Judge: Alan Gresty
I would like to thank the Kennel Cub for the invitation to judge the 2017 Crufts Obedience Championships. This is the crowning event of the obedience calendar and I feel honoured and privileged to have judged some of the best obedience dogs in the country. Thank you to Richard Kebble and Steve Rutter for all your efforts and support in the run up to, and during Crufts, a lot of work gentlemen and much appreciated, also my thanks to Gerrard Paisley ‘the master of the mike’. Great job Gerrard.
To facilitate judging the Championships required the help and support of eight wonderful people who were absolutely amazing. They have given up so much of their time with meetings, practising, living and breathing Crufts over many, many months through all types of weather, but we have had some great times, with a lot of laughs along the way. No words can express my thanks to you all. My ring steward for both days was Paul Evans who skilfully guided teams through the test, Tina Kimblin was the pencil by my side, again for both days, Alison my lovely wife was in charge of the collecting ring, with Gwyneth Williams in full support, Stephanie Evans was in charge of the retrieves, and Stewart Kimblin was busy running to and fro with the scores. Jan Tootall was in charge of the scoreboard, and watching over us all with his meticulous eye was Keith Wall our ring Manager. What a team they ran the whole show like clockwork.
Normally I wouldn’t single out any individual but I must on this occasion Pick out Paul for a special mention as its just 12 months since his terrible illness. He insisted that he was still going to be on the team and his determination to be with us at Crufts was just incredible and it was a very emotional moment for Paul and indeed all of us when he walked out on to that green carpet. Thank you must also go to Lou Jackson, Lyn Tozer, Malcolm Webster, Shirley Owens and Jane Levell for walking the round many times for us, and Emma Lavender, Rachel Cudworth and Shirley once again for doing the rehearsal on Friday evening. Final thank you to Rachel Birchall and Emma Hughes for volunteering on the last minute to double as handlers for the Arena Demonstration.
I set a test which I hoped would be both interesting for Handlers and spectators alike. The heel work course was not over long but was designed to be testing for dog and handler and demanded the highest level of team work. Crufts however is a unique show and as such always has many variants for dogs and indeed handlers to navigate, and of course some can handle this better than others. Most coped admirably with the test with some superb teams coming to the fore and some letting nerves get the better of them. The dogs on Saturday, all executed the Sendaway without any difficulty, and there were four teams who missed a position in ASSD, all teams successfully completed Distant Control. Scent took its toll with 7 dogs failing. The Bitches on Sunday were a little more unsettled possibly because the handlers seemed in general to be more nervous. The Sendaway was more problematic, two teams missed positions in DC and 5 missed a position in ASSD. Once again scent took its toll with 5 failing. All of you should be proud of what you and your dogs have achieved at Crufts this year and from myself and the team we wish you all the very best of luck for the coming season. Now the results.
The Crufts Dog Champion 2017 is:
1 st and CC. Ria McGovern and Ob Ch BECKIM SURPRISE SURPRISE Ria and Vito treated us to a stunning display of Style accuracy and teamwork. The heel work was exceptional maintaining his position consistently throughout the test, the retrieve sendaway and distant control all but perfection, just everything I was looking for. Revel in the glory as Crufts 2017 Champion Ria you so deserve it.
Reserve CC. Geraldine Steadman and Ob Ch NOBITE DEFENCE OF THE REALM Another fabulous round from Geraldine and Jazz, belying his age at almost 12 years young they produced some wonderful heel work losing the same marks as the winner. The sendaway was perfection, only the retrieve letting you down a little today. Once again this was teamwork at its best. Many congratulations Geraldine you must be so proud.
3rd Mary Ray and Ob Ch COLLIEWOOD BLUE JEANS Once again at almost 12 years old Levi still able to produce the goods. Mary’s handling was excellent giving nothing away. The heel work flowed with style and accuracy, the set exercises completed effortlessly. Fabulous Mary I congratulate you.
4th Jackie Duck and Ob Ch TYEFOLD XANDER Jackie and Tizer flowed effortlessly round the ring today the heel work was delightful to watch, and again Jackie’s handling was excellent. Tizer’s recall from the sendaway brought a smile to all our faces but was a tad expensive. I know how pleased you were with him Jackie and rightly so. Many congratulations.
5th Margaret Pinder and Ob Ch FELLAMEEKA DIAMOND GEYSER A super round from Raffles and Margaret, he seems to love it at Crufts and he certainly turned on the power today. Great team effort and fabulous set exercises. You must be so pleased with him Margaret and he still has many years ahead. Congratulations to you both.
6th Janet Bates and Ob Ch BLUEFIZZ TAIKA CHANCE ON ME What a fabulous way to end a glittering career with some breathtaking heel work,exuberant retrieve, his trademark sendaway and Dallas’s ability to make people smile. I love him and will miss watching him. May he have a long and happy retirement. Many congratulations.
. I would like to finish by commenting on two quality rounds both of which could possibly have been in the lineup. One being Sue King and Nifty who produced a fabulous round on Saturday, and on bitch day Caroline Eley and Tangle producing some stunning work. Both teams competing for the first time at Crufts. Alas both failing scent. Scent did play havoc over the two days, maybe we could put it down to the air con which kicked in around stay time on both days and remained on throughout scent and the air was moving quite fast. Having said that I think we should all be used to working in windy conditions ‘this is the UK’.