Already well established on the showing calendar, the Talk of the North Working hunter championships have earned qualifying status for both the Horse of the Year Show, and National Hunter Supreme Championships.

In addition to the high profileworking hunter classes, show director Mike Florence is including weight classes for the first time this year.

Run over two days at Birchinley Manor Equestrian Centre in Lancashire, 25-26 June, the full programme carries a total prize fund of £10,000, with the champion working hunter pocketing up to £1,000 in prize money.

Ridden hunter classes begin on the first day, with novice and amateur contenders competing for a top prize of £50, followed by weight classes which offer a winners purse of £100.

First and second prize winners will go forward to the championshipwhere the winner and reserve will earn another £300 and £250 respectively.

The second day is devoted to working hunter classes, with novice,lightweight and heavyweight sections earning a top prize of £300, £400 and £500 respectively.

The championship offers another £500 and £250 to the champion and reserve.

Dress code is tweed for the novice class, and fullhunting dress for the weight classes. Over the past two years, the working hunter sections have proved a great talking point, and have been well supported nationally.

The home team will also face some stiff opposition from an Irish contingent this year, with the top three placed at qualifyingshows run across the Irish sea being invited to compete.

Among the panel officiating over the two days are Ros Hargreaves, Alan Munnis, Simon Sommers, George Taylor and Sophie Waddilove.

“We have already had a lot of interest for this year,” said Mike Florence. “With top prize-money and dual qualification to Wembley and the National Hunter Supreme Championships on offer, we are hoping to attract the best of British and Irish hunters.”

More details from Mike Florence (tel: 01948) 820221 orShow Secretary Karen Coupe (tel: 01706 373930).