Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Crufts title 'a boyhood dream'

A Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen named Jilly, with owner Gavin Robertson, after winning Best in Show at Crufts 2013

A boyhood dream has come true for Gavin Robertson after his dog lifted the Best in Show crown at Crufts.

Mr Robertson, breeder of Basset Griffon Vendeen Jilly, said he had been attending the dog show since he was young and had always wanted to win the prestigious prize.

As photographers snapped the pair on the podium after they were presented with the all important trophy, Mr Robertson tookd a call from his wife Sara and their two children Oliver, six and Erin, three, congratulating the pair on their win.

Mr Robertson, from Wallingford in Oxfordshire, beat more than 20,000 dogs over the four-day competition to take the coveted title of Best in Show at Crufts at the NEC in Birmingham. Four-year-old Jilly won the Best Hound category then went on to be pronounced Best in Show after four days of competition.

Mr Robertson said: "I'm completely floating on air. It's just a wonderful, wonderful feeling. I didn't think I'd actually ever be sat next to this trophy so yes, fantastic.

"I can't express it. I've thought about this since I was a little boy. I've come to this show since I was a little boy and every year I've watched and thought I'd love to be in that place and that position. To finally be here, well, it doesn't feel real."

Mr Robertson said he had decided months before the competition to retire Jilly after Crufts.

He added: "I just wanted her to enjoy the whole occasion. It's her last show. I'd already decided months ago that I would retire her no matter what she got so it's fantastic, you couldn't ask for a script like that. What a way to stop."

Reserve Best in Show went to Romeo, a three-year-old Labrador Retriever, winner of the Gundog category. He had travelled from Cesara in Italy with owner Franco Barberi.

Also in the final were: Lampard, a Skye Terrier who won the Terrier group; Tibetan Terrier Gabby, who took first place in the Utility group; King Charles Spaniel Theo, who won the Toy group; Bernese Mountain Dog Breeze, who won the working dog group and Australian Shepherd Tiffany who won the pastoral group.

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