Judge: Claire Coughlan-Khan
Held in the Obedience Ring, Hall 5, on Thursday 9th March 2017
Jade Ingram – Scribe Steward, Michelle Rodgers – Scribe Steward, Linda Bates – Score Steward, Rachel Bradley – Score Steward, Simonetta Bonanni – Ring Steward, Flo Williams – Collecting Ring Steward, Richard Hoare – Equipment Steward, John Khan – Equipment Steward
Regions and their Team Managers, in running order:
Northern Ireland (incorporating Isle of Man), led by Rachel Cooper, Midlands, led by Julia Bodsworth, Scotland, led by Elaine Miller, North, led by Julie Barrett, Wales, led by Margaret Booth, South & South West, led by Jenny Butters, South East & East Anglia, led by Susan Coulstock
Rally is still fairly new to The Kennel Club’s portfolio of working activities, having been in operation since the latter end of 2012 and launched officially with displays at Crufts 2013. It is derived from elements of Competitive Obedience, mixed with skills from various other disciplines – such as Working Trials, Agility, Heelwork to Music and Breed Showing. Rally is continually gaining in popularity, for several reasons, however I feel one of the main ones is due to the inclusive nature of this sport. Rally is suitable for every breed, age, shape and size of dog therefore you see a wide variety at each competition.
With regard to scoring, each dog and handler team starts with 200 points and faults incurred throughout a course results in increments of 1, 2, 3 or 5 points. If the handler chooses to attempt the Bonus exercise, they could receive up to an extra 10 points. For the Rally competition at Crufts the Bonus exercise was compulsory, therefore each partnership could gain a maximum of 210 points.
Each round is timed, from Start to Finish, however the Bonus Exercise is not included in the timing. In the event that more than one team gains the same score, the team that has completed the course in the shortest amount of time achieves the higher place.
I was extremely honoured to be asked to judge the inaugural Inter-Regional Rally Competition at Crufts 2017 and would like to thank the Crufts Committee for the invitation.
My thanks must also go to Sue Garner, Event Coordinator, and to Richard Kebble, Chief Obedience Steward, and Steve Rutter, Assistant Obedience Steward, for all their guidance and help in the lead up to the event and during the day itself.
It was my absolute pleasure to judge 49 dogs last Thursday (9th March), these being from 7 regions of the UK, 14 dogs at Level 2 and 7 dogs at Levels 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
I was very impressed with all the teams the overall standard was high and I was delighted to see such a variety of breeds on display and how supportive everyone was towards one another – just what Rally is known for.
Christine Carleton started the whole competition, representing Northern Ireland and Isle of Man, working her Crossbreed, Jester Jack. They achieved a very creditable score of 183.
A German Shepherd Dog, Sita of India, was next to work for the Midlands with handler Bhavnesh Patel. Their final score was 195, which they should be proud of.
195 was also the score for the first Scottish competitor, Deirdre Munro, with her Patterdale Terrier, Roxy Sox. Their round was slightly slower than the above dog, however they should be very pleased with their performance.
The North sent forward Sarah Stridgeon with her Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Aqua Boy Neo, who put in a very strong attempt and achieved 204, which resulted in 2nd place individually. Lovely team.
Competing for Wales was Linda Thomas with Shelwyck Jiggery Pokery At Hilbeaglin, a Beagle, who worked brilliantly, achieved an excellent score of 205 and a well-deserved 1st place.
South & South West was represented by Marilyn Adams and her Shetland Sheepdog, Keltihope Miss March, who again lost very little and ended with 201 points and 3rd place.
The final competitor at this level was Sam Savory with her Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Alliance De La Vie Rabbit Racer of Katimba, for South East & East Anglia. They finished with 198 and 4th place.
N Ireland & IOM submitted a Spanish Water Dog, Int Ch Ir Sh Ch FiveNinePlus Puntillitas, handled by Adrian Dornford-Smith, who kicked off our Level 2 competition with a good score of 185.
They were followed by the Midlands competitor, Moira Homer, handling her Working Bearded Collie Crossbreed, Phoebe Fanakapan. Sadly this dog was somewhat distracted by the audience at the beginning of her round, however she improved as the course progressed and turned in a very good score of 192.
