Fusilier crowned champion of champions

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THE BORDER Union Show was blessed with sunshine, much to the relief and joy of competitors, show-goers and organisers.

The show did go ahead as planned after the layout was changed slightly to accommodate the wet summer. But one victim was the parade of champions as organisers did not want cattle – in a changed location – to walk through crowds to reach the main ring.

Berwickshire couple Andrew and Gillian McCowan’s stunning hunter Fusilier took the champion of champions crown, while the reserve went to a rabbit owned by John and Carole Fletcher from Woolsingham in County Durham.

Kelso judge Jim Jeffrey explained: “The hunter was absolutely outstanding and a clear winner. The movement, style – it was so graceful it would have been very difficult to go past.

“For not being a horsey man, I couldn’t get away from the beauty and style of the animal. And the rabbit was a most beautiful beast – you couldn’t help but look at it. It was beautifully presented, alert and with those ears.”

Ever the farmer, though, he did admit: “When you’re trying to decide, you look for what you would take home – and that would have been the Cheviot as opposed to the rabbit – but that rabbit was beautiful...

“I thoroughly enjoyed judging the champion of champions.”

The McCowans of Horncliffe Mains also had a good day. Along with their oft prize-winning 13-year-old Fusilier taking the hunter champion’s ticket for the second time (he won at the Border Union last year), their Thoroughbred cross bay riding horse, Third Time Lucky, gained the riding horse championship too.

The Berwick mother and son team of Helen Redden and Anthony Renton, from Clarence House, Shielfield won the cattle interbreed ticket with their prize-winning Limousin cow, Lodge Blush with calf at foot.

Previously champion Limousin and reserve interbreed pair at the Border Union in 2008, she was first in her class at the Highland and the Duns Show interbreed champion and champion of champions the same year.

The European transport services business operators run a herd of 25 breeding Limousin females as a hobby. Mr Redden said: “We are absolutely delighted. It’s quite an honour to win an interbreed, particularly at Kelso where the standard of the native breeds is very, very high.”

Judge John McIntosh said: “She is a lovely cow and she has a beautiful calf. It was impossible to go by her.”

The reserve went to Jan Boomaars of Stickle Heaton Farm, Cornhill with his Charolais heifer, Vexour Flirt.

Sheep interbreed judge and former show committee member (now a Glendale Show committee member), Andrew Walton, was choosing a champion for a trophy that was given in memory of his grandfather Joe.

He gave Roderick Runciman’s North Country Cheviot the nod: “They were all champions in their own right,” he said of the array he was judging.

“She handled tremendously well and when I let them go, she’s the one that went round the ring and said ‘I’m the champion’. She had that bit edge on anything else – she’s sharp and alert, extremely good on her legs and she went around that ring as if she owned it.”

Mr Runciman of Allanshaws, Galashiels was winning both the breed championship and the interbreed title for the second year in a row. It was again with a gimmer, bred the same way, out of a homebred ewe and sired by Synton Bullseye.

Mr Runciman said: “She’s as correct a sheep as I could find at home. Winning compares with winning the Highland (he took the breed championship earlier this year with Synton Bullseye). This is our local show and it’s really good. There is a very good show of sheep here.”

Mr Runciman bought Synton Bullseye, bred by Selkirk farmers Jock and Scott Davies of North Synton and sired by the homebred Allanshaws Doubletop, at Lockerbie for £2,200 as a one-shear.

Saturday’s winning gimmer was first in her class at the Highland Show in June.

Reserve went to Alan Cowans of Philiphaugh Old Mill, Selkirk with a three crop Lairg-type Cheviot ewe being shown for the first time.

Show secretary Ron Wilson said: “We were delighted with the way the show went and delighted with the support of the exhibitors and the public and once again the comments from many people were what a friendly show and what a lovely atmosphere.

“The stewards, conveners and everyone involved in putting on the show did a fantastic job in difficult circumstances.

“Provisional indications suggest that numbers are very similar to last year which is fantastic

“We were extremely fortunate to have a show. We never had any doubt it would go ahead, but we moved things around and the only thing out of the norm was that we didn’t have the grand parade for the health and safety reason we couldn’t walk the cattle through the crowds.”