Critique Manchester 2019


This was my first judging appointment at this level and I found it a very enjoyable and interesting experience. I would like to extend great thanks to my lovely stewards who put me at my ease, kept me in check and helped keep things moving. I would also like to thank all the exhibitors who entered and allowed me the privilege of judging your beloved girls and boys. That big ring can feel a lonely place so I really appreciated the kindness, respect and sporting manner that the vast majority of you showed to me and your fellow exhibitors. I have been on the whole absent from the ring for almost two years, so I was seeing many of the dogs and bitches with ‘fresh eyes’. The whole experience gave me an interesting overview of a decent number of Irish Setters for the first time, which is impossible to get from outside the ring or from an Open Show entry nowadays. I observed two things that surprised me a little. Firstly that, on the whole, I felt that the dogs had more depth of quality than the bitches and secondly, I was surprised at some of the heads I saw. Quite a few lacked the raised brow asked for in the breed standard and this, often matched with round eyes, left dogs with a vacant, blank expression which is a far cry from the beautiful, soft and intelligent expression that I am used to seeing. That said I was generally more than happy with my winners and high placings. Time to get off the soapbox now and express what I thought of your boys and girls. 

MPD (9, 3) 1 Davis’ Grayrigge Mystral Wind With Alanasett. At just 7 months, this promising little man presented a lovely balanced picture with nothing overdone. I loved his fabulous neck, with correct slight arch at its crest flowing cleanly into his well placed shoulders. He has a good head with super raised brows and dark eyes giving a soft expression. Lovely spring of rib, a firm gently sloping topline and good angulation front and rear. He moved steadily and positively around the ring today which won him his place over another beautiful baby. 2 Sturrock’s Forfarian Bang Tidy. A lovely lad, slightly larger in frame but showing excellent balance with good front and hind angulation and correct topline. He possesses a handsome head with lovely finish to his muzzle and a rich, dark coat. Well off for bone, he has fabulous spring of rib and depth of chest and has beautiful neat feet. Not quite as co-ordinated on the move today as the winner but I’m sure both of these boys will change places many times in the future. 3 Condron’s Covarney Moschino. 

PD (10, 3) 1 Edwards’ Gwendariff Ucantmissme Bonhomie. This young man won this class in considerable part due to his beautiful, sound movement which I found incredibly accurate and powerful for a baby. I really liked his impressive outline, balance and depth in brisket and his strong, well angulated hindquarters. He has a good straight front, layback of shoulder, correct topline and super rich, dense coat. Personally I would prefer him to have a little more forechest and although I found him a tad plain in head at the moment his expression was pleasant enough, with correctly shaped dark eyes. It is so easy to forget that he is just a baby with lots of time, and besides I was blown away by his super movement so was happy to award him BP in Breed today and pleased to see him win PG4. 2 Davis’ Grayrigge Mystral Wind With Alanasett. 3 Bott, Allen & Morgan’s Quensha Back To Basics.

  JD (3, 1) 1 Lucas’ Kerryfair Love On The Rocks Amberlight. This strapping young man is just out of puppy and presents a balanced, unexaggerated outline. He has good bone and substance, good neck and shoulders and a really handsome head, well proportioned with a lovely soft expression. He is   well ribbed up and has good body properties. He moved happily today to take the class. 2 Schelling’s Marlland California Man. I really liked this boy so very much but he succeeded in confounding both his handler and myself by showing his unhappiness with his surroundings today. This was a real pity as I loved his racy, classic outline and his beautiful head, with his correctly raised brows and gentle, melt your heart expression. He had substance too and was lovely to go over, so correct with good angulation fore and aft, short rear pasterns and firm topline. He was unsettled on the move and difficult to assess so I couldn’t award him a higher placing today – what a shame! 

