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Pedigree Stakes Finals 2005 - Report by Kerry Rushby

A day to remember!

Once again, Pedigree Masterfoods held their 27th Pedigree Stakes Finals 2005 in the Atrium Concourse at the NEC Birmingham. A packed day was scheduled, beginning at 10.30am when all the guests gathered at the concourse suite greeted with coffee & chocolates. It was lovely to see some old faces, and to also catch up with those who I had not seen since the New Year. All guests were then escorted upstairs to the buffet lunch, greeted with choices of wine.

After the delicious lunch guests were introduced to the speaker for the day, the very well known judge & Crufts BBC Spokesman, Mr Frank Kane, who was assisted by Tamara Dawson of the Tamalva Bichon Frise. Mr Kane explained the order of events & then passed the mic over to the Pedigree Masterfoods new National Breeder Manager – Mr Neil Thompson.

Neil welcomed all guests & exhibitors to the event & then introduced the Pedigree team, Fiona Grant, Gary Scobell, Dale Lynskey, Andrew Winfrow, Ian McCrory, Sally Richards, Cass Grant & Steve Barrett. After a brief photo shoot by the event photographer, Mr John Hartley, the judging of the Veterans commenced.

Mr Stuart Mallard, well known all breeds judge, breeder & successful canine artist, was the lucky judge for the day who was assisted into the ring by no other than Mr Neil Thompson, and all finalists duly entered the ring. From 25 qualified dogs, only two were unable to attend.

The Weimaraner, Sh Ch Gunalt Carter with Keaek owned by Mr & Mrs Hesford, bred by Mr & Mrs Hollings, who qualified for the finals at Manchester under the well known Derek Smith, sadly passed away in 2005 at the age of seven years old. The other absentee on the day was the German Shorthaired Pointer Sh Ch Pitwit Spring into Action, owned & bred by Miss F Pitman & Mr F Whitworth, who qualified at Belfast under Mr Dave Killilea; sadly the day before he cut his pad & was not sound to compete in the competition.

Mr Mallard glanced over each dog before he had a closer assessment of each exhibit. Nice to see the eldest of our exhibits, the Dalmatian Ch Tommy Brock aged 11, looking in immaculate condition, as were all the exhibits.

After an examination of each dog & the ever important movement manoeuvre, Stuart Mallard shortlisted his group down to 10. The Standard Poodle, Ch Elledina Evilicious, owned by Mrs L Lee, qualified at Birmingham National under Ellis Hulme, Siberian Husky, Ch & Am Ch Solocha’s Southern Legacy, owned by Mrs S Livingstone, qualified at Bath under Mr Ben Reynolds Frost.

The Dobermann Ch Chancepixies Monopolist, owned by Mr D Anderson & Mrs J Frost, qualifying at Southern Counties under Mrs Carol Harwood. English Springer Spaniel, Sh Ch Bomaris Springtime with Hollybrook, owned by Mr & Mrs Elliott, qualified at Blackpool under Paul Wilkinson. Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Ch Penliath Shooting Star, owned by Mrs C Blance, qualified at Paignton under Mrs June Freeman. Saluki Ch Kasaque Hyperion of Saruk, owned by Mrs Bryce Smith, whom qualified at East of England under Vincent Mitchell.

The very well known Old English Sheepdog Ch/Int. Ch Allmark Ralph Lauren, owned by Mrs Angie Allan, qualified at the Welsh Kennel Club under Mr Albert Wight. Dalmatian Ch Buffrey Arrabelle at Daedalus, owned by Mr & Mrs Petersen, qualified at Driffield under Michael Boothroyd. Pomeranian Ch Moonrae Ebony Hotshot, owned by Miss C Smith, qualified at Midland Counties, judge Mr Frank Kane, last to be shortlisted was the Wire Fox Terrier, Baglan Battle Hymn of Russmews, owned by Mr & Mrs Wurtzburg, qualified at LKA under Mr Roger Thomas.

