Hunts across the UK and Ireland are gearing up to contest a reinstated, high-value hunt relay race in Oxfordshire on Sunday, 28 September.

The Silver Fox Challenge is returning to the Hambleden Estate near Henley after a two-year break. It takes the form of a fast, mirror-image relay race, which involves a bank and water complex designed especially for the event.

The race, open to a maximum of 32 teams, pays £3,000 to the winners and substantial prizes to the runners-up and fastest individuals. It lapsed after 2006 partly due to a change in ownership of the Hambleden Estate, but Black Bears polo patron Urs Schwarzenbach and his wife have recently bought the estate from WH Smith and reinstated the event.

Estate spokeswoman Lisa Hughes told H&H: “We are back with a vengeance and there is certainly plenty of incentive for riders to kick on. We’re actively looking for sponsorship to increase the prize-money.”

Teams are expected to include harrier packs, stag hound packs and drag hunts.
The VWH hunt, three-time winners and defending champions, are returning to try and regain their title.

Chef d’equipe Scarlett Crew said: “It was nail-biting, action-packed stuff. We shall be trying hard to defend our title this time.”

As well as the competition itself, there will be a charity clay shoot, gun dog scurry and a country fair. Tel: 01491 571353.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (12 June, ’08)