YD (10) This class was such a mixture of types and I was disappointed to find two lovely dogs, (who I would have loved to have placed), that had runny eyes! 1 Rutherford, Judge & Crocker’s Riverbrue Galliano Fizz To Clonageera JW. This boy won the class as he displayed the complete package today. Slightly longer in body than second he nevertheless presented a balanced and stylish outline and was beautifully presented with a sumptuous, gleaming coat. He has a pleasant masculine head and good expression with a good neck and shoulders, good depth of chest and spring of rib. I loved his strong hindquarters that show a good width of first thigh and he has a good tail set. He moved soundly and happily. 2 Poole’s Teleri Summer Nights (AI). I really liked this boy’s super breed type. I found his head very attractive, balanced, masculine and refined, with beautifully raised brow and soft, quizzical expression. He is soundly constructed throughout with a good front assembly, depth of brisket and spring of ribs. He has a firm and gently sloping topline which I preferred to that of the class winner. He moved well today and just needs time to mature and come together. 3 Foster’s Goldnavarm Endurance At Shanoah. 

GD (13, 2) 1 Northend’s Aoibheannes Single Malt. I thought this boy a very appealing, lovely type of dog. He has a beautiful head with a soft, kindly expression and an excellent finish to his foreface. Solidly constructed he retains the racy and balanced outline required by the breed standard. He has a good neck leading into clean shoulders and a correct and gently sloping topline. He has good angulation both in front and rear and moved well with drive today. 2 French’s Zen Power Diervilla. Another very nice young man with a little more length to him than the winner but maintaining a balanced, impressive outline. Another who scores well in breed type with a good masculine head, excellent neck and shoulders and firm topline. He used his strong, well muscled hindquarters to advantage on the move and presented a pleasing picture overall. 3 Holley’s Wynjill Winner Takes All JW. 

PGD (13, 3) 1 Stockton’s Gwendariff D’ya Think I’m Fab For Kespas JW. A dog with a flowing, racy outline and nicely made all through with good bone and straight front. I found his head very pleasing with well defined brows and expressive dark eyes. Nice and clean over his shoulders with a strong topline, well finished croup and powerful hindquarters. He was presented in gleaming condition, with no great excess of coat or feathers, as I prefer. To be critical I found him a little long in loin but he moved soundly and fluently. 2 Pym’s Thendara The Watchmaker. A glamorous and stylish dog built on clean lines, he is smaller, more compact and shorter coupled than the class winner. Very well presented with ample coat he has a pleasant head but not the expression of first. He possesses a lovely neck and shoulders that flows seamlessly onto a gently sloping topline. He has fabulous feet and moved well and true today. 3 Muir & O’Connor’s Gwendariff I’m Coming Out JW. 

 LD (18, 2) A strong class with a couple of my favourites down the line or sadly going cardless today. 1 Danks-Kemish’s Alolfrana Hotter Than U’know. A very smart young dog, just over two and a half years old, with plenty of time to fulfil his potential. He presents a balanced picture and there is nothing overdone or exaggerated to be found here. He has a good masculine head, beautifully chiselled foreface with the best of brows and a soft, melting expression. Strongly built he still has the refinement I was looking for and his good construction is very apparent. I loved his depth of chest, prominent forechest, correct topline and strong loin, not to mention his fabulous feet. He has balanced angulation in front and behind and moved very well today with good front extension, fluency and drive. 2 Condron’s & Need’s Covarney Macaroon ShCM. I really loved this dog’s outline and noticed that he is the son of the lovely RCC dog winner today, indeed he has inherited many of his sire’s virtues. I fell for this young man’s overall honesty and super type. I think his head lovely, he has such a soft intelligent expression, good finish to his foreface and a good nose with wide nostrils. Another boy with an excellent topline, gently sloping from well-placed shoulders into a strong croup. He moved accurately and soundly on beautiful feet but couldn’t quite match the reach and drive of winner today. 3 Chorley-Newton, Chorley & Flinder’s Pawsword Priceless To Kerryfair JW. 

