The 135th Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show drew the crowds at Festival of Hunting
Large crowds delighted in over 20 packs of Modern Foxhounds and 11 packs of Old English Foxhounds as they took to the rings at the 135th Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show alongside the Festival of Hunting, held at the East of England Showground, Peterborough, on Wednesday 19th July, supported by key sponsor, the Countryside Alliance.
The Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show Society welcomed visitors from America, New Zealand and Tasmania, and Foxhound packs from across the United Kingdom, including the Flint and Denbigh, making the journey from Wales to the highlight of the Foxhounds summer show season, ‘Peterborough’.
This year, the Duke of Beaufort’s, Heythrop, and Vale of the White Horse (VWH) took home the leading titles. ‘Singer’ secured the Best Stallion Hound for the VWH, with the Heythrop taking the Champion Dog Hound title for a second year, this year with ‘Grappler’, after ‘Raffa’ took the title in 2022.
The bitch foxhound classes were led by Duke of Beaufort’s ‘Careful’ who went on to take the Perpetual Challenge Cup for the Champion Bitch Hound after first being tipped in the Best Brood Bitch class.
Best Brood Bitch & Champion Bitch Hound, Duke of Beaufort’s ‘Careful’ – photo credit Tim Scrivener
In the Old English Foxhound classes, it was a double win for the North Shropshire, with the Champion Dog Hound title to ‘Blandford’, whilst ‘Arkle’ was given the nod in the Champion Bitch Hound class.
Old English Champion Dog Hound, North Shropshire ‘Blandford’, and Champion Bitch Hound, North Shropshire ‘Arkle’
– photo credit Tim Scrivener
Away from the foxhounds, the Festival of Hunting is one of the largest shows of working scent hounds anywhere in the world, with packed crowds around the ring for Beagles, Harriers, and Basset Hounds classes. In the Beagles ring the Best in Show went to Dummer ‘Whinchat’, the breed’s Champion Bitch Hound, whilst the Champion Dog Hound was tipped to Christ Church and Farley Hill ‘Musket’.
Beagles Best in Show, Dummer ‘Whinchat’ – photo credit Tim Scrivener
In the Harriers, Best in Show was awarded to the West Country Harrier Bitch Hound Champion, North Norfolk ‘Blossom’ from Waveney and Norfolk.
Harriers Best in Show, Waveney and Norfolk, North Norfolk ‘Blossom’ – photo credit Tim Scrivener
The Basset Hound Supreme Champion title went to their Champion Bitch Hound, Westerby ‘Lateness’, with the Champion Dog Hound title to East Lines ‘Voter’.
Barry Todhunter, huntsman of 50 years to the Blencathra Foxhounds was welcomed to parade and talk about his Fell Hounds before lunch, whilst the Sealyham Terriers and Sight Hounds also paraded earlier in the morning. The West Sussex Working Teckels were a popular addition to Ring 1 between lunch and the recommencement of afternoon classes.
Beyond the hound classes, the grassroots Hunt Staff Benefit Society Young Handler Class returned for a fourth year with a record 17 entries to be judged by Mrs George Gemmell (nee Farquhar). The popular next generation class, with the highest number of entries seen across the hound show circuit this summer, was won by Sophia Bland, 10, who was awarded the perpetual trophy, the Captain Farquhar Cup, and a signed copy of his recently published book, ‘The Way It Was’, along with a hunting horn donated from Hunting Kind in memory of James Barclay, and goody bags from the Hunt Staff Benefit Society. Sophia, who follows the Vale of Lune Harriers both on foot and horse, showed ‘Fenwick’, with whom she had also won the Young Handlers Class at the Great Yorkshire Show in 2022. Praised by Mrs Gemmell for her “impressive knowledge and fantastic bond with Fenwick”, Sophia plans to study to become a vet specialising in hounds, focusing on investigating their unique bloodlines and physical traits, which are “so different to domestic dogs and really interest me.”
For fans of the other four-legged stars of the hunting community, the grounds around the Inter Hunt Relay competition were the big draw, with a total of 38 teams entered across the Junior and Senior it’s a knockout-style competitions to find out the quickest and most skilful team of four.
Sponsored by Honri Hats, in the junior section the championship went to the Grove and Rufford Hunt: Ella Hoyland, 14; Harriet Woodcock, 9; Eve Pawson, 16; Lexy Adlington, 13. In the senior section the Quorn Hunt team came out on top: Timmy Dobson-Seaton, Oliver Woodland, Philli Sheppard, Izzy Nowicki. Our congratulations go to all teams that entered for their horsemanship and nerve!
Ruth Trolove, show manager, said: “It is wonderful to see the Festival of Hunting grow year on year, with so many hunts taking the time to skilfully prepare hounds and attend on the day, alongside scores of Inter Hunt Relay teams, and the Young Handlers Class, which we are really proud of as encouraging the next generation to keep the rich heritage of hound bloodlines and showing alive.”
“As the crowds around the rings, down the retail aisles and in the hunt lorry park picnics are testament to, the breadth of activities at the Festival of Hunting means that it is a wonderful day out for anyone in the rural community, not just avid hound followers.”
Alison Queenborough, Secretary ofThe Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show Society, said: “We are looking forward to the Festival of Hunting going from strength to strength and welcoming crowds also to the 136″ Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show on Wednesday 17 July 2024 at Milton Estate, Peterborough.”