Flat coated retriever ‘Rossi’ was crowned overall winner of the BASC gamekeepers’ classes at Crufts 2018.

Four-year-old Rossi, who is part of owner Helen Fox’s picking-up team of five dogs, beat off tough competition from six other finalists in the main arena to lift the Northesk Memorial Trophy.

Gamekeeper Helen said she was “absolutely thrilled” to have won.

She came second in the gamekeepers’ classes with English Springer Spaniel ‘Master Bo Jangles’ last year and first with him in 2015 and ‘Rossi’ came third in 2016.

She said: “Although I would rather be working the dogs than showing them, I do enjoy bringing them to Crufts and taking part in the BASC Gamekeeper classes and I am very proud of their success.”

The gamekeepers’ rings included classes for gamekeepers, owners of working gundogs, gundog teams and young handlers and gave handlers the chance to show working gundogs in their prime at the end of a busy shooting season.

Helen and Rossi were presented with their trophy in the main arena by BASC vice chairman John Thornley OBE, who said: “Everyone who took part did incredibly well and that really is testament to the enthusiasm and interest that gundogs generally create, particularly through the gamekeeping fraternity where the gundogs form a major part of their livelihoods and their lives.

“Hosting these classes at Crufts allows us to educate people about the role of gamekeepers in the countryside and the importance of having a well-trained working gundog. Retrieving shot game is so important and is all part of the process which has the end result of putting game meat on the table.”

Kirstan Harpham, with Labrador ‘Yo Yo’, finished second, while Dylan Thomas’ Welsh Springer Spaniel ‘Ben’ came third.


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