OD (8, 2) Good depth of quality throughout as you expect from this class and difficult decisions had to be made, with just a hare’s breath between first and second. 1 Longbottom & Stewart-Richie’s Gwendariff Unknown Soldier JW. I really liked this lad as a youngster but as he matured I began to think him a little over the top and a tad heavy in head for me. Oh how wrong I was to judge him on ringside impressions! Trust me there is nothing overdone about this lovely boy when you go over him. I thought his head truly beautiful – classic, masculine and refined with correctly domed skull all in perfect balance with his well chiselled foreface – nothing heavy or coarse, and all topped off with a fabulous soulful expression. He is balanced throughout with a good, slightly arched, muscular neck and has an excellent front assembly with ample forechest, which I loved. He possesses good well sprung ribs, strong muscular loin and well angulated, powerful hindquarters, broad croup and lovely feet. He was presented in glorious condition with a rich dark coat, just the right amount. His movement was true to his confirmation, flowing and powerful, with excellent reach and drive and good tail action. My notes read ‘very surprised with myself’ when I gave him the class but I think his owner/handler was even more astonished when I awarded him the CC, his third I found out later. I was extremely happy to do so as he is a beautiful dog who richly deserves his title. Congratulations! 2 Crocker’s Sh Ch Copper’s War Of Roses (Swed Imp). This well known boy was close up to the winner and shares many of his attributes. He has a lovely racy outline, similar to my first placing but with more coat, which is beautifully presented and finished. He is fabulous over neck and shoulders flowing into well sprung ribs and correctly sloping topline with adequate forechest. He is strong in loin and over the croup and everything about him is so pleasing, with good balanced angulation fore and aft. He has a pleasant head with a kindly expression although I preferred the winner’s today. His movement was a picture, effortless and true, a worthy champion and a great ambassador for our breed and very close up for the RCC today. 3 Stockton’s Sh Ch Riverbrue Alchemist Amidst Kespas JW.  

VD (6, 1) 1 Pullen & Atkin’s Sh Ch Harvancourt Harlem At Jacingail. A dog I simply adore and have done well previously, when he was much younger, before he gained his title. He isn’t flash but his total honesty appeals greatly to me and he possesses quality and balance without any hint of exaggeration whatsoever. He has what I consider to be a classic Irish head, one of the best here today, most handsome, with an irresistibly melting expression, well chiselled foreface, correct flew and beautiful raised brows which were only enhanced by the frostings of white that went some way to show his nine and a half years. Little else revealed his age and he was shown in fabulous condition, moving with drive and accuracy and retaining his beautiful shape as he did so. He possesses a fabulous topline and croup, his bone is strong and straight and he is well muscled with good angulation in front and behind. I really couldn’t fault him today and despite the excellent competition I was delighted to award him the RCC, with the total agreement of my head and my heart! BV in Breed too. 2 Cohen’s Caispern Lorenzo With Shushana JW ShCM. Another gentleman of quality and excellent type. He has a good head, masculine without coarseness, and a lovely dark eye and a soft appealing expression. Longer cast than the winner. I loved his substance and strength of construction, deep brisket and balance. He has good feet and moved positively and true today. 3 

Axon’s Brinara Back In The Running. 

MPB (8) A lovely class with some very nice babies going cardless. 1 Sturrock’s  Forfarian Soo Lush. What a little poppet and so aptly named. I certainly thought her lush! She is such a pretty girl with correctly shaped dark eyes, plenty of work to her foreface and a wicked expression. She is solidly built with good bone and splendid balance, well angulated in front and behind without exaggeration. I loved her tight feet, rich dark coat and steady movement. She is completely delightful and just right for her age. Best PB today. 2 Holley’s Gwendariff  Look This Way To Wynjill. Another scrumptious baby, a little bigger in frame, I liked her a lot for her depth, substance and balance. She too is very pretty and has a beautiful, soft expression. Her bone is good and strong with lovely construction, plain for all to see. I loved her spring of rib and fabulous forechest, well angulated fore and aft she is a sound and happy mover. Close up to winner here and in the next class too. 3 Bott’s Bardonhill Love Of My Life. 

PB (13) A mixed class in quality and types. 1 Rutherford’s Majestyka Indian Summer At Clonageera. A very nice youngster who presented a pleasing picture, she had the correct bone, substance and balance that I was looking for. More mature than second place, she possesses an attractive head with good eye shape and sweet expression and a good finish to muzzle. Strongly constructed, her neck flows smoothly into good shoulders and she has good depth of chest and spring of rib, with correct finish to her croup. She has a super glossy puppy coat and moved steadily around the ring on beautiful tight feet. 2 Holley’s Gwendariff  Look This Way To Wynjill. 3 Blackshaw’s Lanstara Ruby Slippers. 

