Monday 16 August 2021
Achieving 200 entries forward for the second year running, the National Hereford Virtual Show has proven to be the opportunity in 2021 for all breeders of Hereford cattle registered in the horned section of the UK Hereford herd book to showcase their stock.
Entries were once again received from herds far and wide and the standard of quality provided a considerable task for the international judging panel to position each of their 14 class winners, runners-up and champions.
This task fell to Aled and Jen Jones of Dendor Herefords, Wales; Anselm Fitzgerald of Grianan Herefords, Republic of Ireland and Erica Haliday of Ben Nevis Angus, Australia, who were all separately asked to place every animal in each class and to make their final selections from the winners to decide the male and female championships, which were also contributed to by a public vote.
Taking the male championship and receiving a £150 feed voucher kindly offered by NHC Virtual Show sponsor Manor Farm Feeds was Drumatee Rocket, owned by JR Whitlow and family of HighHouse Herefords, Worcester. Spotted as a calf by the Whitlows as a potential future herd sire, Rocket was purchased at the NIHBA premier show and sale at Dungannon back in February 2020 from breeder John Conlon, County Armagh. Sired by two-time winner of the best stock bull award in the NIHBA herd competition, Cill Cormaic Nevada, and out of Drumatee Blossom 813, it was selected as the winner of the January 2018 to August 2019 class of bulls and proved consistently popular both with the public and judges.
Erica Haliday admired the quality throughout the male championship describing it as ‘a great class of bulls from start to finish’, praising Drumatee Rocket for having ‘natural thickness through the lower part of his hindquarters and [being] muscled closely to the hock.’
The overall female champion came from the largest class of the competition with 29 entries forward, for cows born between September 2015 and August 2018. It was Clipston Pansy B3, owned by PRJ and LR Vincent, Norfolk, and bred by R and R Westaway, Market Harborough, which triumphed with its January 2021-born calf Pulham Pansy 28th at-foot. The calf further proved the quality of the outfit by also achieving a fourth place from 19 entries in the youngest heifer calf class.
As her choice for female champion, judge Erica Haliday praised the animal. She said: “She is a stunning female who best combines structural correctness and natural thickness with an extra special quality element; mostly this is in her beautiful fine skin which indicates softness, doing ability and carcase quality.”
Clipston Pansy B3 is sired by the renowned Irish bull Moyclare Malcolm bred by M Molloy, Offaly and is out of Clipston Pansy K15. As winners of the female championship, the Vincent family receive a Moocall calving sensor kindly sponsored by Moocall, who have been great supporters of NHC events in recent years.
Following a remarkably successful showing of entries from the Dieulacresse herd, yielding top-five placings for eight of their animals across seven classes, the competition finished with both the reserve male and reserve female championships awarded to home-bred animals from Messrs Spooner, Leek. In the male ranking it was Dieulacresse Tic Tac, winner of the January 2020 to August 2020 bull class, which took the reserve male champion title and garnered high praise again from the judges. Erica Haliday described it as a ‘standout bull for quality who adds a flawless combination of natural thickness and correctness, as well as having balance and sire appeal’. This bull’s pedigree is full of quality breeding including grand-sire Mara Humorous bred by RN and MA Borwick, a prolific producer of show winners, and itself a winner of the HCBA best stock bull and progeny award in 2016.
Winning the reserve female championship was Dieulacresse Dowager 41st also from Messrs Spooner, Leek; winner of the most senior female class of the show for cows born in August 2015 or before. Born in October 2014 and with January 2021-born heifer calf Dieulacresse Dowager 56th at-foot, this cow is by the prolific Australian AI sire Mawarra After Shock, of which the EU semen rights are jointly owned by the Dieulacresse and Haven herds. This cow was described by judges Aled and Jen Jones as a ‘good smooth cow [with] very little waste on her and an excellent udder’.
Among the further class winners, it was also a well-rewarded effort for D Thurman of the Brambles herd, Isle of Wight, who not only scooped the first and second prizes in the September 2018 to August 2019 female class with Brambles Luna and Brambles Ophelia respectively, but also achieved top-five placings in the eldest two female classes and the January 2020 bull class, all with home-bred stock. Class winner Brambles Luna is sired by Haven Neptune by EL Lewis and son, and was regarded by Erica Haliday as a ‘big capacity cow with a thumping calf at-foot’.
Also experiencing double success in one class were J and L Lewis of Boycefield Herefords, Dilwyn, Herefordshire, placing first and second in the hotly contested section for heifers born September 2019 to December 2019. Pipping its stable mate to the post was Boycefield Curly 27th, sired by Lisrace Lumberjack 18th bred by DR Wilson, Co Fermanagh, and out of home-bred Boycefield Curly 7th. Described by Aled and Jen Jones as being equipped with ‘great bone’ and being ‘clean through the front [and] really well-balanced’, it made it to the top spot just ahead of Boycefield Louisa 38th.
