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Pedigree Stakes triumphs at the NEC

Last weekend saw one of the UK’s most prestigious events, the Stakes Final 2007. This was Pedigree’s 29th such event, held once again at the Concourse Suite 1 and 2 on the Atrium Concourse, NEC, Birmingham.

Thousands of dogs have competed all throughout 2007 to qualify for the finals in 2008. This pinnacle is left to just 25 Veteran finalists and 25 Champion finalists.

All guests arrived in time for the beautiful lunch that was made by the catering staff at the NEC; we were respectively greeted with an option of red or white wine or orange juice. Not just qualifiers were present today, many of the secretaries from champ shows and judges of the heats were also present. Many of the UK’s top winning kennel owners were also amongst the enjoyment of today’s events, even pre-Junior Handler of the Year winners were present on the day.

Afterwards the highlight of the day commenced. The first final to take place is the Veteran Stakes, to be judged by Andrew Brace. Sadly from the 25 finalists, there were only 22 present. The qualifyer from Bath Ch Show, Ch Shavals Fire Odyssey owned by Mr and Mrs Jones, the Schnauzer Ch Shered Snowy Knight, qualifyer from SKC, owned by Sheena Martin, also the Tibetan Spaniel, Ch Naruan Morning Sen-Sa-Son, qualifyer at Belfast, owned by Mrs A MacLeod.

The usual format of the judge’s assessment occurred for each dog, before Andrew Brace made his first shortlist. The Norfolk Terrier, Ch/Am Ch Jaeva Dutch Gold, Eric was last year’s overall winner of the Veteran Stakes. The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, Ch/Am Ch Afterglow Woody Woodpecker. Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Ch Penliath Shooting Star. Great Dane, Ch Helmlake Happy Harry. Bichon Frise, Ch/Am Ch Paray’s I Told You So. Both Saluki’s Ch Mabrooka Jayid and Ch Baghdad Foreign Affair of Lokhandar. Akita, Ch Stecals Step Out With Style. Standard Poodle, Ch Penling By Design at Namkia. Shih Tzu, Ch Tameron Mr XS. Gordon Setter Sh Ch/Int/Ir Ch Caballus Ebonie Adonis Ludstar. Lhasa Apso Ch Sealaw Forever Dreaming of Rossgilde. English Springer Spaniel Sh Ch Mompesson Royal Destiny. Greyhound, Ch Mistweave Making Waves. Each of these dogs were assessed in more detail before Andrew Brace, made his final cut to five dogs. ‘Eric’ the Norfolk ‘Woody’ the PBGV, ‘Alice’ the Pembroke Corgi, ‘Buster’ the Bichon, ‘Antii’ the Gordon Setter. In first place and the 2007 Veteran Stakes winner was Woody Ch/Am Ch Afterglow Woody Woodpecker the PBGV, owned by Gavin and Sara Robertson, bred by Gavin and Mike Gadsby. 2nd place and runner up, was Buster, Ch/Am Ch Parays I Told You So, owned by Michael Coad, P Sewell and the late Mrs L Kornfeld, bred by Ms L Blue, Mr P Flores and Mr T Pittman. 3rd place went to Antii, Sh Ch/Int/Ir Ch Caballus Ebonie Adonis Ludstar, owned by Mr and Mrs Ivaldi, bred by Mrs T Illukka. 4th place went to Alice, Ch Penliath Shooting Star, owned and bred by Mrs Cristine Blance. 5th place was awarded to Eric, Ch/Am Ch Jaeva Dutch Gold. Owned by Andrew Gullick and Martin Phillips, bred by Martin Phillips. Presentations and photographs were taken, and with much care and attention, before moving on to the next final. The Champion Stakes.
Before the Champion Stakes event, the Junior Handlers had their moment in the ring, to compete for the 2007 Junior Handler of the Year. All 15 finalists were to be put through their paces by well-known judge/all-rounder, Jack Bispham.

Half way through the competition for the juniors, the audience had the honour of a couple of demonstrations led by the ever-famous Mary Ray. It was nice to see that training can be done easily, if you go the right way about it. Everyone enjoyed the stunts that both Ozzy and Levi made, to show the audience just how fun it is to do basic obedience, with a bit of cleverness on top!

