, totally sound and shown in good coat and condition.

Reserve was the Old English Sheepdog, only recently arrived from the States and now owned by Pam Tomes, Barkshire Born In The USA. Cobby and so well constructed, carries excellent bone and has the correct topline, at fourteen months he already has a harsh coat which is clearing well. Took a moment to find his stride but when he did it simply emulated his excellent construction.

Fifth went to Lovaine Coxons Miniature Smooth Dachshund D’Arisca Super Natural. Well up with the others, totally balanced and looking so important, holds his outline all the time and moves soundly.

Thank You again to Petplan and all the lucky finalists who made it a great day!

Stuart J Mallard

Congratulations on a superb event. Many thanks to Peter Jenner, Jenny Perks and all your helpers for your kindness, hospitality and generosity. The quality of the contenders was very high. A few standing looked a picture but let themselves down a little on movement. The five survivors were quite outstanding especially the winner and reserve.

Leslie Page