After a long week on Camp, I made the mad dash to the airport on Friday the 12th April, to get Benni, Jäger and I to Sydney. It was an eventful evening, firstly with me leaving my suit bag at the bar (it had been a long week!) and then my connecting flight being cancelled. But I eventually made it to Shell Gurney's just before midnight...ready to be up again at 5am!
The next day was both Finnish Lapphund Day and Sweepstakes Day at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Both Benni and Jäger were entered in breed judging, while Jäger was also entered in Puppy Sweepstakes.
First up was breed judging, by BIS judge Davor Javor (Croatia). Jäger was in Puppy Dog class, which he won. Then Benni was in the very competitive Australian Bred Dog class. For a moment it looked like he was going to win the class, but with one more lap around the ring he was relegated to second. It was clear the intense last 24 hours was taking its toll on him.
Whilst I had loosely thought about what I would do if Benni won Best of Breed and we had to return for General Specials Day in nine days time, I have to admit to not actually having thought about it maybe being Jäger who would have to return. Jäger beat the winner of the Puppy Bitch class to become BEST PUPPY OF BREED, meaning he needed to return to compete for Best Puppy in the Working Group.
Thank you so much to Shell Gurney who kindly agreed to show Jäger on specials day (Monday 22nd April), so I wouldn't need to fly back up. And what an amazing job she did, piloting him to the FINAL FOUR - BEST PUPPY IN GROUP. This was out of the 20 breeds represented on the day. I could not be prouder of this homebred boy from my first litter. I also need to acknowledge Jacqualine Lincoln...whilst Jäger may be from my first litter, he is all Armahani breeding and is the result of years of dedication to the breed from Jacq.
Scroll to 2.27:00 to watch the complete judging of Best Puppy in the Working Group
Jäger also competed in Puppy Sweepstakes at Sydney Royal, judged by Kim Haddon (Qld). After our lap of honour, with the Best of Breed, Runner-up Best of Breed and Baby Puppy of Breed winners, we literally ran out of that ring and into the spot awaiting us in the main ring for sweepstakes. Jäger's stellar Sydney Royal wasn't over. He won Puppy Sweepstakes for the Working Group, making it to the final a few moments later.
Sunday 14th April saw the Finnish Lapphund Club of New South Wales Specialty Championship Show, judged by breed specialist Mr Esa Ruotsalainen (Finland). Jäger again won the Puppy Dog class, going on to by Best opposite-sex Puppy in Show.
Benni won the Australian Bred Dog class this time. The same three dogs as at the Royal were the placegetters, but in a different order. Both dogs received lovely critiques, with Benni, once again, receiving a grading of Excellent and Champion Quality. He then went on to be Best opposite-sex Australian Bred in Show (to the BISS winner).
Congratulations to Katrina Long on Akela's consecutive BISS wins at the NSW specialities.