Published by the British Gordon Setter Club in The Gordoner during the 2010s(?). Images added later.
The Story of Carek Gordon Setters and the influence they have had on the breed
Yvonne Horrocks is well known throughout the Setter world and acquired her first Gordon after many years of success with her Irish Setters. She had watched Gordons being exhibited for quite some time when her eye was particularly taken by a very young attractive bitch who was causing quite a sensation as she won two challenge certificates while a puppy. Owned by Mr and Mrs Fanning, she was almost unbeatable in her time and became Sh Ch Cuprea Penny Black, whelped 12th June 1970 and accounted for eleven CCs. Tragically, she died at just three years old and shortly after her demise, the Fannings emigrated to Canada.
Fortunately, Penny Black had been mated to Deerswood Raven and produced one litter, which was born on 23rd November 1972 from which Yvonne bought her foundation Gordon, the bitch Cuprea Black Velvet. Velvet was never much of a showgirl but did win one CC and a RCC. She was a bitch who well and truly proved her worth as a brood bitch. She was mated to Sh Ch Caerlanrig Adonis, bred by W. Drummond Kerr, and in fact litter brother to Penny Black. He was also a great ambassador for the breed and had won twenty-five CCs. Mrs Beckett, who did not enjoy good health, originally owned him so latterly he was normally handled by someone else at shows, an indicator of his tremendous temperament. When Mrs Beckett died, he went to Geoff and the late Alicia Coupe’s Timadon kennels in partnership with Greg Browne of Australia, for whom he won steadily.
From this mating, in 1975, Velvet produced Sh Ch Carek Blue Angel, who remained with Yvonne, and Blue Chiffon who went to Maureen Justice and became the foundation of the Liric kennel. Blue Angel won four CCs.
In 1977, Velvet produced Sh Ch C Silver Dawn, this time sired by Sh Ch Gaelsett Storm. Dawn was the first of two Carek Gordon bitches that went to Margo Cowe’s Rossend kennels, the other being Sh Ch C Grey Dove of Rossend. Dawn won five CCs including the CC at Crufts ’81. She had gained her title at Driffield in 1980 from the late Jeanette Allan, (Swanley). She was sadly retired from the show ring due to an accident but did however leave her mark as a dam, producing from her first litter by Sh Ch Swanley Strathbeg, Sh Ch Rossend Glentochty of Dunfionn, who was owned by Rhona Frew, who also went on to produce titled Gordons in the form of Sh Ch Dunfionn Arran and litter sister Sh Ch Dunfionn Barra of Rossend. Dawn’s second litter was sired by Sh Ch Dudmoor Mylton of Lourdace and from this came Sh Ch Rossend Gaelic Drover of Dunfionn, again owned by Rhona. He also went on to leave his stamp on the breed, siring a number of Sh Ch’s, which included Gladstone of Lourace, who was Top Gordon for a number of years, Gosshawk of Lourdace, Breightonside Dark Avenger, Annickbank Glengoyne of Cromasaig as well as other CC winners.
Velvet’s next litter was by Jamie of Timadon and was whelped in May 1979. From that came Sh Ch C Black Witch, owned by Jenny Coombs of the Slippen affix. She was never heavily campaigned but gained five CCs between 1980–86. Black Witch only produced one litter, which was sired by Bronze Clansman, from which came the male Sh Ch’s Slippen Thor and Slippen Hercules and the CC winning bitch S.Andromeda.
Velvet’s final litter was sired by Sh Ch Timadon Brigadoon and whelped in July 1982. Yvonne always had a colour theme for each of her litters and these pups all had the colour purple included in their registered names. From this litter came C Purple Piper, who was not shown but around about this time, Gordon setter breeders became particularly concerned about hip dysplasia within the breed, and as he had a total hip score of two, he was a major stud force.
Blue Angel won four CCs, although she was never fond of showing. She only had two litters, the first was whelped in January 1978, sired by C Red Admiral, who although bred and owned by Yvonne had been sired by Burnbreck Herb of Grace out of Inkersall Goldcrest, a bitch that Yvonne acquired who was bred by John and Jayne Mawer. Red Admiral was never shown. From this mating came the one time male record holding Sh Ch C Bronze Clansman, a significant dog, who dominated the show ring from 1980–84 during which time he amassed a total of thirty two CCs. ‘Winston’ as he was known at home was owned and campaigned by Maureen Hart (nowadays known as Maureen Wilkes) and they had a tremendous rapport. He won four General Championship Show Gundog groups as well as numerous placings and a Pedigree Chum Champion Stakes final, the first Gordon ever to do so. He was also short listed into the final six in the Gundog Group at Crufts in 1984. He went on to produce, amongst others Carol Gill’s C Pink Lady of Diptonia who was the dam of Sh Ch Diptonia Pimpernel, one of only three Gordons to achieve BIS at the prestigious Setter and Pointer Club show; Linda Hall’s Melview Major who when mated to Wickenberry Magnolia at C produced Dorothy Park’s Sh Ch/Ir Sh Ch C Sno Lady at Ladysdale.