Long-standing supporters of the National Hereford Club, W and R Kemp and sons, Bishop Auckland rose to the top of the January 2020 to March 2020 heifer class with Auckvale Lively 1971T. A heifer with a show-winning pedigree, it is out of Auckvale Lively 1058H, senior female champion at the 2018 National Hereford Show at Tenbury Wells, and sired by Auckvale Kalgoorlie 1322K, reserve senior male champion in 2019 at the same event.
Erica Haliday said: “She is as a ‘super heifer [which] will grow into a magnificent cow and I can’t wait to see her then”.
Having been placed first in its class as a calf in last year’s competition, it was Hayestone Wyandot T135 bred and owned by A G Cork, Wolverhampton, which took the top spot this time in the April 2020 to August 2020 heifer class. Sired by Miss H Cork’s Hayes Phoenix , bred from the widely successful Badlingham Blossom family, and out of Dovemount Wyandot K1, bred by Thorley Bros, Derbyshire, this yearling was described by judge Anselm Fitzgerald as ‘a beautiful, sweet heifer with lots of eye appeal’.
Pulham Blossom 29th from PRJ and LR Vincent took first place in another well-supported class, this time for heifers born between September 2020 and December 2020. A daughter of the previous year’s reserve male champion of the NHC Virtual Show, Shiloh-Farm Elite bred by H and S Murray, Westmeath, its dam Pulham Blossom 23rd, also descended from the famous Badlingham Blossom family. This calf was described by Aled and Jen Jones as being a ‘sweet heifer’, with ‘great markings and style’.
Commented on by Anselm Fitzgerald as ‘a heifer with lots of style and breed character, combined with power and substance’, the winner of the youngest female class of the competition was Broughan Jubilee, bred and owned by S Curry, Armagh, Northern Ireland. Born in March 2021 and just five months old at the time of judging, this promising young calf and herd mate Broughan Juniper which placed second in this class are both sired by Gurteragh Aristocrat 758, bred by M O’Keefe, Cork.
Back to the male standings, and it was perhaps no surprise that Haven Rover, owned by DJ Makin, Hereford and bred by EL Lewis and son, also of Hereford, caught the eye of the judges in its bulls born in December 2017 or before class. A son of Haven Lamborghini, male champion in the 2020 Virtual Show and twice senior male champion at the National Hereford Show in 2017 and 2019, judge Anselm Fitzgerald commented it is ‘a bull with lots of power and a strong top line’.
Another herd which is never far from the top of the line-up is that of RA Bradstock and partners, Free Town, Tarrington who dominated the September 2019 to December 2019 bull class with Free Town Truman in first place, Free Town Talent in second place, and having bred the fifth-placed Free Town Tiger, exhibited by owners Robert and Nicola Birchall of the Deanery herd, Stafford. Speaking on Free Town Truman as the winner of this class, Aled and Jen Jones commented it was ‘full of breed character [and] stands out well on four legs, with good heels and pasterns’.
It was Pulham Vanguard, owned and bred by PRJ and LR Vincent, Norfolk and sired by former National Hereford Show junior male champion Pulham Powerhouse, which stood first in the September 2020 to December 2020 bull calf class.
Anselm Fitzgerald said: “He was a well-balanced young bull with lots of breed character, he stands with a leg in each corner and has the potential to be a great sire”.
Standing second was Pulham Va Va Voom, also exhibited by breeders PRJ and LR Vincent, fighting off close competition in the form of two Haven calves from EL Lewis and son, Haven Virtual and Haven Voltage, which placed third and fifth respectively, and Boycefield Virat from J and L Lewis which placed fourth.
The final class of the show was for the youngest of the male section; calves born January 2021 to April 2021, which was won by DC Smith and son, Talog with March-born Laxfield Silverado. Sired by Laxfield Wilberforce and out of Laxfield Silver 11th [*], this calf clearly made an impression on judge Anselm Fitzgerald who described it as ‘a young calf with lots of quality, well made with great softness and looks’. DC Smith and son also took the second placing in this class with Laxfield Condor.
The National Hereford Club would again like to thank our sponsors Moocall and Manor Farm Feeds for their continued support, and also thank the many exhibitors who took time to contribute to the competition, presenting such an outstanding selection of cattle for the judges to contemplate in every class. Special thanks also go to the international panel of judges for the event: Aled and Jen Jones of Dendor Herefords; Anselm Fitzgerald of Grianan Herefords and Erica Haliday of Ben Nevis Angus, who lent their expertise to complete the difficult job of placing every one of the 200 entries.
Photographs of the top five placings in each class are available to view on the National Hereford Club website.