Having performed as part of “the team” for most of the past decade it was a great honour to be invited to judge at this prestigious challenge match in the Welsh show calendar. It was with much pleasure I accepted the privilege of judging “Welsh Junior” particularly knowing the renown working/pastoral group specialist Hedd Richards would be my co-judge.
Re-scheduled due to Winter snow, Martin Sanders had again thought of everything to make for a glowing success, the event enhanced by the addition of a new veteran competition. A super friendly atmosphere pervaded the whole day and a most excellent restaurant lunch, provided by local caterers, raised the service to a new level. If you qualify for “Welsh Junior of The Year” with an exhibit try to attend at least once as the experience of an exhibitor focused, thoroughly well organised, happy dog event should not be missed. Well done to the small hard-working band who support Martin and Carole, you all did brilliantly.
My final four dogs consisted of the Bulldog, Kingrock Tipsy Cola owned by Mrs C. Briddon, an Irish Wolfhound, Amarach Aaron At Baronglen belonging to Mr & Mrs P. Pask, the Standard Poodle, Pendream Rising Star JW belonging to Mrs H. Bull-Harris and Mr L. Sampson and finally the Irish Setter, Gwendariff Pink Floyd owned and handled by Mrs R. Jones.
The Bulldog is a shaded red/white bitch of quality and breed type, first class bone and feet, pleasing head proportions, eyes well set and shaped with super broad under-jaw and limited head wrinkling. Front powerful and muscular, ribcage well rounded, she is well constructed throughout, sound and steady on the move displaying a lovely disposition, I would like to see her carrying a tad less weight on the day but she remains a most promising specimen.
The grey Irish Wolfhound dog is beyond his second birthday at this point and maturing beautifully with a long masculine head, excellent muzzle and wide nostrils. Well angulated overall and powerfully constructed showing a long neck well muscled, very deeply bodied and splendid overall muscling for his age. A striking presence standing he moves with ease and surety but did not quite give of his best in his final challenge, on another day he would be fully deserving of the top honours.
The black Standard Poodle dog is an exhibit I have favoured in the past in YKC Stakes and today again he was beautifully presented, his noble expression and long, refined head being a notable feature for me with fire in his eyes. Profuse coat of good harsh texture on display and moving with sweeping forward reach, rear drive and style. So pleasing to find bone of this quality and muscled substance helping to bind together a tightly knitted frame creating an elegant and well balanced picture to place him the runner-up in my group.
The winner of my section of judging proved to be the Irish Setter dog, handsome and well angulated with the best of bone and well padded feet, nothing exaggerated or overdone, full of breed type with complimentary developing feathering. I delight in his ample head proportions, his eye set and shape with slightly raised brows gives real quality to his expression, his racy frame is all proportionate and he carries just the right body condition endorsed with powerful, well muscled hindquarters. He moves with flowing reach and drive, head and tail carried in typical breed manner, striking out straight and true fore and aft. A fully deserving winner balancing workmanlike qualities of strength, soundness and endurance with the ascetic appeal of show breed presence and presentation.
These finalists came from a first class group peppered with close and difficult challenges. Presentation was immaculate on all exhibits which has assisted them to achieve so much already and I am sure some will go on to impact on their breed at a high level. Thank you all exhibitors for allowing me to assess some truly splendid junior winners and I wish you the very best of good fortune in future competition.
Judge – Richard Morris (Lascoed)