In April 1980, Blue Angel whelped her second litter this time sired by Sh Ch Dudmoor Mylton of Lourdace who was owned by José Baddeley. This mating produced Margo Cowe’s Sh Ch C Grey Dove of Rossend and Pam and Dave McIlroy’s Sh Ch C Grey Badger. Before being transferred to Margo’s ownership, Yvonne bred a litter from Grey Dove and had used Bronze Clansman; from this came the CC winning bitch C All Gold, who became a significant bitch in the breed for her breeding potential.
During the period 1981–86, Grey Badger won a total of fifteen CC. Badger produced two Sh Ch’s for the Wallbank kennel when mated to Ric and Jill Dixon’s Majestic Doe at Wallbank, these being Sh Ch W Black Bryony and Chris and Lynn Davis’ Sh Ch W. Bluebell. In this litter was also the bitch W. Bittersweet who went on to produce Angela Backler’s Sh Ch W. Sweet Success who in turn from two different sires produced the Sh Ch’s Kalinish Gaelic Success, who was Top Gordon in 1997, Chris and Lyn Davis’ K. Gaelic Dream of Shehallion, Jan and Robin Cunningham’s K. Celtic Hero and other CC winners. W.Bittersweet was also the dam to Sh Ch Wallbank Sporting Luck who went on to produce Sh Ch Wallbank Lucky Lady. Badger was also the sire of Pauline Quarterman’s Sh Ch Elmdeyne Black Rider and Pam and Dave McIlroy’s Sh Ch Cerimor Kings Ransom.
C All Gold was the bitch retained by Yvonne from the Bronze Clansman and Grey Dove mating. ‘Terry’ as she was known possessed a superb head but never had a heavy coat so only won one CC, under Cecily Robertshaw at LKA in 1986.
However, again her true value was in her breeding potential combining all the threads of the carefully line bred Carek dynasty. Mated to Purple Piper, Terry produced C Sara-Brown who went to Carol Moore’s Gadhelic kennel but sadly only produced one puppy before her untimely death. Contained in the litter was also C. Hattie-Brown who went to Jean Quinn who was already well known for her very successful Wickenberry Irish Setters.
‘Hattie’ had two litters that were sired by Maureen Justice’s dog, Sh Ch Lourdace Mineer of Liric. Born in September ’86 was the ‘M’ litter which included Wickenberry Magnolia at C, a bitch who went back to Yvonne; W. Melissa at Yorgon owned by Anne Digby; the unshown male, W.Maverick at Liric owned by Maureen Justice and the showgirl in the litter, Sh Ch Wickenberry Mystique, who was the foundation Gordon bitch of Bonnie and Ronnie Scougall’s Shannas line.
All of these went on to produce titled Gordons and the mating was repeated in December ’87. This time the two bitches of significance were W. Harmony who won one CC for Jane Mugford and W. Hallmark who was retained by Jean and when mated to Anna Weir’s Sh Ch Lochfain the Noble Dragon, produced Maureen Justice’s top winning Sh Ch Wickenberry Philosopher at Liric, Top Gordon ’92 and winner of seventeen CCs and Jan and Robin Cunningham’s CC winning W. Picador at Aonachdubh.
Sh Ch Wickenberry Philosopher at Liric sired Hattie’s third litter, which was whelped in January ’92 but only comprised two pups, a dog and a bitch born by caesarian section, hence their registered names, W. Caesar and W. Cleopatra, both owned by Sandra Dyson. Peggy Grayson awarded Caesar the DCC at the Gordon Setter Club of Scotland show when he was in Veteran, much to Sandra’s delight.
Over more recent years, particularly since a frightening accident when she was holidaying in Portugal during the summer of 2002, Yvonne has not been able to keep her Gordons and while her dedication to the breed continues, the Carek lines are predominantly but not solely kept to the fore by the progeny from the Wickenberry ‘M’ litter.
Magnolia’s first litter whelped in March ’89 and was sired by Anna Weir’s Sh Ch Lochfain the Noble Dragon. From this litter came Steve and Sandi Sheppard’s Sh Ch C Cream Cracker, who won thirteen CCs.
Cracker produced Rachel Abba’s dual CC winning Willsteve Tuxedo Junction and Pete and Chris Sandiford’s Sh Ch Hernwood Mystic Crystal who in turn was the dam of Debra Harker’s Sh Ch/Irish Sh Ch Hernwood Crystal Graphite, a group winner on the Irish circuit.
When Magnolia was mated to Melview Major in February ’91 she produced Dorothy Park’s Sh Ch/Irish Sh Ch C Sno Lady at Ladysdale, who won three CCs and was best in match at the GSA Contest of Champions in 1996. She provided the Gordon foundation for Dorothy’s Ladysdale kennel based in Northern Ireland. Magnolia was then mated to Sh Ch Wickenberry Philosopher at Liric in February ‘92, and produced Sh Ch C Wild Horse who was owned by Deanne Crane, winner of eight CCs.
