By: Susan & Gemma Henshaw
So the heaters are on as are the jumpers and its time to catch up on the qualifiers for the Crufts 2015 Championships
Sunday 24 August and the Wakefield DTC show, popular on the circuit judging by the lovely comments from judging parties and competitors. Large well spaced out rings with a good working surface and a friendly relaxed atmosphere around the ground. In charge of the Bitch ticket ring was Alan Gresty and his winner was Linda Rutherford and ‘Ob Ch Colliewood Confidential’, running at third in the ring and showing style and commitment, finishing their day off with a near perfect scent. Judging the Dog ticket was Andy Firth and his top spot went to Dot Watts and ‘Ziggdan Zyco’, their first ticket win of this year.
The following day and it was the turn of Worcester DTC to host their very first Championship show as part of their double weekend. The show ground is quite spacious with ample room for the caravans and day parkers, there is a large field to the right as you enter the ground which is ideal for the dogs to have a good run round in and many took advantage of that during the weekend. Although on a slight slope the rings are a good size with the ticket rings set at the bottom end of the ground with plenty of room for people to sit and watch the teams work. Unfortunately the club couldn’t control the weather which was in a word ‘horrendous’ with most handlers and dogs drenched at some point during the day, we were lulled into a false sense of fairly decent weather in the morning then the heavens opened with some force.
In charge of the Dog ticket was Roy Page and his top honour went to Mary Ray and ‘Ob Ch Colliewood Blue Jeans’, they lost just 4 ½ marks and a few people were heard to say ‘they really do make it all look simple’. Bronwyn Bartley was judging the Bitch ticket and her winner was a delighted Marie Cartwright with ‘Ob Ch Dodgin Firecracker’, who ‘just gets on with the job’.
Onto Saturday 30 August and for many of the teams a trip to Dartmouth Park in West Bromwich for the Lichfield & District DTS show, another double weekend and this club were celebrating their 50th Anniversary this weekend, what an achievement. Parking for some of the caravans looked a little tight and those vehicles turning up just for the day found themselves at the back of the parking area but as the day progressed found that they could bring the vehicles almost to the side of the ring area and park under the trees.
A beautiful area to hold the show, with lots of shaded areas around the ground, plenty of walks for the dogs and very tasty catering for the competitors. The rings were a good size and fairly flat to work on, the judges praised the excellent organisation, the buffet lunch and the scrumptious tea and cakes at the end of the day. Alan Gresty had charge of the Dog Ticket today and his winner was Mary Ray and ‘Ob Ch Colliewood Blue Jeans’, their 9th win of the season and as of last weekend they worked with precision and style. Also echoing their win of the previous weekend was Marie Cartwright and ‘Ob Ch Dodgin Firecracker’, taking the top spot under judge Jane Moran and giving a display of smooth handling and total commitment to their work. Must give a mention to the judge and her ring party, this was Jane’s first ticket appointment and everything about the ring and their outfits had a co-ordinated touch of pink, which certainly did impress.
Onto Sunday 7 September and a long trek north to Glasgow for the East Kilbride DTC show, this show is run by a club that caters mainly for pet handlers but its hard working members roll out the red carpet for their show, nothing is too much trouble and the praise from the judges and the competitors was unanimous. To top it all off the weather stayed warm and dry all day. Judging the Bitch ticket was Kate McCartney and her top honours went to Linda Rutherford with ‘Lupitoonz Limelight’ who worked with control, accuracy and style. Winner of the Dog ticket under judge Alison Gresty was Jessica Lewis and ‘Colliewood Casenova’ the team had to run off for this win and Alison said that they worked even better the second time around.
The following weekend and the teams headed for Ockwell Park in Maidenhead and the Thames DTC show, a lovely ground for a dog show, even with recent planting taking up some of the ground there was still ample space for caravans and vehicles. The ring area is well laid out with the stay rings to one side and plenty of space around the ticket rings for spectators. Leading off from the ground there are numerous tracks for the dogs to run free on, an ideal venue. Catering for the judges and competitors is first class, especially the homemade cakes for the judging parties at the end of the day.