Scotland was represented by a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Fallowfen’s Silver Cairn, worked by Janet Young. A well performed Bonus exercise meant their final score was 199.
A Utonagan, Donehogawa Incantations of the Heart RL2Ex, with handler Jackie Bird, came in next for the North. The Call Front Forward Right station cost them two-thirds of the overall points lost, which was a real shame, however they should still be proud of their final score of 198.
Our next competitor was the Belgian Shepherd (Malinois), Cytas Aiming For The Top, with handler Yvonne Davies, for Wales. They certainly did aim for the top and produced a score of 204 and 2nd place. Well done!
South & S West Sam Kable. She wasn’t any trouble on Thursday and managed a very creditable 199.
Finuala Barnes with her Welsh Springer Spaniel, Islemoor Ruby Tuesday with Barhi, competed for SE & E Anglia. Two occasions where 5 points were deducted meant their final score was 190, however this is still a pleasing result.
Level 2 provided two opportunities for Team Managers, so onto the second pass.
N Ireland & IOM’s second competitor at this level was the Bulldog, Ir Ch Harlewood Snowflake, with her owner Patricia Page. Although it was lovely to see a Bulldog appearing in the ring, I think she was feeling the heat and was determined to undertake the whole course at a very sedate pace! A good Bonus exercise meant they managed a final score of 182.
Next into the ring, representing the Midlands, was Vicky Brown with her Border Collie, Hollysea at Crickhollow. They produced an excellent score of 206 and 1st place. I understand this dog has now been retired, following his achievement. Congratulations and a happy retirement to you!
Scotland submitted a Toy Poodle, Almarshields Toffee Apple, with handler Emma Hunter. What an adorable dog this was, however she was rather distracted by the audience looking at her! This team finished with a good score of 184.
Margaret Pennington with her German Shepherd Dog, Foxfold Saracen RL1Ex, followed next for the North. The majority of marks lost here were for the dog being slightly out of position, however they again completed their turn with a very good total of 193.
Originally from Sweden, now resident in Wales, the next handler was Sofia Gilljam and her Cirneco dell’Etna, Solkungen Knott. I must say this is the best performing dog I’ve seen of this breed, which shows in their score of 199 and 4th place.
S & S West sent a Golden Retriever, Auchencloch Fable, handled by Edith Kreutner, who is originally from Austria. Handler error on the Bonus cost this team an important number of points, however I loved the working drive from this dog and was pleased to award them a score of 202 and 3rd place.
The Shetland Sheepdog, Sheltysham Miss Mayhem, with handler Vanessa Hardin represented S East & E Anglia. This little dog also seemed quite distracted by the audience, but clocked up a good score of 189.
Lesley Clements with her Portuguese Water Dog, Grandways Bica, really enjoyed themselves representing N Ireland & IOM. Bica was loving the audience attention! Their score was 155.
The Pomeranian, Caramel Fudge of Skipaway, owned by Julia Skipp, put in a good attempt and finished with 196 for the Midlands.
14-year-old Megan Watson, for Scotland, handled her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Princess Coppertop, very well. Together they achieved 197 and 4th place.
The North submitted a Toy Poodle, Miralyn Ruadh at Tramarllan RL3, owned by Marion Proctor. This 13-year-old dog really enjoyed her time on the green carpet and they gained 180 points.
Chrissy Harrison, of Wales, handled the Crossbreed, X Factor Jenna At Pashamatts. A beautiful round and clear Bonus left me very little to mark, resulting in a score of 206 and 1st place. Congratulations!
S & S West competitor, Kathy Williams, worked her Beauceron, Ame Magnanime Didier De Titan, to a successful 3rd place with 199 points.
Shetland Sheepdog, Myndoc Monkey Puzzle, handled by Hazel Hicks, put in a very good round for S East & E Anglia. This meant a score of 201 and 2nd place.