The Champions made their way into the ring at 4pm. From the 25 finalists, sadly four of these were absent, the Pointer, Sh Ch Aust NZ Gr Ch Chesterhope Lets Be Serious at Kanix, qualified at Bath, owned by Mesdames K Wilberg, D O’Neill and J Blackburn Bennett, bred by Mr P Robinson and Mrs D O’Neill. Weimaraner, Am Ch/Ir Sh Ch Rivenwell Alabama Slammer CD JH, qualified at Southern Counties, owned and bred by Mr and Mrs J Gibson. Toy Poodle, Ch/Jap Ch JP Rainbow Rider at Vanitonia, qualified at Windsor, owned by Mr L Cox and Mr T Isherwood, bred by Mr T Omura. Giant Schnauzer, Ch Jafrak Philippe Olivier, qualified at City of Birmingham, owned by Mr and Mrs Cullen, bred by Mr and Mrs Krall. This years judge for the Champions, is the ever well known, Mrs Jean Lanning. Once again, a thorough assessment of each dog was made, before Mrs Lanning made her first cut. Shetland Sheepdog, Ch Francehill Ice Maiden, owned by Mrs M Norman, Ch/Am Ch Afterglow The Big Tease, owned by Mr Jason Lynn, Griffon Bruxellois, Ch Donzeata Royal Vintage, owned by David Guy, Saluki, Ch Mabrooka Jayid, owned by Mrs Anne Macdonald, Boxer, Ch Winuwuk Lust at First Sight, owned by Miss J Brown, Tibetan Terrier, Ch/Int/Lux/Dutch Ch Waterley Dressed to Impress, owned by Messrs Glenn Davies and Mark James, Hungarian Vizsla, Sh Ch/Aus Ch Hungargunn Bear It n Mind, owned by Naomi Cragg and Kathryn Armstrong, Pomeranian, Ch Casarow’s Nightfever JW, owned by Mr and Mrs Carl and Julie Sparrow, and the Bouvier Des Flandres, Ch Alsadie Freya at Kanix. Each of the shortlists were moved and re-assessed before Miss Lanning called for the boards and announced her winners! In first place came Donny Ch/Am Ch Afterglow The Big Tease, owned by Jason Lynn, bred by handler Mike Gadsby. In second place was Owen Ch/Int/Lux/Dutch Ch Waterley Dressed to Impress, owned and bred by Messrs Glenn Davies and Mark James. 3rd place came the Hungarian Vizsla, ‘Yogi’ Sh Ch/Aus Ch Hungargunn Bear It n Mind, owned by Naomi Cragg and Kathryn Armstrong, bred by Naomi Cragg, handled by John Thirlwell. 4th place came the Saluki Ch Mabrooka Jayid ‘Jason’ owned and bred by Mrs Anne Macdonald. 5th place came the Shetland Sheepdog ‘Sporty’ owned and bred by Margaret Norman.

The competition would not have run anywhere near as smoothly if it was not for the help of commentator, Graham Hill, organisers and breeder representatives from Pedigree Masterfoods, and for the Juniors, Liz Cartledge and assistant Jill Terry. Not forgetting Keith Young!

Photographs, congratulations and trophies galore: pedigree triumphed in the Atrium at the NEC, as we had all reached the climax of the show, the results were in, and down in history is the 2007 Pedigree Stakes Finals. On to the dinner dance proceedings which, I am sure, continued into the early hours of the Sunday morning.

Pedigree Stakes Final

I often wonder how many fully appreciate that well over the past quarter of a century PEDIGREE (Mars) has given us an ‘annual spectacular’ – that must surely be second to none in the world. As well as it being the most important social event of the year in the Canine Calendar.

Where else could you see such a galaxy of some of the very best show dogs of the world? I had the great honour and privilege to judge the 2007 final event. Many of these dogs were well known to me as some of them had also won at the very highest level in Breed, Groups and Best in Show when I had been judging. I can truthfully say that there were a number of dogs which qualified that I truly love!

I have always said that when judging at this very high level, it is not my job to criticise. I knew that with the calibre of dogs facing me, most of my decisions would come down to very close detail and performance. All the exhibits gave their very best for their handlers, who put them through their paces. I took what were two difficult cuts to get the number down to five.

So it was for 2007 - that in top spot was the white Standard Poodle Ch/Am Ch Afterglow The Big Tease, followed by 2, The Tibetan Terrier, Ch Lux Dutch Ch Waterley Dressed To Impress. 3, Hungarian Vizsla, Sh Ch/Aus Ch Hungargunn Bear It’N Mind. 4, The Saluki (now a Veteran), Ch Mabrooka Jayid, and fifth but not least was the stunning little merle Shetland Sheepdog, Ch Franchill Icemaiden. All the crème de la crème of ‘Dogdom’, which if given the chance, could all hold their own on the world scene.

Once again to Pedigree (Mars) goes my sincerest thanks on behalf of my many doggy friends and contemporaries for such a splendid affair.

Jean Lanning

Pedigree Junior Handler of the Year

I was honoured to be invited to judge at the Pedigree Finals for the second time, and once again enjoyed the weekend and the very good company. I would first like to thank Neil Thompson and his hard working team, who organise all the event, as for the finals the ring was run on smooth rails under Keith and we had a very good commentary throughout the three finals from Ann and Graham, Liz organised the juniors and ensured a smooth change over of dogs.

The handling of the 14 finalists all young ladies was of the top order, all putting in competent performances making my decisions very close. My six finalists being:

First was Page Allen one of the younger handlers today showing her Australian Shepherd one can feel that this dog thinks the world of Page he stands correct and moves as one with his handler, for her second breed Page had a Bichon who never put a foot wrong, she handled him as if they had been together for a long time.

Second was Georgia Gray handling her Whippet who responded to all the commands. Georgia’s second dog was a Standard Poodle she stacked him well and did not disappoint on the move.
Third was Hannah Escott with her Soft-Coated Wheaten, Hannah was in full control all the time and the dog looked a picture when standing. For Hannah’s second breed she had a English Springer again standing well but just lost a little when moving.

Fourth was Heather Rose showing a GWP, and they really are the perfect team, both standing and in movement, going at the correct speed. Heather’s second breed was a Pomeranian; the dog stacked well on the table but they were not in unison when moving.

Fifth was Toni Gillman with a Lhasa Apso she presented and handled the dog in top order, and so smooth on the move. Toni’s second breed was a Dalmatian full of energy.

Sixth was Amelia Whipps, fully in control of her first breed a Papillon. They make the perfect team both standing, showing and on the move going at the correct speed for the breed. Amelia’s second charge was a Saluki. The dog moved well but Amelia could have changed her style a little more.

Jack B Bispham

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