• Show Date: 07/06/2018
  • Show Type: Championship Show
  • Judged by: Andrew H. Brace Contact Judge
  • Published Date: 02/11/2020

Three Counties Agricultural Society

Breed: Best in Show

THREE COUNTIES CHAMPIONSHIP SHOW 10.6.18 BIS & BPIS I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to judge BIS and BPIS at one of my favourite dog shows and thank Jackie Lane and her Three Counties team for the opportunity. I would like to think that the late Maureen Micklethwaite was looking down on us approvingly as the show reached its climax; I am certain that she would be so proud of Jackie and the team and the way “her” show is still run. It is hard for me to comprehend but this was actually my 17th all breeds BIS appointment over a period of 30 years. I was always taught that the secret of judging dogs well was to judge the dogs in front of you in the context of the competition on the day and judge them totally cold – regardless of past wins, whether or not you had judged them previously, who had put them up (or not) in the past, and whether handled by friend or foe. Unless all exhibitors feel that they will be judged on an even playing field every time they step into the ring, the future of the sport looks very dismal. In the competition for BIS I was presented with seven dogs, all of whom were typical of their respective breeds and I will leave it to the group judges to extol the virtues of the “unlucky” quintet. After careful consideration, and with the dogs having had ample opportunity to take advantage of the huge BIS ring in glorious sunshine, my choice for BIS was the American Cocker Spaniel male, Sh Ch, Am Ch & Ir Ch SILHOUETTE TROUBLING NASSAILLEEN. Here is a dog that really needs to be handled to be fully appreciated – despite the fact that his presentation is absolutely impeccable. On the table he is a revelation. His head is clean, just oozes quality (yet could never be mistaken for a bitch) and his expression is bright, lively and full of character. Hands on, he has a clean neck flowing into well laid shoulders, under the coat there is actually forechest, great spring of rib, he is short-coupled and his hindquarters are well angulated without being excessively so. His topline is typical and never falters, standing or moving, and on the stack he is perfectly balanced. His conditioning and muscle tone was excellent and the movement is true out and back. On the day he pleased me more than anything for his overall qualities and performance and so he took the top spot, having won what was apparently his first group. I would like to think it won’t be his last. Reserve to him was another black male, but this time in the form of a Miniature Poodle, Ch MINARETS BEST KEPT SECRET, and like the BIS winner his handling and presentation was flawless. Unlike many Miniature Poodles when you get your hands on him he has BODY and his construction is most impressive. He has a wonderfully textured coat, a perfectly set and carried tail and he is full of Poodle attitude. My Poodle mentor, the late Philippe Howard-Price of Montfleuri fame, always instilled in me “If a Poodle isn’t light on its feet and doesn’t move like a ballerina, you don’t need to look at it twice”! Well, I think Phillipe would have approved of this Nureyev of Poodles as his lightness of foot and true Poodle carriage is exemplary. I felt he was a worthy winner of Reserve BIS. The competition for BPIS was very strong and I’m sure that commentator Howard Ogden was correct in his suggestion that we could well have been watching seven future Champions. Ultimately the top spot belonged to the 8 months Japanese Shiba Inu male, VORMUND THE REAL SLIM SHADY, and he caught my eye from the start. On the table he thrilled me with that wonderful head, eye and expression that just shouted “Shiba”. I am sure my good friend Kazu Igarashi in Japan would have shared my enthusiasm. Despite his youth he was unbelievably well bodied and conditioned and – as one would expect – impeccably groomed. His construction and balance are spot on for the breed and his temperament is exemplary. Moving he was true out and back and in profile demonstrated a totally typical gait. I felt he was a very comfortable winner of BPIS over some beautiful puppies. Reserve BPIS was the 11 months old Afghan Hound bitch, CLOUDSIDE SUNFLOWER, and as she floated into the ring I felt she was the standout winner. I just loved her. She has the most exquisite head and expression with that faraway look you don’t see too often and the hands-on is just a joy. She has the most amazing construction with so many valuable breed points and her outline is just classic – with the correct neck, topline, fallaway and angulation … with a perfectly ringed tail to ice the cake. Through a very long personal involvement I would like to think that I really understand this breed and realise how slow they are to mature and at the moment she still needs to body up, which I am sure she will with full maturity. On the move she is truly magical as she has the necessary elevation and yet floats over ground with zero effort. I will stick my neck out and say that potentially she is the best Cloudside yet and was delighted to discover that her sire won his second CC & BOB under me, going on that day to win the group under Paul Singleton. That slight lack of finish of body (bearing in mind that we are supposed to be judging on the day) cost her the top spot but she is one whose future I will watch with great interest. I left Three Counties with a warm glow, having reassured myself that the adrenalin rush of judging wonderful dogs is still with me. Thankyou all. ANDREW H. BRACE