Border Collie, Terranos Never Ending Story, worked by Carole Lewin, for N Ireland & IOM. Had they completed the jump, it would have meant a win. Still, a very successful day for them with 197 and 2nd place.
Pepsanner Palatine, Golden Retriever, handled by Jane Barstow for the Midlands, seemed to be feeling the heat today. He did a lovely jump, however, and finished with a good score of 186.
Scotland’s Amy Jackson worked her Crossbreed, In A Minute Jess, to a score of 165. This young YKC handler had qualified for several other disciplines at Crufts with her lovely dog and should be applauded. Well done, Amy and Jess, keep up the good work!
Janice Jackson competed for the North with her Working Bearded Collie, Choxxstart Barney T’rouble RL3Ex, and put in a very pleasing round, finishing with 192 and 4th place.
Bubba Always Remember Pasha, Working Sheepdog, handled by Katy Girdler, came in next for Wales. I spent the first three quarters of this round with nothing to mark, however Bubba was rather too keen on the Finish part of his Bonus and barged through one of the sign holders. Beautiful display of Rally, which resulted in 1st place with 200 points. Congratulations!
German Shepherd Dog, MagicMapps Thunder Storm, with Caroline Makkai, competed for S & S West. Didn’t manage the jump, but otherwise made very few errors and achieved 195 and 3rd place.
S East & E Anglia put forward Katmistsky’s Soul Dream, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, with Melanie Davies. Good round and successful jump meant they achieved a score of 190.
Debbie Martin, representing N Ireland & IOM, brought in her Crossbreed, Mannanan’s Pure Genius. He was rather excitable for the first couple of stations, but soon settled and produced a lovely round to gain a score of 196 and 3rd place.
The Midlands was represented by Peta Braddock and her Working Sheepdog, Don’t Touch The Tail. This team performed very well indeed, including a clear Bonus, and should be delighted with their result of 203 and 2nd place.
Celtacastus Magic Delight, German Shepherd Dog, came in for Scotland with Jamie Dryburgh. This dog was very excited to be taking part, which resulted in two sessions of prolonged barking. I must mention that I was extremely impressed at the way this handler calmly kept his composure, waited for the dog to settle, then continued. The mark of an excellent handler, well done. They scored 186.
Chinese Crested (Powder Puff), Salmoncrest Photoshoot at Tramarllan RL5, handled by Tracey McGowan, worked next for the North. This little dog didn’t fancy jumping or waiting without her handler today, however they still achieved a creditable score of 181.
Jackie Travis Spencer, for Wales, worked her Crossbreed, The Artful Bodger. The Moving Stand, Turn and Call to Heel exercise took the majority of marks, leaving them on 191 points.
S & S West submitted a Miniature Pinscher, Allanabru Awesome in Amber, and her handler, Ruth Allingham. They certainly were awesome and I was delighted to award them 1st place with 205. Many congratulations!
Finally for Level 5, we had Jenny Morris with her Border Collie, Blackrobin Bob the Builder, representing S East & E Anglia. The Down on Recall was expensive, however a very good finishing score of 192 and 4th place.
Karen Westcott worked first with her Border Collie, Bordermann Mananan’s Maiden, for N Ireland & IOM. Very few errors here, resulting in a score of 199 and 3rd place.
The Midlands put forward Sue Cotton with her Golden Retriever, Wild Foggy Marsh. Only two minor errors and a clear Bonus secured this team a fantastic 1st place, with 208. One word: wow!
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Erikachen Lasadoir, with Sally Sanford, worked next for Scotland. Again, a stunning round and you should be so proud. It was so very close at the top today. Scored 207 and 2nd place.
The North sent Angela Wilson with her Welsh Springer Spaniel, Oxhayes Rich Flower RL6Ex, who produced a very good round and finished with 198 and 4th place.
Nikki Kirk handled her Working Sheepdog, Solindy Smokie Hue Of The Cut, for Wales. It’s fair to say that this team put their own interpretation on my course (!), but, as ever, their infectious working enthusiasm shone through and gained them 185.
Border Collie, Cocobola Saffron, handled by Pauline Chadwick, came in next for S & S West. They enjoyed themselves and a clear Bonus secured them a final result of 180.
