Brighton young handler achieves double success at Crufts

Lauren Goddard and Winston at Crufts 2024. Credit Yulia Titovets and The Kennel Club

Lauren Goddard aged 18 from Brighton, and Winston (Ch Awbrooksky Never Back Down JW), a three-year-old Border Terrier, have achieved a double victory after winning both the Young Kennel Club (YKC) Handler of the Year award, and the YKC Stakes, both sponsored by Royal Canin, at the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts.

Qualifiers for YKC Handler of the Year were held across the country throughout the year, where YKC members competed in age categories: 6-11, 12-17 and 18-24 years. The first place in each age group qualified for their respective finals at Crufts, with Lauren and Winston taking the ultimate title of YKC Handler of the Year in the YKC ring on Sunday 10 March.

YKC Stakes qualifying classes were held at championship shows across the UK in 2023, and Lauren and Winston beat six other talented young handlers and their dogs to be crowned the winner of the YKC Stakes competition on Sunday 10 March, in the Resorts World Arena at Crufts.

Proud winner Lauren said: “It is a lot of pressure, and I was against some really good handlers, but I am over the moon! Winston always does his best and puts so much effort in, so I try not to let him down. He’s got the best temperament you can ever imagine, he’s perfect with all humans and animals, including turkeys and chickens!

“Young Kennel Club is so good to be involved in. You make lots of friends through it but don’t put too much pressure on yourself, just enjoy it!”

Helen Kerfoot, Crufts Show Manager said: “Very well done to Lauren for her well-deserved double win with Winston, she should be incredibly proud. The pair demonstrated a high level of skill and teamwork throughout their time at Crufts, which was so impressive for such a young handler. 

“We are looking forward to seeing what the pair will achieve at future Crufts!”

If you would like to find out more about the Young Kennel Club and how to join please contact the YKC team by emailing The YKC or visit The Kennel Club Website