JB (5) 1 Milligan-Bott & Bott’s Thendara Crystal Ice. This youngster was 4th in the puppy class and has a racy, balanced outline. She is solidly constructed with moderate and correct angulation fore and aft. She has a good set of neck into shoulders, which flow into an excellent topline and she was presented in lovely, gleaming coat and condition. I would have preferred a little more depth to her chest and a more feminine head if I’m honest, but I liked her movement which is sound and true and won her the class today. 2 Sharman & Jennings-Sharman’s Kerrimere Red Ribbon. Initially I thought that this young lady would be my class winner as I liked her overall shape and clean, racy lines. Her head is very appealing and pretty with a good eye shape and gentle expression. She has good depth of brisket with sound body properties all in the correct proportion. She lost out to the winner on this occasion because her movement appeared quite close behind today. 3 Fox’s Kerryfair Special Diamond. 

YB (10, 3) 1 Mugford’s Lynwood Abracadabra JW. A delightful girl with an attractive, elegant outline and the substance and strength of construction that I love to see. Her lovely feminine head is beautifully balanced with dark, correctly shaped eyes, well defined brows and a wistful expression. I loved her slightly arched, muscular neck, well sprung ribs and firm, gently sloping topline. She has strong hindquarters with good width of first thigh and well bent stifles. She moved steadily and happily today, knowing herself to be a very smart lady indeed! 2 Edward’s Gwendariff Its Numero Uno At Bonhomie. This young lady was awarded this placing because of her strong, sound, driving movement. She has an attractive head with a good finish to foreface, and good bone and substance. I liked her depth of chest, strong hindquarters and her firm topline with correct croup and tailset. She presents a balanced picture both standing and on the move. 3 Hughes’ Alolfrana U’are A Diamond. 

GB (6, 2) A difficult decision between first and second placings. 1 McDonald’s Delsanto Miss Freya. This girl presents a stylish and elegant outline, slightly finer than my second placing, but well proportioned with good front assembly, correct gently sloping topline and strong well angulated hindquarters. Clean over neck and shoulders, she has a pleasant head and was presented in good coat and condition. She moved positively and happily today. 2 Humphrey’s Crimpington Flirtini To Henaleas JW. So very close up to the winner, this young lady was also of smart and balanced appearance, with a very pretty head and a little more substance than first, which in truth I prefer. She has a good reach of neck, a lovely firm, correct topline, nice depth of brisket and good finish to croup. She has good angulation in front and behind and moved ok once she had settled. 3 Hughes’ Alolfrana U’are A Diamond. 

PGB (12, 2) 1 Hinslea’s Gwendariff Guess Who’s Coming To Northamber JW. Wow! As soon as I saw this truly beautiful young lady it was no exaggeration to say I was both captivated and dazzled by her loveliness. She has quality in spades and I thought her quite different in style from many of the bitches that I had judged today which, true to recent fashion, were slightly smaller and shorter in leg than I am accustomed to. She stands over a little more ground than her counterparts, which only enhances her elegance for me, and she retains perfect balance and proportion throughout her fabulous outline. Her head is beautiful, feminine, balanced and well chiselled with correct raised brow, low set ears and an irresistible soft expression laced with a hint of wickedness, which I adored. She has a good reach of neck and well placed shoulders and good angulation fore and aft. I loved her substance and strength of construction, her depth of rib, which were well sprung, strong loin and her excellent topline. She was presented in tip-top condition and gleaming coat and her movement was fluent, effortless and true. She stole my heart and once I had judged her I couldn’t stop thinking about her! I was immensely pleased to award her the CC, (the first of many I hope), followed by BOB, no mean feat considering the quality of the dog CC winner today. 2 Jones’ Alolfrana In A Hot Storm Over Wenflaen. A very nice young lady but quite different from first, smaller and more compact, with a smart, neat and balanced outline. She possesses a very pretty, feminine head with good, dark, well shaped eyes and a soft expression. She has good body properties and is well off for bone. I liked her good forechest, correct, firm topline, broad croup and good tailset. She has the most beautiful tight feet and moved well with animation and drive. 3 Elkin’s Two Acres Promise Of Spring With Avacet. 

