VIDEO: Devon dog act catches Simon Cowell's eye for new show
Move over, Ashleigh and Pudsey, there's a new star dog act in town – and Rachael Grylls and her pets Jessica and Jacob are set to take the entertainment world by storm.
They are on course for stardom after winning a Facebook talent competition backed by the Britain's Got Talent-winning duo. The owner and her two Jack Russells wowed hundreds of dog-lovers and a celebrity judging panel with their circus double act to win at the Discover Dogs show, Earls Court, last weekend.
They will now go on to perform their routine live in the Crufts Factor final at Crufts in March, after initially impressing Kennel Club judges with their Facebook video.
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Rachael, who trains the dogs at her stud farm near Okehampton, is being closely monitored by TV mogul Simon Cowell – he used the Discover Dogs competition to scout for potential stars for his one-off doggie talent show to be aired this Christmas.
She said: "It was an amazing experience to perform with Jessica and Jacob in front of such a big crowd and high-profile judging panel.
"All of the finalists were extremely talented and put on a fantastic show. I was overwhelmed to be crowned the winner.
"Performing at Crufts is a dream come true and we will be training hard for the final in March. I have been working with them for a couple of years – just playing at it, really. It started as just a bit of fun, but who knows where it might end up. Before that I was training horses. Now I am just working on the routine for Crufts in March. There will be a lot of training involved but it is very exciting for all of us."
Speaking about their performance, judge Anna Webb from BBC Radio London said: "Rachael, Jessica and Jacob were always going to be a hard act for the other contestants to follow. These Jack Russells were absolutely incredible, as they kept their focus for every second in the ring, despite the distractions.
"It takes a lot of training to get dogs, especially terriers, to do what Rachael did with them but you could see how much they enjoyed it."
Pippa Langhorne, former Britain's Got Talent contestant who sings opera with her dog Buddy, said: "Buddy had decided that they were the winning act as soon as he saw them. They were so entertaining, I didn't want it to end.
"They are so talented and really deserved to win."
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club communications director said: "Our Young Kennel Club member Ashleigh Butler and her dog Pudsey have found worldwide fame since they were scouted by Simon Cowell last year. The same could happen to Rachael, Jessica and Jacob."