Looking forward to the Obedience Championships 2015

By: Gemma Henshaw

With more and more people using the media of Facebook we are getting a great insight into the pre Crufts preparation of many of the teams lucky enough to be gracing the green carpet this year, whether it be the pre show training, new bling dog collars and leads or outfit buying and new hair do’s, it all adds to the building of excitement for Crufts 2015.

So before we all make the journey to Birmingham time to reflect on some of the teams who have made it through to the Obedience Championships.

We have a total of 24 teams qualified through in the Bitch Championship day, a couple more than last year, but a few less in the Dog Championships, 19 this year compared to 23 last year.

The top winning partnership in the dog ticket class, for the third year running, was Mary Ray with ‘Ob Ch Colliewood Blue Jeans’ gaining a total of 13 tickets in 2014, a record breaking year for this team. Mary and Levi have had an amazing few years at the very top of the sport and they must have a very good chance of being at the top again at this years Crufts.

In the bitch ticket class there were two teams who tied for the top winning partnership with 5 tickets wins apiece, Kathy Russell with ‘Ob & Wt Ch Ruskath Othentic Image Tdex’ this dog being summed up perfectly by judge Dave Banks, whom she won under at Knightswood, as ‘the steam train hits top gear again’, and this was their second ticket win in just two days. Sharing the top spot is Linda Rutherford with ‘Ob Ch Colliewood Confidential’ winning one of their tickets under judge Michelle Newman at Halstead and Michelle described the dog as working with ‘commitment, style, enthusiasm and a will to please’ what more could you ask for.

Due to judging the World Cup Competition at Crufts this year we will not see Kathy Russell and her beautiful dogs gracing the green carpet but wish Kathy all the best for the Sunday and look forward to seeing her back at the Championships in 2016.

Bitch Championship

There are four teams gracing the green carpet this year as new Obedience Champions. Linda Rutherford with Ob Ch Lupitoonz Limelite who gained their title by winning Crufts 2014 and then went on to add two more wins at Waldridge Fell and East Kilbride, Linda always managing to bring out the best in her dogs at this championship, this year should be no exception with three dogs competing over the two days.  Back in the sport after a break is Anne Northfield with Ob Ch Iatka Star Performer, who won their title at Rugby in May under judge Roger Gunby who said ‘they had the best heelwork of the day’.

Jane Moran with Ob Ch Dusters Done ‘N’ Dusted had a good year starting with a win at Winchester and then the coveted third win at the Welsh KC with a round described as with ‘style, accuracy and natural clean handling. A team who started their journey to the championships by winning their first ticket at Leicester were Lisa Brannan and Ob Ch Moakies Mystical Moment, they went on to secure another win at Chadkirk and finally earned their title with a win at Cheshire, this team described as working with confidence and commitment.

Throughout last year there were some very good teams who gained their first ever ticket win and passport through to Crufts. Among these was Lyn Collins with ‘Gypton Just A Genius’ a bitch that works with stylish and attractive heelwork and usually puts in a very strong performance on the set exercises. A delighted June Stenning with ‘Iatka Starshine’ won the ticket at Eastleigh under judge Sandy Wadhams, this team always working with absolute commitment to the job at hand.

This year we also have our very first competitor from Germany gracing the green carpet, Dominique Fickek with her super border collie ‘De Risan Extra Hot’ who gained their win under judge Jenny Lunn, Dominique has worked at Crufts before as a member of the Germany World Cup team and should certainly give a good show.  One team to look out for is Jenny Gould and her GSD‘Ob Ch Zakanja Little Creature’, a powerhouse of a team, the dog being described by judge Wendy Haggar, who gave them their first win of the year at Newmarket, as a ‘ginger ferrari’. They went on to win another ticket at Thurrock towards the end of the year, and are certainly a team that people stand and watch.

Back this year is Madge Thompson with ‘Ob Ch Forever Magic It’s Trendy’, with Trendy now recovered from a very bad injury and a long lay off the team won their two tickets on consecutive weekends, the first at the GSD Club of Wales and then at Elm Park under judge Roy Neal who described the heelwork as flowing and the ring work topped off with very well executed sets. Previous winners of the Crufts title in 2013 they have every possibility of being up at the top again this year.