LB (16, 5) A good class but a few bitches who looked very nice in profile lost out as I felt they lacked the substance I was looking for. 1 Hall’s Riverbrue Ophelia At Glennara. An elegant girl, full of quality and good breed type and is litter sister to my RCC winner. She is longer cast than my second placing but is nevertheless balanced and has the substance and strength of construction that I like to see. She has an attractive head with good finish to her foreface, correct flew and dark, expressive eyes. She possesses a good neck and shoulders, ample forechest and strong well muscled hindquarters with a good bend of stifle. She is well furnished with a dark gleaming coat and moved positively and purposefully around the ring. 2 Mugford’s Sangarah Skyline Over Lynwood JW (Imp). Very close up to winner, I find this girl very appealing as she has such a neat, compact and balanced outline and is so full of quality. She has a beautiful head, long and lean with correctly domed skull and expressive brows a melting expression. Her coat is quality, not quantity, and I really did not mind this aspect of her at all because it means that one can see how correct and sound her construction actually is. She has a lovely, slightly arched, neck and clean, well laid shoulders. She possesses right amount of substance with good depth of brisket and an excellent topline which she retained while moving steady and true. 3 Dale & Wyer’s Aubanjon Royal Symphony. 

OB (11, 3) Another good class. 1 Crocker’s  Sh Ch Riverbrue Gloriana. This charming lady was beautifully presented with an abundance of coat turned out in A1 condition. She is teeming with quality and so very well balanced, both racy in appearance and solidly built, with strong bone, good muscle and a super flowing outline. I really loved her head, so pretty with raised brows, dark eyes and a soft, quizzical expression, nicely chiselled foreface and correct flew. She scores strongly in neck, shoulders, topline and croup and has a lovely front assembly with a good depth of chest and spring of ribs. She is well angulated in front and rear and moved beautifully today, covering the ground efficiently as her construction dictates, and using her tail to show her joie de vivre. She looked a picture both moving and standing so it was impossible to deny her the class and RCC. 2 Storrock’s Sh Ch Forfarian Hey Sexy Lady JW. A real favourite of mine and such a quality girl who possesses excellent breed type. Her outline has total appeal for me as she is in no way overdone or flash. ‘What you see is what you get’ and what you see is honest, beautiful and balanced. She has a gorgeous feminine head with an adorable, soft expression and correct set on of ears. Her neck has good reach and sits cleanly into her well laid shoulders. She is very correct and well made in all elements of her conformation with deep chest, well ribbed back and fabulous hindquarters with well bent stifles. In some ways I preferred her to the class winner, but although she moved very soundly, she just couldn’t match her on the move today. 3 Swainston’s Glenvarna Dora The Explorer JW. 

VB (4, 1) 1 Stevenson’s Lochlorien Scully Foxes Andley ShCM. Placed 4th in Open, I really do think this lady has a striking, impressive outline and my eyes have been drawn to her many times in the past as I have watched from the ringside. She doesn’t disappoint when going over her and she has the elegance and substance that appeals. Her head is pleasant and feminine and her frame is strong and well balanced. She has well laid shoulders, a super topline and good angulation front and rear. She was presented in lovely blooming condition and she moved positively around the ring today. 2 Humphrey’s Sutersett Miss Curious About Henaleas JW. A lady of quality that I hold in high regard. I love her substance and strength but today she seemed rather hot and bothered. This was a real shame as she has the prettiest of heads but her overall expression was hampered by her demeanour in the ring. A little longer cast than the winner, she is very soundly made with lovely depth of brisket and spring of ribs, strong muscular hindquarters and broad croup. She has a gorgeous rich, dark coat and was presented well. She moved soundly but I believe she was thinking of better things she could do with her time, bless her. 3 Cayton-Lee’s Rubratinneh Matoaka.

Michelle Kavanagh