Dogs of Importance…

12 – 13

Sharnberry Shooter

Shooter was a mix of the very best from Captain Parlour’s famous kennel. His mother Fleur, who later was sold to France, was out of the old lines the Captain had been working with for thirty years. Fleur was sired by the legendary 1970 Champion Stake winner Sharnberry Redbracken (later sold to USA).

Shooter’s father Mattahroo (later sold to Japan) was from the Irish lines later mixed into the kennel. Mattahroo was a brother of Champion Stake winners Glenahroo and Little Do-Di and also Sunset Pride. Mattahroo himself won the English Setter Cup and was runner-up in the 1973 Champion Stake.

Sharnberry Shooter arrived New Zealand in the early 1970s after a long and not very pleasant trip by boat. He joined Leon’s successful team of dogs whom at the time among others included Wingfield Annie and the pointer Marnissa Mariner.

Leon just after having won his last trial with Wingfield Xtra

Shooter had a hunting passion, drive and speed, never seen in New Zealand before (and perhaps never after). He was a very impressive dog to watch running, and in Leon’s own words “Most people thought he was the best dog they ever had seen, but they didn’t have to train him…” Leon handled him to FTCh and also won the 1976 North Island Championship with him. At stud Leon was afraid he would throw pups which would be too difficult for the average hunter / trainer. He turned out to give some excellent progeny both in the first generation, and even more so in the second generation, often also successfully line bred on him. In hindsight he should probably have had more matings than he did. Leon also with success used a Shooter-son called Tad of Colchicus to sire his K, M and N-litters. He also used another son called Wingfield Gunman and daughters Wingfield Honey, Wingfield Jemima and Wingfield Kandy. In the later Wingfield litters, Shooter was found 3 times behind the V and W-litters and 5 times behind the X-litter. Leon’s characteristic of the dog: “He was a trial dog pure and simple.”

Marnissa Mariner

Leon spent 6 months working in Melbourne, Australia in the late 1960s. There he met the leading Australian pointer breeder/trialist Jack Pontin. Pontin was very much an Australian version of the Danish legend Peter Jensen (Zita pointer kennel). Leon saw Pontin handle his two dual champions Marnissa Moira and Marnissa Mogul in the final run of a trial. “These two dogs put on an exhibition of sustained brilliant bird work. These dogs were of pure Blackfield breeding, from the exceptional G and F litters. When Pontin bred Marnissa Moira with her father Blackfield Garry, Leon had already ordered a pup. That way Marnissa Mariner came to New Zealand. In Australia two of his siblings became top dogs: Dual Ch Marnissa Marsden and FTCh Marnissa Marilyn.

Mariner arrived in New Zealand at fourteen weeks. He was soon to display a great natural ability to range and find birds, all done at a blinding speed. He won his first of two North Island Championships at eighteen months old. “His run was one of the most memorable during forty years of trialing.” He gained his FTCh-title. Unfortunately he later got some health problems and proved to be sterile.

FTCh Marnissa Mariner on point in 1971