Crufts 2014 proved to be one of the most spectacular yet for the Irish Wolfhound community as Gary Janssens’ dog, James (GER/BEL/DUTCH/LUX CH Just in Time of First Avenue) did the hat trick of winning the Dog Challenge Certificate, Best of Breed and then Hound Group 1! Huge congratulations to Gary and to the First Avenue Kennel of Regine Vandamme in Belgium. Gary and James were fabulous ambassadors for the breed in the Best in Show final on the Sunday evening and we are all immensely proud of their achievement. If that was not enough, one of Gary’s other dogs also placed third in Postgraduate class (Kilmara of First Avenue) and Regine had two girls placed in Open Bitch (LUX CH Korinth and LUX CH Kacey of First Avenue). The Sunday final was the culmination of a very busy 4 days at Crufts and for many exhibitors there the actual judging day of Friday 7th March was exhausting enough, but with a colossal total of 154 entries and a very strong continental entry, some exhibitors had to cope with several days of travelling and preparation. Wolfhounds came from all over Europe and even further afield, but possibly the prize for the farthest travelled would go to Roni Weintrob who made the trip from Israel with her lovely girl Auryn. Crufts naturally drawers visitors from all over the globe and this year was no exception and lovely that as well as our European friends and colleagues there were also our friends from across the Pond too. There were so many winners on the day that need to be congratulated and for many different reasons. The magnificent UK bred Wolfhounds also competed very strongly with Best Puppy going to Debbie Tebbutt’s Caredig Cariad and the reserve Dog CC being won by Ballyphelan Blackadder (Pam and John Sumner). Jan Pain’s lovely girl CH Ravensbeech Fidelia did us all proud by winning Open Bitch and the Reserve Bitch CC and was only just pipped at the post for the Challenge Certificate by Hallelieuah Della Bassa Pavese, bred and owned by Ludovica Salamon from the famous Italian kennel. The Gartlove kennel from Scotland had fantastic wins in both Junior and Limit Bitch classes with 2 of their girls (Gartlove Gisella and Gartlove Ghlean Gordiana) and really had their hands full as they were running between the Irish Wolfhound ring and the Ibizan Hound ring, which weren’t even in the same hall. The lovely Scottish contingent also saw success with Linda Forret’s girl winning Veteran Bitch (Tarlog Lady Jane Grey over Tapsalteerie). Sandy Dawson (Shalico) also had her running shoes on from the Greyhound ring and back to Wolfhounds and had great success with her gorgeous boy winning a very tough Limit Dog class (Conmeryl Detroit by Shalico). Last, but by no means least, we must mention the phenomenal success this year of Elaine and Gary Bogart’s lovely boy, Ozy (Nellwyn’s Mr Ozymandias), who won not just one, but two classes, both Junior Dog and Yearling Dog – congratulations! Of course I must also mention the superb Bonaforte/Heliodor hounds and owners, many of whom qualified for this year’s Crufts – as a Kennel we are immensely proud of every single one of you and you know you will always have our unceasing support (not to mention first refusal rights on the cupcakes).
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Published reproduced by kind permission of Ali Irvine & Bonaforte Irish Wolfhounds: www.bonaforte.com