Anyone who followed the preparations for the 2018 World Show at Cesena will be aware that this was going to be a special edition: a record number of show birds, a show hall with good natural lighting, and the likelihood of a strong team of Lizard canaries from the host nation. All this was set against a background of several changes to the Lizard section, including the expanded classification and the new COM scale of points. What we didn’t expect was that no less than six judges would be employed to assess the Lizards; an extraordinary state of affairs.
In Part 1 of my World Show report I will take a look at the birds themselves; in Part 2 I will comment on the wider issues that arose at Cesena.
I had an advantage over many visitors to the show because I had seen many of the British, Belgian and Italian Lizards in the autumn. In the absence of Antonio Petraroli, I expected the Belgian breeders to have the upper hand at the World Show, but the Italians had two aces up their sleeve: Giorgio Massarutto and Domenico Mungiguerra. Their birds were absent at Bologna because they had elected to save them for Reggio Emilia the following week. Had I seen them, I would not have hesitated to make the Italians favourites.
The results speak for themselves. Giorgio Massarutto came top of the medal table with 5 golds and 1 silver; Jules Etienne was second with 1 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze; Domenico Mungiguerra third with 1 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze. No one else won more than 2 medals. (1)
There is no doubt in my mind that the medal table was a fair reflection of the top Lizard breeders at the show. We can always debate the relative merits of the top birds, and perhaps shuffle the order a little, but these three breeders deserved their success. Their birds had several characteristics in common: good spangles and rowings, dark legs, good caps (for the most part), broad shoulders and a bold physique to display their markings. My one reservation lies in their ground colour. Most Italian breeders use lutein supplements, and their Lizards tend to have a false brassy tint in their plumage. This shouldn’t be necessary if you breed for colour.
It was good to see some new names amongst the prize winners. Furio Coppelli’s birds had flourished since I saw them at Bologna; Lloyd Le Page and Tony Horton are relative newcomers to Lizards, but that didn’t deter them taking on the best in the world; I don’t know José Medina or Gabriele Da Ros, but they proved that sometimes dreams do come true.
There were some surprises too. I had expected great things of Bart Decker’s show team, but things didn’t work out on the day. There was no Vincent Cocquet, but the birds were entered in the name of his wife Collette. I hope all is well. A personal disappointment was that Fernand Moes did not send any birds; they are much better than he gives them credit for.
I still haven’t mentioned the likes of Stan Bolton, Alfons Tebroke, Mauro Calvi, Gianmarco Orazi, Joe Coakley, Alessandro Gaiazzi, Fabio Macchioni, Steffan Sonntag, Jac Gubbels, Pietro Botrugno, Angelo Citro and Paulo Vicidomini amongst others. They all had birds that caught the eye.
Three more observations on the birds before I bring Part 1 to a close:
I was impressed not only by the number of cock birds at the show, but also by their quality. To prove the point, Giorgio Massarutto’s clear cap silver won a gold medal (see above). More on this in Part 2.
Tony Horton scored a notable triumph in gaining a bronze medal with a colour-fed Lizard; the first time this has been achieved to the best of my knowledge.
My opinion of the overall quality of the Lizards at Cesena? Probably the best I have ever seen at the World Show.
- This is Fine Spangled Sort. My interest is confined to classic Lizards.
- As always with the photo gallery, just click on any picture to see a larger image. You can also click on the ‘view original size’ button, although I have had to limit the size due to the difficult conditions for photography.
- A word of caution about judging the birds on the basis of a few photographs. Remember that the photographs were taken several days after the birds were judged. Lizards can can change a lot in that time.