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An outbreak of kennel cough means several leading foxhound packs will not be able to contest classes at the Festival of Hunting at Peterborough tomorrow (17 July), the blue riband of hound shows.

The Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) and the organisers of the festival have have had to exclude any pack that went to Great Yorkshire Show (9-11 July). This is because kennel cough has since been confirmed in a pack that showed there.

Their hounds were not exhibiting any signs prior to the show. Kennel cough can incubate for a period of time and therefore hounds that may have come into contact with the Cotswold at Harrogate could still be in the incubation period.

One of the packs left desperately disappointed is the Heythrop. Their Heythop Raspberry won the bitch championship at Harrogate. They have a great record at Peterborough and are always one of the favourites to take the honours in a number of foxhound showing classes.

Joint-Master Nessie Lambert told H&H: “We are obviously disappointed not to be able to take our hounds however we have to consider hound welfare at all times and cannot take any risk, particularly at this time of the year with the new season in sight.”

The Old English foxhound classes have been cancelled altogether. With the majority of the packs entered for Peterborough having previously shown at Harrogate it would not have been viable to run those classes.

The Grove & Rufford who also enjoyed considerable success at Great Yorkshire are amongst other packs that will have to wait until next year to compete at Peterborough.