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Winner Profiles


Breeding Champions

An interview with Best in Show winner Carrie Payne


How many years have you been attending the Royal Melbourne Show All Breeds Championship Show?

My first Royal Melbourne Show was in the late 1970s or early 1980s. I’m pretty sure that I’ve attended every year since, with one exception when my mother was very ill.

This was my third Best in Show and sixth Best in Group. These wins, along with many other Challenge and Best of Breed wins, were with my beloved Irish Setters; however, I’ve also had breed level success with Curly Coated Retrievers.

Some people may remember my Irish Setter ‘Gus the Wonderdog’ (Ch Eireannmada Act O’Defiance UD ET TD) competing in the Utility obedience class. Given the choice between ‘Speak on Command’ and ‘Food Refusal’, I chose the latter on the basis that he was marginally more reliable at leaving food than barking. No such luck! He looked at the bowl of food, thanked the judge with a wag of his tail, and ate the lot! Just as well there are plenty of good humoured obedience people around who could see the funny side!

How were you able to produce a Royal Melbourne Show All Breeds Championship Show winner?

The short answer is investment in learning, time and dedication.

The longer answer is that I bought an American bitch (Am/Au Ch Cairncross Flirting With Tullane) in 2007 from Renette Berggren (Cairncross Irish Setters, Colorado) who has a very long track record of producing excellent dogs. I’d observed and admired Renette’s dogs since 1992 when I first attended the Irish Setter Club of America National, and appreciated her ability to breed well constructed, sound dogs. I am very grateful to Renette for having such faith in me and my commitment to the breed.

Finding a stud dog for this bitch was not an easy task. I had several of my own stud dogs, but none were suitable for her, so I chose a dog (Ch Martinridge Wild Wind ET) who I first saw in 2005 when he was about 6 years old. I am equally grateful to his owner/breeder, Bernie Martin (Martinridge Irish Setters, South Australia), for allowing me to breed to her dog.

Can you tell us about your positive experiences with the Royal Melbourne Show All Breeds Championship Show?

It’s hard to beat General Specials day as an exhibitor. There is something happening all day to keep dedicated breeders and exhibitors busy and engaged.

‘Breed days’ also keep people on their toes, especially now that some breed clubs hold their specialty show on the same day. In addition, trainee judges have the opportunity to assess some excellent dogs and be mentored by very knowledgeable and dedicated advisors.

What makes the Royal Melbourne Show All Breeds Championship Show special?

It’s a very prestigious show that’s looking forward, always trying to make it a better experience for all stakeholders.

What did this win mean to you?

Lots of tears and emotion! No one else has won Best in Show at the Royal Melbourne Show on three occasions with three different dogs. I pinch myself when I look at the beautiful portrait of all three winners.