The Twoacres Kennel belonged to Mrs June E Coates, my mother, who bred Irish Setters and Cavalier Spaniels. She gave CC’s in both of these breeds as well as English Setters and Pointers. She awarded her first set of CC’s in 1972 at National Gundog in Harrogate, when she awarded CC’s for the last time, judging Irish Setter bitches at Midlands Irish Setter Society Championship Show in February 2000, it was the 30th time she had awarded CC’s. As a judge she was highly respected for her experience, integrity and honesty, reflected in the size of her entries. When she judged Irish Setters at Crufts in 1981, she was one of the judges who sent forward Ch Astley’s Portia of Rua, who was the first Irish Setter to win BIS at Crufts, making breed history in the process. She was due to judge Cavaliers at Crufts in 2001, but this was not to be, as sadly she died in July 2000. June was a member of the Kennel Club from 1975 until her death and served as a committee member, as well as Secretary of the Irish Setter Breeders Club for a number of years.
June bought her first Irish in 1964. She was Moirabank Sigrid, ‘Sheba’. She was bought as a pet, but like many of us, June was persuaded to show her when she met a well meaning lady, who told her she had a very nice bitch who she should show. June always said that lady had a lot to answer for! Although only acquired as a pet, Sheba did have some success in the show ring.
Then in 1965 June acquired a bitch from Wilf Foulds called Musbury Melisande. She was line bred to Sh Ch Brackenfield Hartsbourne Bronze, proving herself to be a great brood bitch by producing many winners when mated to Sh Ch Wendover Gentleman, one of the breed’s greatest stud dogs, in 1968. When the litter by Sh Ch Wendover Gentleman was born, it was later to be so successful, that it became known here and abroad, simply as the ‘T’ Litter.
Melisande and Gentleman produced a litter that provided the breed with a record number of winners in one litter. The ‘T’ Litter contained 4 Show Champions – Twoacres Troilus, Tamburlaine, Traviata and Teresa as well as the dual CC winner, Triton, who was unlucky not to win his title and Tosca, a Stud Book Entrant. Traviata and Teresa won 7 CC’s and 6 CC’s respectively, plus many RCC’s. Tamburlaine, won Best In Show all breeds at Windsor in 1970.
Troilus was by far the most successful show dog of the litter, winning 21 CC’s, 15 RCC’s, 3 Groups, a Championship Best In Show at Belfast in 1971 and Irish Setter of the Year in 1971, replacing his sire as the top CC winner. His prowess as a sire was equally successful, being Stud Dog of the Year for three consecutive years: 1974, 1975 & 1976, winning the Mars Stud Dog Trophy.
Troy had over 800 registered progeny and in all his stud career, he never refused to mate a bitch brought to him. He was a clever and reliable prepotent stud dog, who very rarely missed to a bitch. It can never be denied that he earned his place in our breed history. June took great pleasure from the wins of Troy’s progeny, there were so many good ones as he had the opportunity to mate some very influential bitches. He had the facility to produce not just the odd winner, but several in so many litters, notably to Sh Ch Morningstar Melanie, Wendover Bonnie, as well as Sh Ch Cornevon Primrose and Sh Ch Cornevon Cinderella, producing in all, 11 CC winners and 6 Show Champions in this country, in addition to several overseas Champions. He also produced another 7 progeny who were RCC winners and another 13 who were Stud Book entrants. Between them, this litter won 39 CC’s, 4 Gundog Groups, 4 Reserve Gundog Groups and 2 Best in Show.
Several other kennels had their foundations in the ‘T’ litter, namely; Barleydale, Carek, Wickenberry, Goldings and Crimbledale. In turn behind these kenels and their lines are many others who have descendents from the Twoacres lines. The mating between Sh Ch Twoacres Troilus and Sh Ch Cornevon Primrose and his mating to Sh Ch Cornevon Cinderella, in breed terms was highly significant. Sh Ch Twoacres Troilus and later Sh Ch Twoacres Gold Eagle were both historically a great influence on the breed.
Troilus’s sister, Twoacres Tosca, was mated to Timadon Kendel, which produced Twocres Francesca, who was the first to be test-mated when PRA first reared it’s ugly head in the 1970′s. Troilus’s mating with Sh Ch Cornevon Cinderella produced Solace of Twoacres, who won a CC as a junior. When she was in turn mated to Wendover Treasurer, she produced Sh Ch Twoacres Gold Eagle, who himself sired four Show Champions. In 1978, June bought Wendover Sportsgirl from the mating between Baron of Wendover and Wendover Lupina. She won a CC and a RCC, but disliked showing. She was test-mated and all the bitches that June owned at the time of her death, as well as the recent ‘Twoacres’ are all descended from her. They include: Sh Ch Twoacres Jade, 3CC’s & 3RCC’s, Twoacres Finesse, Twoacres Flame, Twoacres Fergus, 2CC’s, Twoacres Kavanagh, 1CC, Twoacres Kittiwake at Glenvarna, Stud Book Entrant, Twoacres Favourite with Lydull, Twoacres Flare for Lydull, Stud Book Entrant, Twoacres Joker The Hooley, Stud Book Entrant, Twoacres Jasmine, Twoacres Flashman & Twoacres Foxhunter.
When the problem of PRA hit the breed in the 1970′s, it caused both recriminations and heartache, but with her usual strength of character and honesty, June faced the problem head on, steadfastly holding true to her beliefs. The work that she did, along with several others, including W. Rasbridge was not only important and significant, but was also invaluable, as their test mating programs made it possible for the scientists to work on the disease. This eventually led to the successful outcome of them discovering the faulty DNA, which caused this disease and ultimately to the creation of the DNA test we now have today, which has enabled the condition to be eradicated. June Coates therefore truly earnt her place in the history of the breed.
Since her death, the Twoacres Affix has been carried on by myself, her daughter Gillian Kennedy-Sloane.