What an amazing line-up will greet Crufts best in show judge Jack Bispham this evening – and there is still one more finalist yet to be decided, today’s gundog group winner.
From the first day we have Frank Kane’s choice to head the working group, Robert and Donna Taylor’s homebred Rottweiler male Ch Minaelea’s Black Mambo. Top male in the breed last year, he is a combination of Serbian and British lines.
Also from Thursday, Valerie Foss’ selection from the pastoral group was the pastoral group was the Samoyed Ch Nikara Diamond Dancer, owned by Sue Smith (handler) and Val Freer (breeder). A past winner of the Junior Warrant final at Crufts (his son was runner-up this time), he won two BIS awards during 2013, at City of Birmingham and LKA. He is by a Canadian-bred male ex a British bitch.
Belgium may not be Europe’s hugest country but she dominated proceedings on Friday, both group winners being bred and owned there.
In the terrier group Gerrard Morris chose the Wire Fox Ch Kingarthur van Foliny Home, bred and owned by Rony and Dieny deMunter-Uiterwijk, who last year bred the Lakeland who was G2. He was handled by Warren Bradley from Wales and in the breed had beaten ten-times BIS winner Ch Travella Striking Steel. Last year he was BIS at the WFT Association centenary show. He combines Swedish, UK and Belgian lines.
Best hound under Michael Quinney was the Irish Wolfhound Ger/Bel/Dutch/Lux Ch Just In Time of First Avenue, owned by Gary Janssens and bred by Regina Vandamme. As with the Wire’s breeders, their Wolfhounds have been very influential throughout Europe and beyond. His breeding carries Belgian, Dutch and American heritage.
On Saturday Ken Sinclair gave the utility group to Jason Lynn and John and Sandra Stone’s Standard Poodle Ch/Am Ch Afterglow Maverick Sabre, a multiple BIS winner in the UK during 2013 who ended up Top Dog all breeds, as well as winning the Eukanuba International Challenge in Florida. Bred by Jason with Mike Gadsby, whose dogs have twice won RBIS at Crufts, he traces back on both sides to the 1989 runner-up Ch/Am Ch Afterglow The Big Tease. His pedigree is mainly British with a touch of Spanish.
Renée Sporre-Willes from Sweden became the first woman from overseas to judge a Crufts group. Her choice for best toy was the Pomeranian from Poland, Int/Pol/Hung Ch Unbeaten Premiera, bred and owned by Bożena Borkowska-Grochala, from a mixture of Thai, Russian, Canadian and American lines. He is a BIS winner in Europe.
So, a thrilling and cosmopolitan line-up so far. Who will Penny Williams choose in the gundog group tonight? And who will be Jack Bispham’s selection for the most coveted award in the world of dogs? Watch this space!