For Anne Digby, Wickenberry Melissa at Yorgon produced the litter mates whelped in June ’88 sired by Sh Ch Dudmoor Mylton of Lourdace, Sh Ch Yorgon Sterling and the bitch Sh Ch Yorgon Brodie. Sterling is significant as the sire of Sh Ch Glynderys High n Mighty with Liric, Top Gordon ’99 and winner of fifteen CCs, when he was paired with Marian Thomas’ Sh Ch Liric Mystic Moon.
Wickenberry Maverick made his mark as the sire of Int Ch Liric a Star is Born who was bred by Maureen Justice and exported to the Ludstar kennel of Michele and Ludovica Ivaldi as a youngster, where she went on to be their foundation bitch.
Sh Ch Wickenberry Mystique was purchased as a Christmas present for Ronnie Scougall after he had spent a lot of time admiring Hattie-Brown and she enjoyed a very successful career right from her puppy classes, loving being in the show ring. ‘Misty’ produced two litters, the first to Paul and Sue Woodland’s Winterwood Willow who were whelped at the end of October ’89. Two bitches were retained from this litter, Sh Ch Shannas Midnight Shadow and the unshown S.Midnight Breeze. Both these bitches were eventually mated to Sh Ch Wickenberry Philosopher at Liric and each only had one litter. Midnight Shadow produced the CC winning S. Family Affair, who in turn when mated to Sh Ch Glynderys High n Mighty with Liric produced the Group winning Sh Ch Shannas Solitaire, Top Gordon ‘04, who has now been retired from exhibition. Also in this litter was a male, S. Family Fortune who eventually went to live with Yvonne having had a rather traumatic time as a youngster. He proved his worth as a stud dog, siring amongst others Frances Boxall’s Sh Ch Laurelhach Forget-me-not, Marian Thomas’ Sh Ch Liric Mystic Moon and also José Baddeley’s C Dark Command.
Midnight Breeze produced the males, Irish Sh Ch S.Editor to Ladysdale and also the CC winning Multi Ch S. Journalist, who has also proved to be a highly successful sire, both in the UK and overseas for his owners, Michele and Ludovica Ivaldi of the Ludstar Kennels based in Italy.
Mystique’s only other litter produced six bitches, none of which were really shown. S.Romance was retained and enjoyed some success as a youngster but then had to be retired from exhibition due to an accident. Romance whelped two litters both of which produced show champions and the first born in September ’98 to Sh Ch Glynderys High n Mighty with Liric, included the Group winner, Sh Ch. S. Daimler who amongst his many awards was Top Gordon ’01 and ’02, winner of twenty-six CCs, BIS at Setter and Pointer Club 2000 and he went on to produce championship show group winning and titled stock.
There are other Gordons of Carek breeding who must be mentioned, Sh Ch C Ebony Tusker, Top Gordon ’93, who was sired by Sh Ch Lourdace Mineer of Liric and out of a litter whelped in July ’86 from C Purple Velvet, a litter sister to Purple Piper. ‘Tusker’ was handled by Yvonne’s son, Derek to nineteen CCs, frequently competing with Cream Cracker. When mated to C Cream Soda, litter sister to Cracker, the mating produced Sh Ch C Windrose at Liric who went to Maureen Justice. Successfully campaigned by Maureen to her title Windrose went on to produce Sh Ch Liric Top of the Bill at Dunfionn who was owned by Rhona Frew. After presenting Tusker with the CC at Crufts 1993, Muireall Scott describes him as: headed a very strong class, this was his day, quality dog of good size and substance, very attractive, masculine head, good shoulders, well ribbed up, powerful hindquarters, lovely coat and good colour, so well balanced and moved with drive.
C Dark Command was sired by Shannas Family Fortune ex C Blue Belle but although he was very seldom exhibited by his owner José Baddeley, he was used well at stud and has to date produced a number of Gordons who have gained their title and other CC winners many of which are still being campaigned, so are not listed here.
This profile has only touched on the surface of the enormous amount of success and the huge number of Gordons which have contributed to the legacy and ongoing success of many Gordon kennels and has by necessity been restricted to those who have fairly direct descendents. Apologies are extended to any who may have inadvertently been missed which is purely unintentional.
In the majority of cases this kennel has combined a very strong bitch line with the leading stud dogs of the last three decades to produce the majority of the top winning Gordons in the show ring – a tremendous achievement by a person who has dedicated herself to dogs. Yvonne has also served the breed at breed club level, where she has worn almost every hat, culminating as serving as President of the GSA on two occasions from 1990-94 and 2002-03 when failing health was a contributory factor to her relinquishing the post and her committee involvement.
Yvonne has awarded CCs in Gordons on numerous occasions including Crufts 2001 when her major award winners were DCC/BOB Maureen Justice’s Sh Ch Glynderys High n’Mighty with Liric with the BCC going to Jane Osborn’s Ch Portroyal Swirl of Boyers.
Hopefully in the future there may again be Carek Gordons but in the meantime, Yvonne has gone full circle and is enjoying the company of her present Irish setter, whose name is, yes you may have guessed ‘Velvet’.
Update: Sadly, Yvonne died on Sunday, 13 December 2020, aged 96 years. She will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, my dear friend.
I have written a short obituary, Yvonne Horrocks (Carek); I will do a more detailed version in coming weeks.