Winner of the Dog ticket under judge Keith Gwillam was Dot Watts and ‘Ziggdan Zyco’, this win making the dog up into a champion. The judge for the Bitch ticket was Russell Becque and his top spot went to Kathy Russell with ‘Ob Ch & Wt Ch Ruskath Othentic Image’ this dog is now 10 years old and working as strong as ever with total commitment to her work.
The following day and a short journey up to Coundon Hall Park in Coventry for the Coventry DTC show. This club have earned quite a reputation for looking after their judges and certainly didn’t disappoint this year putting on a superb 3-course lunch at a local hotel. The rings are well spaced with a fairly flat working surface and with plenty of room around them. There is more than ample parking space and lots of dog walking to enjoy in the area. Roy Bland was in charge of the Dog ticket and his top spot went to Jessica Lewis and ‘Ob Ch Pepsanner Atlantic’ who worked with precision and performed excellent set exercises. Bitch ticket judge Peter Height awarded his first place to Wendy Birch and ‘Gypton Just Della Of Grey Valley’, a team who gave excellent set exercises.
Saturday 20 September and the start of two double weekends at the superb venue of the King George V playing fields at Sandwell Valley, West Bromwich. The expanse of grounds here means that competitors have ample room for their caravans and can stay on site until after next weekend’s shows. The rings are well laid out, with flat working surfaces and plenty of room in-between them. The stay rings are set well away from the working rings and are of a really good size. For the judges there are lunches at the on site farm and homemade cakes at the end of the day. Tony Lewis judged the Dog ticket and his top spot went to Mary Ray and ‘Ob Ch Colliewood Blue Jeans’, continuing their very successful year. Rob Bint was in charge of the Bitch ticket and his winner was Mary Vessey with’ Ob Ch Fenellark Charleston’, this team giving a very polished performance of attitude and accuracy.
The following Saturday and it was the turn of BAGSD to run their two day show at the same venue as the previous weekend but this time, thankfully, with better weather conditions, a slight breeze tumbling around the ground making for ideal dog working conditions. Wendy Hagger was in charge of the Dog Ticket and her winner was Jessica Lewis and ‘Ob Ch Pepsanner Atlantic’, their third ticket win of the year. Judge Bryan Luckock’s winner in the Bitch ticket ring was a delighted Kay Ball with ‘Pepsanner Boadicea of Barcarolle’, their first Ticket win. Certainly a good weekend for the Pepsanner line.
On Sunday 28 September the teams moved across to Monmouthshire in South East Wales for the GSD of Wales show, this year held at a new venue, in the stunning grounds of Caldicot Castle, according to the judging reports the club have found an absolute gem in this venue, shaded parking, more then enough walking areas for the dogs and good sized level surfaced rings. Lunch for the judges was served in the banqueting room and was, by all reports, delicious. Bitch ticket was judged by Barbara Peters and taking her top spot was Madge Thompson and ‘Ob Ch Forever Magic It’s Trendy’, their round being described as ‘worked with superb concentration on the job in hand’, they finished their day with a copybook scent, a very popular win. Russell Becque was judging the Dog ticket and his winner was Bev Hughes with ‘Ob Ch Gwynfair Bear Necessities’ who displayed superb set exercises and took the heelwork in their stride.
So into October and a double weekend of shows at the Orsett Showground in Essex. Saturday 4th is the turn of Elm Park DTC and their usual well organised show, the day starting off with fairly good weather but come lunch time and the heavens had opened and didn’t really stop until late afternoon, just in time for the scent going down in most classes.