Our last dog of the competition was Mountlochan Chanonry Lad, Border Collie, with his owner Christine Clements, representing S East & E Anglia. This team always enjoy their Rally and today was no exception, resulting in their score of 189.
I must note that the Level 6 standard was very high and I would like thank all the teams for showcasing the highest level of our sport so well.
Congratulations to all competitors and their dogs for taking part, joining in with great sportsmanship and accepting my judging decisions with good grace.
1st Linda Thomas with Shelwyck Jiggery Pokery At Hilbeaglin, Beagle, Wales
2nd Sarah Stridgeon with Aqua Boy Neo, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, North
3rd Marilyn Adams with Keltihope Miss March, Shetland Sheepdog, South & South West
4th Sam Savory with Alliance De La Vie Rabbit Racer of Katimba, NSDTR, South East & East Anglia
1st Vicky Brown with Hollysea at Crickhollow, Border Collie, Midlands
2nd Yvonne Davies with Cytas Aiming For The Top, BSD (Malinois), Wales
3rd Edith Kreutner with Auchencloch Fable, Golden Retriever, South & South West
4th Sofia Gilljam with Solkungen Knott, Cirneco dell’Etna, Wales
1st Chrissy Harrison with X Factor Jenna At Pashamatts, Crossbreed, Wales
2nd Hazel Hicks with Myndoc Monkey Puzzle, Shetland Sheepdog, South East & East Anglia
3rd Kathy Williams with Ame Magnanime Didier De Titan, Beauceron, South & South West
4th Megan Watson with Princess Coppertop, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Scotland
1st Katy Girdler with Bubba Always Remember Pasha, Working Sheepdog, Wales
2nd Carole Lewin with Terranos Never Ending Story, Border Collie, Northern Ireland & Isle of Man
3rd Caroline Makkai with MagicMapps Thunder Storm, German Shepherd Dog, South & South West
4th Janice Jackson with Choxxstart Barney T’rouble RL3Ex, Working Bearded Collie, North
1st Ruth Allingham with Allanabru Awesome in Amber, Miniature Pinscher, South & South West
2nd Peta Braddock with Don’t Touch The Tail, Working Sheepdog, Midlands
3rd Debbie Martin with Mannanan’s Pure Genius, Crossbreed, Northern Ireland & Isle of Man
4th Jenny Morris with Blackrobin Bob the Builder, Border Collie, South East & East Anglia
1st Sue Cotton with Wild Foggy Marsh, Golden Retriever, Midlands
2nd Sally Sanford with Erikachen Lasadoir, NSDTR, Scotland
3rd Karen Westcott with Bordermann Mananan’s Maiden, Border Collie, Northern Ireland & Isle of Man
4th Angela Wilson with Oxhayes Rich Flower RL6Ex, Welsh Springer Spaniel, North
2nd South & South West
4th South East & East Anglia
I would like to end with some personal thanks, firstly to the commentators for this event, Gerard Paisley and Jane Prince. I know, from personal experience, this is not an easy task and they coped with this first competition very well.
To all the Team Managers and their Assistants, thank you for the good-natured support you showed to the other teams and for entering into the spirit of the day.
My ring party were absolutely amazing, so organised, supportive and helpful towards me. Thank you all so much and I’m glad we were able to make history together.
To my parents and my wonderful husband, John, who have lived through the last few months of preparation and have done everything they can to enable me to enjoy my judging appointment and fulfil it to the best of my ability. I can’t thank you enough and was so pleased you were all able to share my day.
My parents have been instrumental in the foundation of my ‘dog life’ and I am proud to continue our shared passion and make it my career. I am fortunate to have worked with several fantastic mentors, however I would like to mention the late Mrs Meriel Hathaway (Melfricka), who was my Midlands Regional Manager when I was part of the Kennel Club Junior Organisation. I still the advice she gave me and will be forever grateful for the opportunities she afforded me.
Finally, I would like to thank my friends in Rally. We enjoy a wonderful, supportive, community in our sport and I am incredibly proud to have represented you all in this way.