At sixteen Championship shows each year Petplan sponsor Junior Stakes classes for dogs and bitches, these classes attract an excellent entry and the winning dog and bitch at each 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 Sandown Park Racecourse and an excellent venue it is too. Over two hundred 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 (Eleanor Bothwell, Kari Jarvinen and Espen Engh) to go over.
The winning dogs are firstly brought into the ring so they can be seen as a group before each judge goes over them individually. The system used for this competition is unique. The judges do not confer at any time and award points out of 10, in the first instance, for conformation and type. This gives a maximum score of 20 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 is inevitably a wide range of points awarded.
The ring secretaries take down the scores, which are then added together and posted on a board 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 are watching. This ensures that all three see exactly the same movement, of course. Each judge then has another 10 points to award and these totals are added to the score.
When the scores for type, conformation and movement had been calculated the dogs with the five highest scores are brought into the ring. 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 3 for star quality a dog could attract an extra 9 points. In 2009 the last five were: the Irish Terrier, Terrijay Special Brew owned by Jayne and Colin Pratt, the Labrador Retriver, Sh Ch Naiken Way Our West owned by Alan, Jackie and Rebecca Hodge, the Griffon Bruxellois, Roamaycee Royal Signature at Donzeata ownered by David Guy, the Tibetan Terrier, Ch Araki Striking Dhimond, owned by Suzy Roffey, Ann Sinclair and Fiona Whitehead and the Basenji, Tokaji American Dreamz of Silverbriar, owned by Jane and Jessica Baker.
There was general agreement that it was a stunning line up and the tension was turned up several notches when it was realised that there was a tie for the winner. The judges went into a further series of huddles with their stewards before Andrew Brace on commentating duty kept us waiting for what seemed like several minutes before announcing that the 2009 Petpan Junior Stakes winner for the year was the Griffon Bruxellois with Ch Araki Striking Dhimond as the runner up.
The final was a master class demonstration of how such an event should be run. The Petplan staff were attentive and incredibly efficient and ring stewards 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’.
Gladys grabs Glory at finals
Says Lucille Dangerfield
Gladys certainly displays all the traits that make Griffons so endearing to their owners. However, when she steps into the show ring she forgets naughty idiosyncrasies and becomes the perfect show dog.
Three judges of repute made Glad number one in their combined estimations on the day when she won the Junior Stakes Final at Sandown Park Racecourse.
It is very easy for me to report on the win of a Griffon, as I have to own up to a certain bias towards the breed. Like me, everyone professed to have their money on Gladys winning top spot. Why? Well she showed like the proverbial dream - standing four square and moving well consistently.
Judges Eleanor Bothwell - showing allegiance to Scotland in her choice of classy outfit - and two Nordic gentlemen – Norwegian Vet Espen Engh and FC. board member Kari Jarvinen from Finland, unanimously agreed that David Guy’s Roamaycee Royal Signature at Donzeata was a winner. Prize money of £500 would have made the long flog to Seaham so much sweeter!
A very attractive, stylish Tibetan Terrier Ch. Araki Striking Dhimond was runner up. Other contenders which finished in the top spots were Sh. Ch. Naiken Way Out West J.W. a Labrador - 5th in the final lineup. Basenji Tokaji American Dreamz of Silverbriar took 4th spot and the Irish terrier Terrijay Special Brew 3rd place.
View pictures from the day by clicking here
Twenty eight finalists took part – they were assessed independently by each judge for confirmation, type, movement, star quality – aspects influencing all decisions.
Following Gladys’ star turn, Petplan announced its new Format for 2010. Increased investment at four qualifying Championship Shows will create more exposure and excitement. All details/applications at www.petplanbreeder.co.uk Marketing Manager Alison Andrews commented “This is an exciting opportunity to….develop stronger links within the breeder community and to offer more financial support to selected shows”.
Congratulations Petplan on today’s stylish event and future plans.
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