The 1980s – Heydays and Grey Days

The 1980s – Heydays and Grey Days – Consolidation and a Field Trial Champion

The 1980s saw a massive increase in the number of awards won by Weimaraners in field trials involving thirty-four handlers with 38 dogs sharing 120 awards.

The outstanding Weimaraner dog of the decade, and indeed of all-time in the WATFA table for dogs, with a probably unassailable 560 points (256 of which were gained in Open field trials), was Di Arrowsmith’s Wobrooke of Fleetapple (d) (born 17/11/1979). This dog was the first Weimaraner to achieve the status of Field Trial Champion. “Brooke” won his second 1st place in an Open stake a day after his 9th birthday on 18/11/1988 under judges Mrs Sanderson and Mrs M Nixon and that win made him up to Field Trial Champion.

Brooke had well and truly made a statement of very serious intent the previous season by winning two 3rds and a CoM at Open level; and the season before that winning four All-Aged awards (i.e. 1st – 3rd inclusive and a CoM). In all Brooke won 23 field awards including three 1sts in Open, two in All-Aged and one in Novice.

The pedigree of Wobrooke of Fleetapple, (sired by Wotan of Ragstone out of Flimmoric of Solevel) shows at the 5th generation a number of names that have been mentioned already in this narrative, Major RH Petty’s Strawbridge affix is heavily featured, as is Lotti Go-Lightly, whose own lineage traces back to the first Weimaraners imported into the UK, Cobra von Boberstrand and Bando von Fohr, arriving in March 1952. With the Greyfilk and Monroe’s affixes also featured, the Strawbridge heritage predominates in Brooke’s lines. Who would argue that his achievement in the field was not pre-destined because of this?

There were other notable owner-handlers forging a record of success in the 1980’s and the most outstanding handler after Di Arrowsmith was Costas Wilkinson who, with two dogs, Heronshaw Silver (b) and Vanwilkie Nearly Napoleon (d) won 14 field awards.

Heronshaw Silver won two 1st places in Novice and was placed 3rd in Open during her career which totalled 8 field awards and she features at 10th place in the WATFA table for dogs with 170 points (56 at Open level). Vanwilkie Nearly Napoleon won 6 field awards across all levels and is joint 20th on 91 points.

Another outstanding handler was Richard Jupp whose Fossana Algenon (d) records 5 awards in the 1980s seasons. Richard’s Fossana Blue John (d) won 7 field awards including a 1st in a WCGB Novice trial at Tisted Hampshire under judges Maj. G. Wilkinson MBE and G Sherring. That is 12 awards to add to two gained in the 1970s, making 14 with two dogs. Fossana Blue John (d) is 13th in the WATFA table for dogs on 112 points, and Fossana Algenon (d) 14th on 107 points. Shooter, gundog trainer and Field Trial judge, Eddie Hales, had a significant influence on the early training of Fossana Blue John, and was also active in training a number of Weimaraner handlers in this era.

Steve Chant secured 6 field awards in the 1980s with Tasairgid Talked About (d) including 2nd places in Novice, All-Aged and Open. This dog continued its career in the early 1990s with awards at 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in All-Aged and a 4th in Open to feature at third place in the WATFA table for dogs with 278 points (68 at Open level). Quadet Asta (b) also handled by Steve in the 1990s won a first in a WCGB Novice stake under judges Mrs M Nixon and M Bower, taking Steve’s tally to 13 field trial awards and fourth place in the WATFA table for Owner-Handlers.

Another notable handler Mrs LA Brown campaigned Emmaclan Escort (d) to 5 field trial awards in the 1980s, with a 1st place in a WCGB Novice trial under judges G Nixon and P Howard (21/01/1987). Emmaclan Escort won a further 5 field trial awards, mostly in late 1989 (which falls into the 1989-90 season and therefore the 1990s for this analysis), to place him at 5th place in the WATFA table on 213 points. Liza’s bitch Belvoirvale Bracken would win many awards in the 1990s sufficient to place her at 6th in the WATFA table on 201 points (24 at Open level). Liza would go on to trial a total of six award winning Weimaraners, three under her Brakabreeze affix, to amass a personal total of 656 points and second place in a WATFA table for Owner-Handlers.

It is noteworthy that Di Arrowsmith amassed 560 points with a solitary Weimaraner FT Ch Wobrooke of Fleetapple and 3rd place in the WATFA table for Owner-Handlers.

Julie Turner’s Ch Czolkins Platinum Cirrus JW (d) won 5 field trial awards in the 1980s at such a consistently high level to secure a top-twenty place in the WATFA table for dogs with 95 points and a joint 17th place. Two 1st places in Novice helped secure this position.

There were other successful owner-handlers whose dogs won multiple field awards in this most productive of decades for the hunting Weimaraner. Although they do not make the top twenty, they do deserve a mention: Aucassin of Llangynog (d) (h: ND Elder) (6 awards), Bredebeck Sophie (b) (h: E Hardman) (4 awards), Hofstetter Beau (d) (o: M Booker) (5 awards), Fineshade Quail Run (b) (h: T Horsefield) (3 awards).

In 1986 the first ever HPR Championship was run on behalf of the Kennel Club by the HPR Field Trial Association. It was to run on a further 10 occasions before the Kennel Club suspended it due to falling entries (as opposed to lack of qualifiers). The last Championship to be run under HPRFTA auspices was in 1996, and it was suspended from the 1999 season, only being re-established in the autumn of 2013 and run directly by the Kennel Club. Only two weimaraners were to run in the HPR Championship: Wobrooke of Fleetapple (d), later a Field Trial Champion, qualified in October 1987, and Tasairgid Talked About (d) qualified in November 1987. Neither Weimaraner was placed in an HPR Championship. Waldemar Titus’s (d) 2nd place in an Open stake in October 1977 pre-dates the inception of the HPR Championship, but would have qualified him had there been one run in that era.


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