Mr Mallard asked the shortlisted dogs to do an out and back movement before he made his final cut. Each dog had their own supporters from the crowd, and all were well supported. The decision was made almost straight away for the top spot to go to the Dalmatian, Ch Buffrey Arrabelle at Daedalus, with second place to the Pomeranian Ch Moonrae Ebony Hotshot, third spot to the Welsh Cardigan Corgi, Ch Penliath Shooting Star, fourth place was awarded to the Dobermann, Ch Chancepixies Monopolist, & in fifth place the English Springer Spaniel, Sh Ch Bomaris Springtime with Hollybrook.

Stuart Mallard shook hands with those who were not placed as they left the ring, thanking them for attending. The prize for winning 1st place was two tickets to the Westminster Show in a couple of weeks, courtesy of Pedigree Masterfoods, also £200 voucher for Pedigree Products and a cut crystal chalice.

Shortly after the Veteran Finals, judging of the Junior Handlers began. The very well known judge, breeder & exhibitor Mrs Liz Dunhill accepted this year’s appointment to judge the juniors. Not an easy competition to judge I’m sure, but out of the 14 finalists, Mrs Dunhill had a kind & friendly approach to each individual, giving each one the chance to present their dog and themselves in plenty of time without stress.

All finalists kept their eye on their dogs & the judge all the time, they remembered to not have their dog blocked in the view of the judge, changing sides each time Mrs Dunhill moved up, down or behind those in the line up. Credit must go to the handlers as they were very well presented.

Shortlisted from the 14 was Hannah Rose who handled a Dobermann, Kiri Hurst who handled an American Cocker Spaniel, Jamie Gillis who handled a West Highland White Terrier, Emily Thornton who handled a Beagle, Danielle Jones who handled a Groenendael, & finally Stephanie Lansdell who handled a Toy Poodle.

A 10 minute break whilst the shortlists went out to change dogs & the guests were entertained by the wonderful Mary Ray with another one of her famous displays with her two collies. Very enjoyable to watch & I have to say brought a tear to my eye to see the dogs respond to Mary Ray in the way that they do with such love and dedication.

All the juniors returned with their new dogs for assessment by Mrs Dunhill. All were closely examined & Mrs Dunhill gave them plenty of time to talk & encourage their dogs. The final decision was made and 1st place went to Hannah Rose (from the 12-16 class) who firstly handled a Dobermann, then came back to handle a Toy Poodle. 2nd place was awarded to Danielle Jones (from the 12-16 class) who firstly handled a black Groenendael BSD, then came back to handle a Wire Fox Terrier.

3rd place was awarded to Emily Thornton (from the 12-16 class) who handled a Beagle, then came back to handle an Irish Setter, I believe Emily was already celebrating on this day as it was her 16th birthday, many happy returns Emily!

4th place was awarded to Stephanie Lansdell (from the 12-16 class) who handled a Toy Poodle, then changed to handle a German SH Pointer. 5th place was awarded to Kiri Hurst (from the 6-11 class) who handled an American Cocker Spaniel, then a Dalmatian. 6th place was awarded to Jamie Gillis (from the 6 –11 classes) who handled a WHWT then he came back to handle an Australian Shepherd.

Prizes for all finalists were fantastic, 1st prize being £250 voucher for Pedigree Products, and a crystal chalice, also £100 donated by the Ryslip Group.

Mrs Dunhill congratulated all the finalists on the hardwork & effort they had put into the final. A special presentation was made to Charlotte Nickel, who has qualified more than eight times for the finals. Jane Bingham, Events Manager of Pedigree Masterfoods, presented the presentation & the trophy was the Treetops Shield.

The final competition was the Champions finals. Mr Andrew Brace had accepted this appointment with much delight after returning from the AKC where he judged prior to this event. Mr Brace has travelled the world, accepting many invitations for judging all breeds for many years now, he is also a successful breeder of Beagles under the Tragband affix.

Twenty five finalists were chosen from throughout the year, with just one absentee on the day, the American Cocker Spaniel Sh Ch Afterglow Douglas Fashion, owned by Mr Cannell & Ms Wilcocks, bred by Mr Mike Gadsby. ‘Douglas’ has gone to pastures new, now living in the US, where he has already swept the boards, winning Best Of Breed at the AKC Nationals just a couple of weeks ago. Douglas left the UK late on in 2005 becoming the Top Dog All Breeds for 2005.

