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Saturday, 01 February 2020

Eukanuba Finals 2020

Featured Written by Our Dogs - Kerry Rushby
The winner of the Champion Stakes Final, judged by Dr Ron James was the Australian Shepherd, AKC ASCA UK Ch Wyndstar Magic Marker (Imp USA) owned by Kerry Kirtley (breeder), Dori Erdesz, John Shaw and Melanie Raymond (handling). The winner of the Champion Stakes Final, judged by Dr Ron James was the Australian Shepherd, AKC ASCA UK Ch Wyndstar Magic Marker (Imp USA) owned by Kerry Kirtley (breeder), Dori Erdesz, John Shaw and Melanie Raymond (handling). Photos: Lisa Croft-Elliott

The winner of the Champion Stakes Final, judged by Dr Ron James was the Australian Shepherd, AKC ASCA UK Ch Wyndstar Magic Marker (Imp USA) owned by Kerry Kirtley (breeder), Dori Erdesz, John Shaw and Melanie Raymond (handling).

The winner of the Pup of the Year Final judged by Paul Eardley, was the Pointer, Joneva Born To Thrill, owned by Master Samuel Jack Layton and handled by Helen Howard.

Champion Stakes and Pup of the Year Finals

In 2008 the very first Eukanuba finals took place in the UK, bringing together the finalists whom compete at General Championship shows during the year. Each show finalist then competes against around twenty other finalists, for the coveted title of ‘Eukanuba Champion/Puppy Stakes Winner.

It is no easy competition for the exhibitors, and certainly no easy task for judges at each of the general championship shows to send finalists through, from some excellent competitors, some of who are breed record holders, group winners and Best in Show all breed winners.

The Puppy final was scheduled for a 3pm start. Ring stewards Ann Bliss and Ernie Paterson requested that all spectators move in to the room and be seated to enable the competition to start. Once all spectators were seated, compares, Graham and Ann Hill (Welsh KC Secretaries) welcomed all spectators and began the finale. Eukanuba’s Phil Davies escorted the secret judge in to the ring, as Graham Hill completed the introductions and the judge for the Puppies was announced as the very well known and popular Paul Eardley.

 Paul is no stranger to the world of dogs,  having been born into the sport, growing up with dogs surrounding him. Paul has made up multiple Champions under his family’s kennel name, Sherex. Paul competed in Junior handling at shows throughout the UK and  whilst still in his tee he awarded his first set of CCs in Australian Terriers. Now Paul is passed to award CCs in ten Terrier breeds and has judged groups several times in the UK. Throughout the years, Paul has qualified the kennel’s dogs for the Champion and Pup of the Year stakes, plus piloting the breed to multiple group and Best in Show wins at all breed championship shows, plus Crufts Best of Breeds.

Paul narrowed his shortlist down to just eight dogs. I am certain that more dogs would have been worthy of a shortlist as the final did consist of Top Puppies in breeds during 2019, including a Top Puppy all breeds and even top puppy in groups, were also represented. 

Paul chose number 15, Joneva Born to Thrill as his final winner. Sidney to his friends is bred by John Evans and Peter Pavey, owned by seven-year-old Samuel Layton. Sidney was handled by Samuel’s Mum, Helen Howard. During 2019, Sidney achieved multiple Best Puppy in Breeds, Best Puppy in Show at Belfast Championship show in September, a total of two puppy group 1s, multiple puppy group placings and two Reserve CCs to date. 


Sidney comes from a very strong bloodline, his father is Top Pointer 2019 and Dog CC record holder, Sh Ch Chesterhope Thrill Of T Chase (Imp NZL) and on his mother’s side, his Grandfather, Sh Ch Millpoint Top Hat N’tails is the Top Pointer Stud Dog. Sidney certainly has big shoes to fill as he progresses through his age classes. 

Second place to Sidney was Ann and Marie Burns’ homebred West Highland White Terrier, Burneze I’m Still Standing ‘Stan’. Stan was the last finalist of POTY winning the place at Manchester just last month under Simon Luxmoore. A very successful show for him as he also nailed Best Puppy in Show there, under Mark Cocozza. Another star for the future as he descends from top winning Westies from the Burneze kennel. 

 Third place in the competition and a youngster who has had a sterling career so far, Nick Gourley and Andrew Leonard’s English Toy Terrier, Ch Witchstone Unexpected Gift. Tina is a winner of three CCs from the puppy classes, Top ETT Puppy 2019 and runner up Top Toy in group. BPIS at City of Birmingham and Driffield, and Best Junior in Show at City of Birmingham. For Nick and Andy, Tina is the gift that keeps on giving. A very exciting future for her.

