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Eva and Amber take top Northern Ireland Award

Mrs Marleen Collins presents a crystal vase on behalf of sponsors Our Dogs
to Miss Eva Keenan whose Lhasa Apso, Ir Ch Heneva Miss Ruffles
won the title of Northern Ireland Showdog of the Year 2003

Seventeen year old Eva Keenan handled her Lhasa Apso, Ir Ch Heneva Miss Ruffles, to take the title of Northern Ireland Showdog of the Year 2003 on the Friday 9th January. Amber, who is Eva’s first homebred champion, is co-owned with Henry Stanley and William Bickerstaff. Eva was presented with a large, engraved vase courtesy of the main sponsors, OUR DOGS.

The runner up award went to Gerry McFaul’s Standard Dachshund, Gb & Ir Ch Darsoms Zwaggerson. Sonny, who won a paper weight sponsored by Pedigree Chum, has won 14 CCs and eleven CCs and was the Hound Group winner in the Irish Showdog finals, 2002. In third spot was another Amber, Andrea and Jackie Stubb’s Parson Jack Russell, Mindlen Forestbow Fir Cone. If my memory serves me well, Amber, or the White Rabbit as she is more generally called by her friends, has at least one group win at Irish championship level under her belt.

In fourth spot was Janet Duke and Tracy Gill’s Whippet, Collooney Silver Obsession; Anna went RBIS at the NI Whippet Show last year as well as fourth BIS at Lisburn Open Show..

There were 53 dogs entered on the night; these had qualified by way of their wins at KC shows. The event was hosted by the committee of Queens Island Canine Club and was held as usual at the Highways Hotel Larne. The committee now have the running of the event planned down to the last detail. While Deirdre Robinson and Alexa Brown ensured that all the exhibitors had checked in and received their free OUR DOGS diary, the show manager, Ronnie Brown, ensured that the ring was ship-shape and ready to go.

There are actually two judges for the first part of the event. This year it was Mrs Vivien Phillips and Mr Colin (Jock) Mackay who individually ran the rule over each dog and then allocated points out of a possible 50. To move things along for the exhibitors, the two judges shared a ring although their tables were situated diagonally to each other. They each had their own steward who ensured that the paperwork reached to capable hands of the two scrutineers, ably led by Mrs Frances Beattie, who collated the combined scores for each dog. At the end of the evening, Mr Hugh McGucken announced that there were actually four dogs on all the same scores. At this stage, the referee, Mr Howard Tonks, was asked to take centre stage. After examining each dog in turn, he declared the four final placings as described above.

With a feeling of deja vu, the next morning found the majority of exhibitors, the committee and the three judges back at the same venue for the NI Veteran and Pup of the Year competitions. First to be judged were the veterans. The proceedings were exactly the same as the previous night although this time, the referee, Mr Tonks was not required. Taking the top award was Rachel Shaw and Tony Rainey’s Irish Setter, Gb & Ir Sh Ch Clonageera Flambuoyant At Starchelle. Theo, who has won eight CCs and seventeen reserve CCs as well as BIS at National Gundog, is a son of the famous Crufts BIS winner, Chicago Bear. In runner-up spot was Dr Karen Humphries‚ Mini Long Haired Dachshund, Sylvancroft Red Ruffel.

Lucinda Thompson took third place with her Whippet, Ir Ch Barnesmore Ace of Spades while fourth was Barri and Maud Orr’s Rottweiler, Int. Gb & Ir Ch Rottessors Dollarmite At Tikaram.
There were 58 puppies entered for the NI Pup of the Year competition. After Mrs Phillips and Mr Mackay had gone over all the exhibits it was announced that two dogs were tying for first place so once again referee Mr Tonks stepped in to decide the top two placings. After going over both dogs, he declared that the NI Pup of the year 2003 was Willie and Amanda Dobbin‚s homebred Newfoundland, Brooklynbear Navarona; just like the Veteran winner, he also comes from Crufts winning stock as his grandfather won the Working Group last year.

Runner-up NI Pup of the Year was Marleen and Maynard Collins‚ homebred Australian Shepherd Dog, Drummanor Ainmire - this is the first time an Aussie has won such as an award at an English Kennel Club’s event. Jake, who had two BPIS wins in NI last year, is also one of just over 20 pups qualified for the Irish Pup of the Year event to be held in Dublin later in the spring. Co-incidentally, Jake‚s grandfather also won BOB & was short-listed in the group at Crufts last year while his father was reserve dog in the breed.

Hugh McGucken then announced that third in the competition was Gillian and Carol Matthew’s homebred Shih Tzu, Ir Ch Virtulvilage Bobby Dazzler while fourth was Mr Leslie Chambers’ Cocker Spaniel, Laveros Miss Dynamite At Selnna.