All England Show

A brief update following the All England Show last weekend.
Awesome show, and a very enjoyable event to take part in as an exhibitor. Thanks to everyone involved in running the event for looking after my fish so well over the weekend, and for putting on another fantastic show.
All my fish are safely back in their pond, and you'd barely know they've been on holiday. I've MG & F'd all my tanks as a precautionary measure just in case anything crept in with the fish movements.
So, the scores on the doors.
Well, I won my first prize at a koi show with my size 1 tancho, but the benching matrix released this morning shows only 2 size 1 tancho's - so I didnt beat a fish to win the prize :-( My initial project target to achieve that goal will have to wait for another year.
None of my kohaku's won anything - but despite all of that, I returned home happier than I can remember from a koi show for a long time. My main goal last weekend was to exhibit my 2014 babies - and that I did. And they drew very nice comments from people which made my day to be honest. There was a general level of surprise at how large they were for a 2014 spawned fish, and also many comments about how pretty some were. It was the best feeling to be stood by my vat, talking to a visitor - and they would look through the kohaku babies and say they liked this one or that one, and I took away a sense of achievement from that.
I've fielded a few questions on how I managed to grow this year's babies on so well - and what's funny is that I didnt exhibit my largest few which are 21cm to 23cm - I went for the next tranche down which are 18cm to 21cm but have superior patterns. Bottom line is, you've probably read about how I've achieve it in my blog - but warm temperatures in the polytunnel, supplemented with the heater on the coldest weeks to keep water temps between 21 and 27 probably did the bulk of the work. I think it will be a few years before I can ascertain whether the genetics have helped.
I took 2 adult male fish along to the show to make up a more interesting looking vat; they looked like chaperones :-) A bonus was the super result with my male shiro, which came 2nd out of 13 utsurimono in size 4. Not bad for an English bred fish up against some of the best fish in the country, and also a male koi beating all those females... that will get people talking. Shows, if you have a decent quality koi - irrespective of the sex, and rear it correctly, then it has the potential to blossom.
Here's a link to the All England Show benching matrix Click here - for Benching Matrix
And, here are the overall winners from the show - these must be some of the best koi in the country:
And, my haul of prizes and copies of my prize certificates from the show:

And, a few pictures from the benching process-that's where your fish are measured, photographed and allocated to a size and variety class.

And finally, my koi club took a large contingent to the show on the Sunday - and our very own David Utting was helping at the show - and he helped me de-bag my fish on arrival. Thank you David.