Crufts Clumber confusion in Croatia by Andrew Brace
There was understandable excitement in Split when Lana Levai brought along to the Friday show the Kennel Club challenge certificate that her Crufts BOB winning Clumber Spaniel had won in Dortmund along with the official confirmation of her show champion title. This was signed by Caroline Kisko and dated May 11, 2012. There was speculation as to why the KC had apparently had a change of heart; possibly because, as the German Kennel Club refused to countenance the requested veterinary checks in Dortmund, the legal boffins in Clarges Street had realised that they were actually in breach of their own contract with the exhibitor. But in my opinion offering CCs in Dortmund in the first place was as daft as implementing veterinary checks on BOB winners.
Anyhow, many of us shared in Lana’s joy and later the next morning I got to work on a press release on behalf of the Canine Alliance, getting it out to other members of the steering group for their approval and then sent to the canine press.
The euphoria was of course short-lived. As many of us had privately suspected, the show championship confirmation had been automatically generated and Caroline Kisko (whose signature appears on the certificate) claimed to know nothing about it.
The next move in this unprecedented Clarges Street cock-up was, having obtained her email address from Dog World, to get one Yvette Prosser to mail Lana Levai on July 30 claiming that "Unfortunately, the recent show champion certificate, which was sent to you following the German and British Dog Festival Celebrating British Breeds show, has been mistakenly issued following an IT system error. Please accept my apologies for the disappointment this will have caused.” This ill-timed and ill-worded letter continued, "As you are aware, before a high-profile breed can be confirmed as a show champion, the dog must pass a veterinary check; a requirement your dog has not yet met. We are unable to issue confirmation of your dog’s show champion status until your dog has passed the necessary veterinary check. We hope that the enclosed information guide will assist you with the procedure for veterinary checks.”
Unbelievably it ends by saying, "I apologise once again for any inconvenience and disappointment this error has caused.”
Obviously Lana Levai will not let matters rest here.
The last two days of the Split Summer Night shows continued to be enjoyed by exhibitors and judges alike.
The finals on the last night are always spectacular and after all the day’s major competitions, Ante Lucin – not only show organiser extraordinaire but also main ring commentator – introduced Supreme BIS judge Hiroshi Kamisato who was led into the ring by a suitably attired guard of honour.
He was obviously pleased with the four dogs that awaited him – the Chow Chow, Deerhound, Maltese and English Springer Spaniel. After working all four extensively he struggled to pick up the massive trophy which was presented to Vibe Borregaard Badsen from Denmark with her English Springer. The Sieger’s kennel is long established and Vibe was born into the sport, her parents Kaj and Jessie founding the kennel that, among other major successes, won BOB at Crufts when Ann Corbett judged the breed.
The shows over, we returned to the Villa Dvor to unwind over a drink and both Hiroshi Kamisato and Sean Delmar proved what wonderful singing voices they have. Everyone could have a lie-in on Monday as the boat trip for judges, helpers and long distance exhibitors was not until four in the afternoon. We visited the island of Brac where we moored and all enjoyed some delicious food and wine before heading for home under the most dramatic sunset.
These four shows have become something of a legend in the dog showing calendar – popular with exhibitors and judges alike – and the hard work put in by Ante Lucin and his entire team is very much appreciated by all.
The Split experience passed all too quickly and on Tuesday I left for Gatwick, collected my car and drove up to Heathrow where I spent the night at an airport hotel in readiness for an early flight the next morning to Cleveland Ohio via Detroit to judge at the Steel Valley Cluster of shows.