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Petplan Junior Stakes Finals 2008


At SIXTEEN Championship shows each year, Petplan sponsor an always well filled Junior stakes classes for dogs and bitches. The winning dog and the winning bitch at the show are invited to the finals where three well-known championship show judges assess them on a points system - without consultation. It is a unique and unusual competition that attracts the best youngsters throughout the UK so those who attend have the opportunity of seeing some of Britain’s most promising young stock. For the first time the Junior Stakes Final was held Kempton Park Racecourse and a cracking venue it is. Over 200 exhibitors, guests and spectators provided a knowledgeable and enthusiastic audience for the competition which turned out to be one of the most exciting and closely fought on record.

There were some really wonderful dogs for the judges (Ann Ingram, Ron James and Hans van den Berg) to go over.

The winning dogs are firstly brought into the ring so they could be seen as a group before each judge can go over them individually. The system used for this competition is unique. The judges do not confer at any time and award points out of ten, in the first instance, for conformation and type. This gives a maximum score of 30 for each dog in each section. Like puppies, juniors are difficult to keep at their best as they are still maturing: a dog or bitch that was in full bloom at one of the heats might well be a gawky adolescent by the finals so there was inevitably a wide range of points awarded. The lowers score this year at this stage was 16 with the highest being 27. The ring secretaries take down the scores, which are then added together and posted on a computer-generated display overlooking the ring. The leaders can be identified after the conformation and type stage but anything can happen in this competition and a stunning looking dog can shamble its way around the ring and throw away its lead. When all the dogs have been seen, their handlers then move them while all three judges were watching. This ensures that all three judges see exactly the same movement, of course. Each judge then has another 10 points to award and these totals are added to the score: 24 was the highest score awarded in the movement section.
When the scores for type, conformation and movement had been calculated the dogs with the five highest scores are brought into the ring. Well in theory anyway for this year four of the dogs had the same score so there were nine. They were: the Akita, Redwitch Ker Ching owned by Jenny Killilea and Arlene Clure; the Shetland Sheepdog, Ch Francehill Two Tone owned by Margaret Norman: the English Toy Terrier, Witchstone Free’s a Crowd owned by Sian Gordon and Andrew Leonard; the Wire Fox Terrier, Travella Special Feature owned by Richard Allen; the Lakeland Terrier, Nujax My Way owned by Jaxson Manser and Amy English; the English Springer Spaniel, Petranella Perfickly Dealt owned by Christine Savell; the Old English Sheepdog, Zottels Noblesse Oblige owned by Christina Bailey and Ann Titheridge; the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Brymill Picture this owned by Sarah Taylor and the Beagle, Eardley Early Opening, owned by Tim Jones and Stephen Jepson.

There was general agreement that it was a stunning line up, but there only five placings so the judges had to make specific choices and allocate further points to those dogs with the same scores which led to the exit (to laud applause) of the Cardigan the OES, the Springer and the Beagle.

At this stage the judges are asked to award a ‘star quality’ mark of 1, 2 or 3 to each dog. If all three judges felt that a dog was worth three for star quality a dog could attract an extra nine points. The Lakeland had already scored the highest number of points overall and was the only dog to attract three points from each judge so it was a decisive winner. In the Reserve spot was the Wire with ETT in 3rd place followed by the Akita and then the Sheltie.

The final was a master class demonstration of how such and event should be run. The Petplan staff were attentive and incredibly efficient and ring stewards Mark Cocozza and Gavin Robertson kept the complicated procedures flowing smoothly while, Andrew Brace on the microphone kept us amply supplied with facts and figures about each and every dog.

As someone remarked ‘A quality day from a quality company’.

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