THE new members' pavilion at the Royal Highland Showground is 'on track and tight to budget', according to officials at the RHASS.

This means the new £5m pavilion should be ready in time for the 2020 show – in fact it is scheduled to be open for business next March – and is seen as an essential part of upgrading the appeal of the showground to host conferences and functions.

This means, though, that RHS 2019's members' facilities will again be hosted in a smaller temporary structure and show organisers asked for members to be 'understanding' ahead of the show, which runs from June 20 to 23.

The organisation has also invested £600,000 in others areas of the show to offer both visual and practical appeal. The Forge area, used to house the farriery competitions at the show, has been revamped with new furnaces and extractors, while in the Lowland Hall, a smart new 150-cover restaurant and bar area are part of an upgrade to the Heather Bar and Strathmore Restaurant. As with the members' pavilion, both these investments are seen as attractive venues for incoming events.

Meanwhile, entries for the show will again mean that the livestock housing will be filled to bursting point. The Highland Hall will be at maximum capacity housing just over 1100 beef and dairy cattle.

Up on the 2018 figure, the beef cattle class has a strong showing from native breeds including a 17% increase in Highland cattle (93) which feature in this year’s marketing campaign. With 117 entries, the Shorthorns boast the largest class in the beef section, while the Herefords experience a resurgence with a jump to 65 from 54 last year. The Galloway (39), Belted Galloway (44) and British Blue (67) classes have also seen an increase from 2018.

In the dairy section, the number of entries has increased to 114 from last year’s figures. The Ayrshire class has shown yet another increase to become 2019’s largest class, with 40, up from 38 in 2018.

Sheep entries have increased each year, with 2019 boasting a 10-year high figure of 2128. Leading the way is the Texels with 182 entries, with the Beltex close behind on 174. The Suffolks have their highest number in 10 years with 118 entries, alongside Hampshire Down (58) and Blue Texel (78).

The Young Handler classes in the beef and sheep sections have both shown a strong increase, with 21 and 67 entries, respectively, and there will be a new 'champion of champions' title for the best young handler from across the disciplines.

In the light horse section, 1692 entries are backed by solid numbers across all HOYS qualifying classes and this year’s Queens Cup will be awarded to this section.

The heavy horse section also has a strong presence, with 416 entries. In the year of the Clydesdale Celebration, showcasing 100 years of the working animal, the males have increased by 43% to 43, while the females dominate again with 74 entries.

Continuing the development in the goat classes, the section boasts 131 entries this year alongside four young handlers competing for the title.