The South African Crufts Connection


Compiled & Written

By Mark & Bridget Simpson

February 2014


Crufts Best in Show Trophy jpg

The famous Keddel Memorial Floating Trophy

All Crufts best-in-Show Winners are photographed with this trophy

Scouring through some Setter memorabilia we mused over the great Irish Setters that were judged Best-in-Show at Crufts (UK) in the 20th Century and their influence on the local South African Setter scene.

Ironically there was no dog judged Crufts Best-in-Show (Supreme Champion) prior to1928. The first dog awarded the title was a Greyhound PRIMLEY SCEPTRE with English Pointer STAINTON SPECIAL QUALITY Reserve Best in Show from an entry of 9,466 dogs.

Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Countess Howe’s Labrador Retrievers and particularly H.S. Lloyd’s “Ware” Cocker Spaniels dominated as Crufts Best-in-Show winners and when the show resumed in 1948 it was Lloyd’s Cocker Spaniel TRACY WITCH OF WARE who was awarded the top spot, repeating this success in 1950.

IRISH SETTERS waited until 1981 for their first winner.  In that year judge Bobby James gave the top spot to Miss C. H. & Mrs. M. Tuite’s CH. ASTLEY’S PORTIA OF RUA, the only Irish bitch and the only Setter with a field qualification to win Best-in-Show at Crufts.

Ch Astleys Portia of Rua

Ch & Crufts Supreme Ch. Astley’s Portia Of Rua

Born 7th September 1975

Sire: Rua’s Damian’s Dandy Avanti      Dam: Saffron’s Girl

The Tuite family enjoyed gundog field work and they were particularly proud of Portia’s win in the Novice Stake at the North of Scotland Gundog Association Trial in August 1980.

Portia’s connections to South Africa are through her GGG.Grandsire, Redsun Roland of the Rand bred by Mrs. E. McBride and exported from SA to Ireland with his owner Father J.B. Doran where Mrs. Maureen McKeever used him at stud to her Derrycarne bitches.


D.O.B. 16 August 1959

Redsun Roland pedigree


B SA Ch Redsun Regan(12)

SA Ch Redsun Regan

Grandmother to Redsun Roland Of The Rand

The 1990’s were “golden years” for Irish Setters at Crufts with a trio of wins.  Jackie  Lorrimer’s father and son team of SH.CH. DANAWAY DEBONAIR and SH. CH. CASPIANS INTREPID were both judged Best-in-Show at Crufts in 1993 and 1999 respectively and Mrs. R. Shaw-Rainey & Mr. T. Rainey’s SH. CH. STARCHELLE CHICAGO BEAR was crowned Supreme Champion at Crufts in 1995. All three have left their mark on South African bred Irish Setters, indeed one would find it difficult to find a pedigree that did not have at least one of the three in their ancestry.

Caspians Intrepid & Danaway Debonair

Sh Ch Caspians Intrepid      and his father      Sh Ch Danaway Debonair

D.O.B. 17 April 1993                                                    D.O.B. 27 February 1987

Dam: Sh Ch Caspians Night Music                                    Sire: Sh Ch Kerryfair Night Fever

                                                                                                                               Dam: Sh Ch Disco Dancer Of Danaway

SH. CH. DANAWAY DEBONAIR was bred by Mr.& Mrs. B. Gurney and nicknamed “DD” by his owner. He held the breed record for the greatest number of Challenge Certificates awarded in the breed, a record which was only surpassed by his son, Intrepid .

Danaway Debonair

Jackie Lorrimer with Sh Ch Danaway Debonair

Best-in-Show at Crufts 1993

The influence of Debonair on South African Irish Setters came via Mrs. Colleen Tookey’s (nee Channon) importation of WYNJILL DARK ‘N DARING OF DANOAK born on 29th March 1994 and bred by Mrs. J.E. Holley out of their homebred bitch Wynjill Hope ‘n Glory. He acquitted himself well in the showring achieving his South African Championship title with many Group placings.

Today SA Ch Wynjill  Dark ‘n Daring of Danoak appears in the pedigree ancestry of  Irish Setters bred by the Mark & Bridget Simpson’s Oakdale, Chris & Karen Black’s Karisah, Estelle Meiring’s Meiomie and  Doug Robinson’s Southern Star kennels.

Ch Wynjill Dark 'n Daring of Danoak

SA Ch Wynjill Dark ‘N Daring Of Danoak

SH. CH. CASPIAN’S INTREPID,  known as “JJ” to his friends, was bred by Mr. & Mrs. M.J.Oakley out of Sh. Ch. Caspians Night Music, thus he was the progeny of a  half brother/sister mating.  Born on 17th April 1993, he had an outstanding show career during which he accumulated a staggering 67 Challenge Certificates to hold the breed record and sired a total of 623 pups in 80 litters in UK alone.

Sh.Ch.Caspians Intrepid


Sh Ch Caspians Intrepid

Jackie Lorrimer and Sh Ch Caspians Intrepid winner of Crufts 1999

Intrepid’s influence on Irish Setters in SA came via the importation of semen .

Only two male progeny were produced, both bred by Melanie de Jongh.  SA CH. ARDMORE LORD O’t DANCE OF DANOAK born on 14.03.2001 out of   SA Ch. Thendara Love You Millions at Ardmore (Imp UK) and the other ARDMORE SPIRIT O’t DANCE born on 11.06.2003 out of Ardmore Regal Rose.  These Intrepid sons appear in the ancestry of current progeny from Melanie de Jongh’s Ardmore, Peter & Gale Green’s Fenris and Chris & Karen Black’s Karisah kennels.

1995 saw another Irish Setter star at Crufts in SH CH. STARCHELLE CHICAGO BEAR born on 17th October 1990 in the wilds of Yorkshire by owner/breeder Miss. H. R. Shaw. “Joshua” was handled by Rachel to be crowned Crufts Best-in-Show.

Sh.Ch.Starchelle Chicago Bear.2


Starchelle Chicago Bear



Sh.Ch.Starchelle Chicago Bear


The influence of Starchelle Chicago Bear on South African Irish Setters came via the importation of SA.CH.CATALUNA RED WINE OF MOONDANCER by Kate d’Avries.  He was born in a litter of 11 pups on 5th October 1998 and bred by Mrs R. E. A. Rose-Hay out of her homebred Cataluna Au Contraire.

“Rafferty” as he was known, led a carefree life with Kate romping through the Wilderness hillside, but always wore his “best bib and tucker” when it came to show time. Kate handled him to many Best of Breed and Group placings in his career in the ring.

“Rafferty” was always eager to welcome the Irish ladies from the Simpson’s Oakdale kennel for mating and can be found in the ancestry of their current Pedigrees, together with those of Estelle Meiring’s Meiomie, the Black’s Karisah and Doug Robinson’s Southern Star Irish Setters.

Cataluna Red Wine of Moondancer

SA Ch Cataluna Red Wine Of Moondancer

South African breeders have wisely used the best of British bred Irish Setter lines available in SA.  As the 2013 Kennel Union of Southern Africa NATIONAL GUNDOG CHAMPION OAKDALE’S O’DRISCOLL bares testimony.  His G.grandparent is SA Ch. Cataluna Red Wine of Moondancer and his GG grandparent, SA Ch. Wynjill Dark ‘n Daring of Danoak on his dam’s side of the family, both sired by UK Crufts Best-in-Show winners.



SA  Ch.  Oakdale’s O’Driscoll KUSA National Gundog 2013

    Seen here winning Top Gundog in Western Province (SA) Competition Dec 2013

                     Handled by Mandy Brooks for owners Mr. A. & Ms R. Wonfor