Mr Brace gave each dog a close examination, assessing breed standards & movement qualities, and shortlisted 12 of the Champions. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Ch Stormpike Dark Lord, owned by Mr & Mrs Needham & Mr & Mrs Barlow, qualified at Manchester under Mr Derek Smith.

Dobermann, Ch Talacre Vysans Boy at Supeta, owned by Messrs Mycroft & Gelderd, qualified at Birmingham National under Mr Ellis Hulme. Chow Chow, Ch Foillan Finesse, owned by Mr & Mrs Martin, qualified at Bath under Mr Ben Reynolds Frost. The Tibetan Terrier, Ch Araki Fabulous Willy, owned by Mr J Shaw & Mr N Smith, handled by breeder Mr Ken Sinclair, qualified at Southern Counties under Mrs Carol Harwood.

Giant Schnauzer, Ch Jafrak Philippe Olivier, owned by Mr & Mrs Cullen, bred by Mr & Mrs Krall, qualified at Three Counties under Mr Steve Hall. The Griffon Bruxellois, Ch Donzeata Royal Tapestry, owned by Mr D Guy, qualified at Blackpool under Judge Mr Paul Wilkinson. St Bernard, Ch Chandlimore Hold Your Horses, owned by breeder Mr & Mrs Nagrecha & Mr & Mrs Poole qualified at South Wales under Mr Tom Mather. Saluki, Ch Mabrooka Jayid, owned by breeder Mrs E A Macdonald, qualified at Paignton under Mrs June Freeman.

Norfolk Terrier, Ch Jaeva Gold Auric, owned by Mr A Gullick, bred by Mr M Phillips, qualified at East of England under Mr Vincent Mitchell. Gordon Setter, Sh Ch Hernwood California Girl, owned by breeder Mr & Mrs Sandiford & owned & handled by Miss S Crummey, qualified at the Welsh Kennel Club under Mr Albert Wight. Wire Fox Terrier, Ch Fairwyre Colleen, owned & bred by Mrs A Stansfield, qualified at Belfast under Mr Dave Killilea & last to be shortlisted was the Beagle, Ch Fallowfield Delilah, owned & bred by Mrs C Lewis, qualified at Midland Counties under Mr Frank Kane.

Mr Brace asked for each finalist to run an out & back movement, to the corner & back movement before choosing his final places. Finally, after much tension & excitement from the ringside, 1st place was awarded to the Giant Schnauzer, Ch Jafrak Philippe Olivier, I’m saddened to hear that ‘Philippe’ has now retired from competition, but what an ambassador he has become within his breed. 2nd place was awarded to the Gordon Setter, Sh Ch Hernwood California Girl. 3rd place was awarded to the Tibetan Terrier, Ch Araki Fabulous Willy, who for certain lives up to his name.
4th place was awarded to the Beagle, Ch Fallowfield Delilah, & 5th place was awarded to the St Bernard, Ch Chandlimore Hold Your Horses.

All good things must come to an end & Mr Neil Thompson closed the event by congratulating all the winners & thanking the organisation for making the show a success.

With the evening came the Pedigree Masterfoods Dinner Dance at the Hilton Metropole on the NEC complex. Invitations only & once again, the opening ceremony was hosted by Mr Neil Thompson, who awarded gifts to the winners, judges & Frank Kane for their achievements & help & thanks via the Pedigree team. A special presentation was made to Patsy & Steve Hollings of the Gunalt Kennels, for the achievement of becoming the Pedigree Masterfoods Top Breeder of all time.

Following a most enjoyable three course meal, all guests danced the night away, fabulously dressed with tuxedos on the men & cocktail dresses worn by the ladies. Everyone I spoke to during the evening could not thank Pedigree Masterfoods enough for their wonderful invite & hospitality which will be remembered for many many years.

Congratulations to all finalists on the day, and here’s to next year, when the judges for the 2006 finals will be Champion Stakes – Mr Terry Nethercott, Veteran Stakes – Mrs Zena Thorn Andrews, & Junior Handling Mr John Thirlwell.