The East Anglian pack carries off both harrier titles, while the VWH and the North Cotswold triumph on foxhound day at the Great Yorkshire Show, as Frank Houghton Brown, Matthew Higgs and Andrew van Oostrum report...
Harriers: The Waveney do the double
THE Waveney Harriers clinched both championships at the prestigious Great Yorkshire hound show with litter siblings Aldeburgh and Alsort, bred from their Peterborough champion Laughter 15.
Laughter is the last remaining hound from an outstanding litter of four, all of whom had considerable success in the show ring as well as being superb hunting hounds. Laughter was shown here as a brood bitch and was runner-up to the Holcombe’s Dipper 15, a delightful tan-coloured hound whose litter brother, Daystar, previously won the championship at every major hound show.
“We thought they were both exceptional hounds,” said senior judge Jacky Thomas of the Waveney’s two champions.
Along with Harry Gosling, joint-master and huntsman of the Dartmoor, Jacky judged the entire day with his usual bonhomie.
Held by joint-master Helen Yallop and shown by popular huntsman Luke Newton, these East Anglian hounds had made the trip up to Yorkshire with a team of enthusiastic supporters and were kennelled on the showground the night before.
There were only four harrier packs in attendance, but all of them won some prizes and the ringside was bustling with activity as everyone welcomed the opportunity to enjoy the show. Frank Kane, chairman of the Kennel Club breeds standards and a multi-breed international judge, was taking a keen interest in the judging, having just recently adjudicated at the Holcombe Harriers’ puppy show.
The Pendle Forest and Craven have a new team and their kennel-huntsman Stuart Pocknell had his hounds in good condition, taking the red rosette in the stallion hound class with the handsome tri-coloured and home-bred Darkwood 18. Joint-master Nick Bannister was commentating on proceedings and his son Roddy is looking forward to hunting the hounds this season.
The Holcombe have a new huntsman in Mark Dickson-Bradley and his hounds were in the money all day, notably winning the entered doghound with their Brindle 18 and the couple of doghounds. It was from this couple that they sprung a surprise in the championship, bringing the tri-coloured Cobra 18 to take the reserve championship. Cobra was one of several hounds that the Holcombe mastership rescued from the Easton Harriers when they disbanded.
The quote of the day came from one of the young handlers who put on such an excellent exhibition of their hound skills during the lunch break. Former Bicester huntsman Patrick Martin asked each handler what they wanted to be in later life. As quick as a flash, one 12-year-old in a white smock said, “The chairman of the Countryside Alliance.”
Foxhounds: Footpad steals victory
EIGHTEEN different foxhound packs filled the ring on foxhound day and there was a palpable sense of relief to be out looking at hounds for the first time.
Chairman and chief steward Tim Easby, along with show secretary David Wallace, have to be congratulated on their efforts to make the show such a success. It was a great shame for the spectators that there was no hound breeding in the catalogue, but David Wallace explained how it had unfortunately been impossible this year.
This is the only show that most of the Yorkshire packs attend, but there are always a few raiders from the South. This year, the VWH and the Thurlow made the foray north and both were well rewarded. The VWH Footpad 19 was the outstanding doghound of the morning, taken from the third-placed couple to win the championship. This dog looks like a real tough sort with a slightly broken coat and an intelligent eye.
“He hunted like an old hound from the first morning he came out and never looked back,” says his huntsman Philip Hague. “He is a brilliant dog in his work.”
Edward Foster and Richard Gurney had the task of judging the morning classes and the first one of the day, albeit a restricted class, set the tone with a ring full of beautiful hounds. The Thurlow’s tall lemon-coloured Joshua took the first prize, this pack now being brimful of North Cotswold blood brought there by Nigel Peel.
The VWH had their first triumph of the day with a couple of unentered hounds, and their Fearnaught was the champion unentered dog. He was a very similar type to Footpad but without the broken coat, bred out of Fortune 16, a litter sister to Footpad’s dam Footloose 16, and by Smuggler 14, a litter brother to Footpad’s sire Smasher 14.
The Zetland did their bit for Yorkshire by winning the entered couples with Viking and Granville, ably shown by huntsman James Finney. However, the VWH were soon back on top with a classy two-couple of white hounds which included the outstanding Jacob 18, a previous Peterborough champion.
“Once a hound has won the championship at Peterborough, we don’t show them again on their own,” explained Martin Scott, who breeds the hounds and was being kept up to speed with the judging from his holiday in Cornwall.
The Thurlow edged ahead with their stallion hound Ramsgate 19 and the championship was a straight run-off between Ramsgate and Footpad.
Perhaps the greatest VWH success of the day came in the young handlers’ class, where 13-year-old Ted Street, resplendent in white smock and bowler, showed great aplomb and expertise, proudly telling Patrick Martin how much he enjoyed skinning.
Alistair Jackson judged the bitches with the joint-master and huntsman of the Berwickshire Gareth Watchman. This was to be an afternoon where the Thurlow hounds excelled, but many of the Yorkshire packs had some very good hounds.
The Sinnington and Middleton were knocking at the door throughout, as were the North Shropshire, where Peter McColgan has developed an athletic blend of old English hounds which were always in the prizes.