The ground at this venue lends itself well to a large dog show with ample parking and a large area for the caravans, there is also a huge field next to the showground for exercising the dogs. The rings are well laid out with plenty of space around them and a stay ring that is situated away from the main working area. Judges are well catered for, from breakfast on arrival to a hot lunch and tea and cakes when the days’ judging is finished. Roy Neal was in charge of the Bitch ticket ring and his winner was a delighted Madge Thompson with ‘Ob Ch Forever Magic It’s Trendy’, working with flowing heelwork and performing excellent set exercises, their second win in two weeks and it’s lovely to see this dog back on form.
Judging the Dog ticket today was Kit Clow and her top spot went to Dot Watts and ‘Ob Ch Ziggdan Zyco’, this boy is only just over 3 years old and he worked with total concentration throughout the round.
Sunday 5th and it’s the turn of Thurrock DTS to hold their Championship show on the same ground as yesterday. A slightly better day weather wise with the sun shining through and drying everyone out. Another club whose organisational skills when it comes to running a show are superb, many judges praising the lunch, the service to the rings and thoughtful presents at the end of the day.
Ian Watts was judging the Dog ticket and his winner was Kath Westell’s ‘Corriecollies Jetsetter for Kajo’, handled by Michelle Newman as Kath is still recovering from a broken foot. This win making ‘Becker’ up into an Obedience Champion. The Bitch ticket was judged by Diane Martin and her top honour went to Jenny Gould and ‘Ob Ch Zakanja Little Creature’, described as an ‘Awesome’ team.
Sunday 12 October and a journey across to Shotton in Flintshire for the Cheshire DTA show, judges were greeted on arrival with a hot drink and a bacon butty which was most welcome as the day had started with a sharp frost, a reminder no doubt that winter is coming. The working surface is lovely at this ground, with plenty of space around the rings. For the handlers there are plenty of dog walks in the area and a comfortable bar to warm up in afterwards.
Judging the Dog ticket was Bev Hughes and Mary Ray and ‘Ob Ch Colliewood Blue Jeans’, who were consistently accurate with very few minor errors, won her top spot. Sarah Jane Campbell was in charge of the Bitch ring and her winner was a delighted Lisa Brannan with ‘Moakies Mystical Moment’, who worked in ‘complete harmony’, this win making ‘Trixie’ up into an Obedience Champion.
Saturday 18 October and the penultimate ticket show of the season at the Ardingly Showground in West Sussex for the East Grinstead & District DTC show. Unusually for this time of year the weather held mild and sunny with no sign of the rain clouds that often accompany this show. This was the first year that Bill Larkin had taken on the running of the show and he and his team certainly carried on with the high standard that had been achieved previously. Ann Northfield judged the Dog ticket and her winner was Mary Ray and ‘Ob Ch Colliewood Blue Jeans’, dog and handler barely putting a foot wrong, this being their second win in two weeks. Joe Northfield was in charge of the Bitch ticket and Pat Watson with ‘Ob Ch Forever Magic It’s Flicker’ won his top honour, another team who make the ticket round look easy.
So to the last Championship show of the year and on Saturday 25 October the teams make the journey back down to the Ardingly Showground for the Tunbridge Wells and District CS show. Jenny Lunn and her team work hard to keep this show in the diary, an expensive venue but with so few suitable venues to be had at this time of year, both East Grinstead and Tunbridge need competitors to support them with their entries.
Judging the Bitch ticket today was Pat Batchelor and after so many ‘If’ Only’s’ this season Jodi Lunn and ‘Longhalves Fast N Furious’ took the top spot. Described by many who saw the round as ‘stunning’ and by the judge as ‘the round delivered was as close to perfect as I have seen’. Janet Oliver was judging the Dog Ticket and her winner was Mary Ray and ‘Ob Ch Colliewood Blue Jeans’, their third win in as many weeks and the round was described as ‘simply amazing’.
This win taking Mary and Levi’s total of Ticket wins this season to 13, a well-deserved record-breaking achievement from this pair.
So that’s it, until crufts 2015, when we will once again see the best teams that our sport has to offer strutting their stuff on the green carpet, old favourites will be there as well as those with newly made up Champions and a few new teams that might just surprise us all.