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Returning to the East of England Showground for the 133rd Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show, 25 packs of Modern and Old English Foxhounds and over 5,000 spectators were delighted to be back at this popular rural event on Wednesday 21st July, supported by the Countryside Alliance.

Organised by the East of England Agricultural Society, the Festival hosted the prestigious Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show, the blue-ribboned competition of the summer showing calendar for Foxhound packs up and down the country with the Vale of the White Horse (VWH) and Heythrop hunts taking the top prizesin the Modern Foxhound classes. Best Stallion Hound was awarded to Heythrop ‘Greenwich’, whilst the Perpetual Challenge Cup for the 2021 Champion Dog Hound went to VWH ‘Footpad’. In the bitch classes the Best Brood Bitch was VWH ‘Namesake’, and the 2021 Champion Bitch Hound went to Heythrop ‘Radiant’.

Champion Dog Hound, VWH ‘Footpad’
Heythrop ‘Radiant’ – photo credit Sarah Farnsworth Photography

In the Old English Foxhound classes, Shropshire North ‘Chepstow’ was the Champion Dog Hound, with ‘Chequer’ from the same pack awarded the Champion Bitch Hound.

As well as the Foxhound classes, the festival also celebrates Beagles, Harriers, Basset Hounds, Draghounds and Bloodhounds, making it one of the largest shows of working scent hounds anywhere in the world.

In the Beagles ring the Best in Show went to stallion hound Palmer Marlborough (CMV) Winston 2016, sired by Sandhurst and Aldershot Windsor and out of the homebred dam, Woodbine. The Best Harrier in Show was awarded to 2015 born bitch hound Waveney Laughter, by Rockwood Lancer and out of the homebred dam, Harebell. In the MDBA entry, the Champion Bloodhound was Coakham Sirgeo, and the Reserve Champion Cranwell Mayfly.

The Festival of Hunting allows the next generation to show off their skills at hound showing, with 16-year-old Thomas Hopkins showing a bitch hound from the Wheatland Hunt to take the Young Handlers Class top spot, sponsored by Countryman Feeds. Judged by Mr Ian McKie, Thomas said: “I’m very proud of this bitch, she hasn’t been shown before and she responded to me very well.” After 10 years of involvement with hunting, Thomas is enjoying a summer at the hunt kennels before he starts a course in agriculture at Brooksby Melton College, Leicestershire. “I really hope to get a place on the MFHA Bursary Scheme after my college course and look forward to a future in hunting,” continued Thomas, who takes home the Capt. Farquhar Trophy and an additional prize of a commemorative hunting horn, donated by This is Hunting UK.

Young Handlers Class judge, Mr Ian McKie, with winner Thomas Hopkins – photo credit Tim Scrivener

In the Senior and Junior Inter-Hunt Relay competitions, 32 teams were entered in each draw in a knockout-style competition to find out the quickest and most skilful team of four riders. Sponsored by Honri Hats, in the senior section the championship went to the ‘Whaddon Chase’ team from the Bicester Hunt, made up of riders Emily Taylor, Andrew Clark, Cecily Holland and Lucy Holland MFH, whilst the junior top spot was claimed by the ‘Beaufort Cubs’ from the Duke of Beaufort Hunt, comprising Rosie Bush, Tom Beatie, Belle Edwards and Poppy Clark. Our congratulations go to all teams that entered.

The Senior Inter-Hunt Relay Champions (‘Whaddon Chase’ from Bicester Hunt)
Junior Inter-Hunt Relay Champions (‘Beaufort Cubs’ from the Duke of Beaufort Hunt) – photo credit Tim Scrivener

In between watching the competitions, spectators enjoyed shopping, food and drink from the wide range of trade stands available, as well as catching up with friends from across the hunting community at the hotly contested Hunt Picnic Competition. Over 15 picnics were judged with the Warwickshire Hunt claiming the best picnic spot and a prize of the Stirrup Cup crate of port and whisky for their opening meet, donated by the East of England Agricultural Society, as well as a copy of ‘For the Love of the Land’ and ‘For the Love of the Sea’ cookbooks from local author, Jenny Jefferies. The Warwickshire Hunt picnic was coordinated by Charmaine Green and Alix Speir, and was praised for its focus on home-grown produce, with fresh raspberries, tomatoes, strawberries and home-reared beef all on offer and displayed beautifully.

Best Hunt Picnic Stirrup Cup winners, the Warwickshire Hunt – L-R Alix Speir, Chloe Speir, Jane Hall, Charmaine Green and Valerie Cockburn – photo credit Hattie Austin

Alison Queenborough, Secretary of The Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show Society, said: “We are thrilled that the Festival of Hunting was able to return this year, with so many packs returning to not only compete for ribbons but also to catch up with acquaintances from the hunting community that they may not have seen during the last year. The feedback that we have had from trade stands, hunts and spectators alike has been nothing but positive and we look forward to returning for the Festival of Hunting on Wednesday 20th July 2022 better than ever!
“We thank all those that attended for maintaining a sensible approach to the current Covid-19 situation and for observing the recommendations that we made on site.”

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