Many of the classes have special prizes for the old English hounds and these are becoming increasingly popular. The Percy, York and Ainsty South and the Barlow all had quality old English hounds, which often created an interesting class within a class. However, it did pressure the judges for time and some spectators started to drift away as the clock passed 5pm and the brood bitches were still in the ring.
It was Thurlow Stormcloud 18, the winning brood bitch, who really stood out from the crowd, bred by Nigel Peel especially to take to the Thurlow and shown impeccably by huntsman Elliot Stokes.
“One of the best hunting hounds in the kennel,” is how he describes her.
“We just loved her,” Alistair Jackson said after she’d swept all before her in the championship. “You just can’t catch her wrong and she oozes quality.”
Beagles: An excellent day for the Ampleforth
THE wonderful, active, white, siblings Farrier (winner of the stallion hound class) and Famous 17 (entered bitch) made for a successful day for new Ampleforth huntsman Josh Smith in the beagle ring, taking both championship classes. Their entered dog winner Fairfax 19 was also reserve champion.
The Yorkshire pack dominated the eight other packs forward but, as the overnight rainclouds gave way to hot sun, most were delighted to find themselves in the ribbons at some point.
Sadly, at least one pack that had entered dropped out because of the local authorities’ last-minute requirement that all handlers were tested for Covid. While the hound show season can be devastated by kennel cough in the canine competitors, it was ironic that this time humans were under the spotlight. But David Wallace and his team and the committee of wider show should be congratulated in persisting with a much-loved fixture despite the hurdles they met.
Kate Higgs MH (Trinity Foot and South Herts) and Paul Osbaldiston from the Airedale judged the doghounds while Nigel Peel, now chairman at the Dummer, and Mark Guy MH (East Lincs Harehounds) sorted the bitches.
It was tremendous to see packs not often in the prizes winning classes. The Catterick – taking advantage of the fact this class uniquely has no height restriction – won the restricted doghounds with their big Belvoir tan Captain, while the Holme and Colne Valley produced the smart Dewdrop, well shown by huntsman Libby Gilbert, to win both the equivalent bitch and unentered class.
James Mason, who is master of the Weardale and Tees Valley as well as the North Pennine foxhounds, brought forward the attractive blue-mottled Berkeley 16 and his offspring Ruby and Ralley 20 to win the morning’s progeny class uncontested, while the Trinity Foot and South Herts were delighted that Princess 18 secured the brood bitch class.
The Newcastle and District are no strangers to the top slot in the show ring. They took both the doghound couples class with well-matched brothers Crossbow and Cutlass 19 and the bitch and progeny. Their Vixen 20, second to Famous in the entered bitch class, was also reserve champion.
Mention should be made of Jane Crease, master at the Hunsley Beacon, who showed her distinctive little hounds so ably throughout the day. While small hounds struggle to compete, they are a vital part of beagling’s diaspora. And Jan Kerr, a Cumbrian farmer’s wife, has walked countless hounds for packs all over the country. She brought North Devon Foreman forward and was delighted with a fourth place. It was possibly the first time a hound from this great working pack has appeared in the show ring.
Bloodhounds: Highmoor Cybil takes the honours
FOR the first time, the Masters of Drag and Bloodhounds Association held their annual championship classes at Harrogate. First in were the unentered bloodhound dogs, first prize in which was swiftly awarded to the Cranwell’s Monster, while the draghound equivalent was taken by Berks and Bucks Dartmoor.
The entered bloodhound class was hotly contested and went to Nic Wheeler’s attentive Digger from the Coakham. The Berks and Bucks struck again in the draghounds with their fast-galloping Rolo. Next were the stallion hounds, and the bloodhound section went to Coakham Dynamo and the drag to Staff College Danger.
Couple prizes were awarded to the newly formed Hamilton Bloodhounds’ Seneca and Sefton, and to the Berks and Bucks Draghounds’ traditional black and tan Dartmoor and Danger. Judge Major Tim Easby said that they would not look out of place at any hound show in the country, such was their quality.
The judges deemed Nar Valley Belfast, shown in the couples class, worthy of a place in the championship, and they promptly awarded him the bloodhound dog title, to the delight of master and huntsman Charlie Ward.
In the afternoon, the unentered bloodhound bitch class went to the beautiful blanket liver Gloria from the Coakham, and the Berks and Bucks Draghounds continued their winning ways with the classy Graphite.
The entered bitches were hard to call and proved successful for hound show organiser and Highmoor Bloodhounds master and huntsman Nigel Church and the eighth-season veteran Cybil. Staff College Ariel, shown with quiet skill by huntsman Steven Hall, finally broke the Berks and Bucks’ hold on the day with a deserved win in the draghound section.
Bitch couples followed and Debbie Kane of the Four Shires Bloodhounds swept away the competition with Bounty and Indie. It was great to see the return to the flags of the Cambridge Draghounds, who were quickly selected winners with their very even couple Boozy and Bondage.
The bitch championships went to Highmoor Cybil for the bloodhounds and Ariel for the Sandhurst Drag.
That left the supreme championships to close proceedings and to the delight of the local crowd and a stunned Nigel Church, front-running Highmoor Cybil took the bloodhound honours. Steven Hall was given the nod for the overall supreme draghound bitch with the strong and correct Sandhurst Ariel.
This exclusive report is also available to read in H&H magazine, on sale Thursday 22 July
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