Another Crufts favourite is the team of Dot Watts and ‘Ob Ch Zygdann Rockin Frenzi’, starting the year off with a 5th place at Crufts they then won another three tickets during the year. Dot is a master at this sport and with a dog that just keeps getting better who can rule out another top place for this team.  A team who won two tickets in 2014 and received glowing reports from the judges was Mary Vessey with ‘Ob Ch Fenellark Charleston’, their first win under Rob Bint at Birmingham & District GSD was described as ‘ a very polished round, the dog showing knowledge in her work’ and their second win under Gerard Paisley was performed with ‘accuracy and smoothness throughout’, could this be Mary’s year?

Dog Championship

As with the bitch ticket there are four teams competing at Crufts this year as new Obedience Champions. Linda Rutherford with ‘Ob Ch Sixela Rumr Has It’ earned their title with a win at Knightswood under judge Sharon Dunstan, they then had a successful year going on to win a further three tickets at Lisburn (NI) Hatchford Brook and Govan, a young dog really getting into his stride showing much promise to come. Lorna Hilton with ‘Ob Ch Jupavia Magic Dreams’ won their third ticket and Obedience Champion title at North West Kent and then topped it off with a win at Cambridge, their work being described as a harmonious display, honest and powerful.

Dot Watts with ‘Ob Ch Ziggdann Zyco’ won the ticket class at Wakefield then went on to gain their title with a win under judge Keith Gwilliam at Thames; they finished off the year with a win at Elm Park. This dog’s work has been greatly admired through the year and as one judge put it ‘ I think Zyco is going to be a big player in the future’, something most of us would probably agree with.  Kath Westell had a very up and down year and spent quite a large part of it recovering from injury/operation, so Michelle Newman took on the entries for Kath’s ‘Ob Ch Coriecollies Jetsetter For Kajo’ and she certainly did them all proud, the team putting it together and winning at Thurrock under judge Ian Watts

There just three teams who gained their first ever ticket win and passport to crufts in 2014. Andrea Little with ‘Borderlair Aerodynamic’ won under judge Steve Rutter at the Scottish KC show. Steve stating that this team will be one to be reckoned with for quite a few years. This team have been there or thereabouts for a while with the dog often throwing a ‘silly’ in just to amuse his mum! But they now have the green carpet firmly in their sights. Margaret Ward with ‘Fellameeka Diamond Geyser’ won at Redcar under judge Kathleen Hood who liked the confident handling and the instant response from the dog on each command. Many of the judge’s reports for this team say how lovely and exuberant the dog is and Margaret’s calm, no fuss handling gets the best from him.

Paul Cook with his GR ‘Dunburgh Fun Lovin Criminal’ won many plaudits for their win at Burnbank under judge Sue Howell, the team being described by some who saw the round as in total unison throughout. A dog whose maturity is showing through in the sheer consistency of his work. Another team who are quite a powerful force in this sport is Gill Winyard and ‘Ob Ch Jonjosam Drunken Duncan’, accumulating a total of four ticket wins in 2014 starting at Midlands BCC, then Rugby, Petersfield and Halstead. Some of the highlights from their show reports are ‘heelwork to die for’, ‘pure perfection and teamwork at its best’ and ‘power, drive and accuracy’, with write ups like that this must surely be a team who are more than capable of being in the final line up at Crufts.

Janet Bates and ‘Ob Ch Bluefizz Taika Chance On Me’ are a very popular team at Crufts; they gained three ticket wins in 2014, at Surrey, Cippenham and Woburn. A real little powerhouse of a dog whose heelwork always appears to be effortless and he certainly seems to enjoy his work, a real crowd pleaser. Jessica Lewis is also back this year with both her dogs earning their tickets to the Championships. Her GR‘Ob Ch Pepsanner Atlantic’ was placed 3rd at Crufts 2014 and then went on have a very good  year with wins at the Welsh KC, Coventry and BAGSD, Judge Roy Bland said that they gave a beautiful display of precision in their round. Jessica’s other dog ‘Ob Ch Colliewood Casanova’ won his ticket at East Kilbride under judge Alison Gresty who said that Jessica’s calm and quiet handling bought out the best in the dog.

Another team who were placed at last years Crufts was Janet Matthews with ‘Ob Ch Croftmist River Of Krismoss’ and they sealed their place at this years event with wins at Prestwick and Chadkirk where judge Marie Cartwright described the dog as giving ‘a magnificent display of power, style and control. They have been knocking on the door at crufts so maybe this year might see them take the top spot.

To close we would like to wish all the competitors Good Luck at Crufts 2015.

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