Placed fourth in the puppy finals, was the Bichon Frise, Ashoka Blaze of Glory at Keunnevek, owned by Sharon and David Walton, handled by Tamara Wallbridge. Moose has had a great puppy career, winner of two CCs to date, plus multiple puppy wins including Puppy Group 1 at Paignton Championship show. 
 A short coffee and toilet break took place as official photographers completed their job of taking photos of the placed dogs before the Champions were judged.

 Once again, as 4.30pm arrived, stewards Ann Bliss and Ernie Patterson asked all guests and spectators to re-enter the room and be seated, to allow the competition to take place.

 Graham Hill took to the mic to introduce the Judge, who was led in to the room once again by Eukanuba’s Phil Davies. We welcome Dr Ron James to judge the final for the Eukanuba Champion Stakes 2019.

Ron has a lifetime involvement with dogs and shows. A breeder and exhibitor of Bullmastiffs, Pointers and Basenji’s under his ‘Jasmorne’ affix. Currently Ron is passed for 26 breeds in the Gundog Group, 22 breeds in the Hound Group, and breeds across the Pastoral, Utility and Working breeds. Ron has also judged Best in Show at all breed Championship shows in the UK. Currently Ron serves as the Secretary of Richmond Dog Show Society.

 From an excellent line up of Champions with multiple CCs between them all, including Top Dog All Breeds, Runner Up Top Dog All Breeds, Group and BIS winners, Ron chose eight dogs for his final consideration.
 French Bulldog, Ch Chelmbull The Aviator, American Cocker Spaniel, Sh Ch Afterglow Life of Brian, Cocker Spaniel, Sh Ch Annilann Miss Zing JW, Bichon Frise, Ch Regina Bichon You Rock My World at Pamplona, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Ch Mybeards Hero, Australian Shepherd Dog, AKC ASCA Ch Wyndstar Magic Marker (Imp USA), West Highland White Terrier, Ch Burneze Maid To Order, and Schipperke, Am Ch HR Ch Whispering Pines Covert Op. 

As Ron requested for each dog to move one more time, the boards were called and placed first and the overall winner, much to the audience’s joy, was the Australian Shepherd, Mark. Campaigned in the UK by co-owner Melanie Raymond, Mark has won the hearts of so many during his time in the UK, Top Dog All Breeds UK 2019, Five Best in Show all Breeds, 12 Group 1s, RBIS at Birmingham National, Bath and Three Counties. Mark is off to a great start already in 2020, winning Best in Show at Manchester last month. He is owned by Kerry Kirtley (breeder), Dori Erdesz, John Shaw and Melanie. 

Runner Up went to the Bichon Frise, Pablo. A Multi group, Best in Show and CC winning dog, Pablo finished 2019 as Runner Up Top Dog All Breeds. Shown by Michael Coad, and co-owned with Rich Smith. 

Third place in the final went to the Cocker Spaniel, ‘Puppet’ has had a successful show record, including multiple CCs, and last month, Reserve Best in Show at Manchester Dog Show. 

Fourth place in the Champions stakes was awarded to West Highland White Terrier, Ch Burneze Maid To Order. A Multi CC winning Bitch, and Top Puppy of the breed in 2019, her Mother is the Crufts Best in Show winning WHWT, Ch Burneze Geordie Girl. 
 As the competition completed, it was time to head back to the rooms and change into evening attire as Eukanuba provided a superb three course dinner, entertainment and dancing, including our very own, Jeff Luscott who very ably took on the role of DJ for the evening. A perfect time to unwind, chat amongst friends and really enjoy the company until the early hours. 

The event could not be possible without the support of Eukanuba. Each finalist received merchandise and a rosette to congratulate them all on reaching the very strong final, plus vouchers for the final four in each competition. 
Lisa Croft-Elliott provided live streaming for the internet and photographs during the day and evening to capture the special moments for everyone.

The team at Eukanuba are always welcoming during the show season, great to see Julie Hearsey lead the organisation once more of such a great event, and the team Phil Davies and Erica Greenwood there as support to ensure everyone had an enjoyable day and an experience to remember. Thank you to Eukanuba for a great weekend. On behalf of the dog show community, I hope that Eukanuba will continue to run this event, to highlight the success of the UKs top winning dogs and puppies.

 Good luck to all finalists who will compete at Crufts, the next  big  event in the dog show calendar!

Photos by Lisa Croft-Elliott

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Read 7711 times Last modified on Wednesday, 05 February 2020
More in this category: « Manchester 2020 Crufts 2020 »


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