Last weekend saw fierce competition as Europe’s top Shire horses gathered for the National Shire Horse Show at Stafford County Showground, with horses from as far afield as Sweden and Switzerland in attendance, as well as a healthy entry of stock and a large crowd of spectators from Scotland.

The King George V Trophy, the highest accolade amongst the males, went for the second year in succession to Bill Bedford’s Landcliffe Charlie from Escrick, York.

This five-year-old stallion previously took the champion stallion award in 2018 and was again handled by brother Walter in front of judges Tom Brewster of Crieff and Anne Hull of Macclesfield. The home-bred Martonian Norman son takes the first qualifying spot for the Shire Horse of the Year finals in October.

Settling for reserve for a second time was Martin Fountain’s Woodhouse Rainman from Ashbourne, Derbyshire which took the junior and then reserve stallion championship. Sired by the late Metheringham Upton Hamlet, three-year-old Rainman is out of the multi championship winning show mare, Woodhouse Calendar Girl.

The Yorkshire-based Bedford family also dominated the female classes with Paul Bedford’s nine-year-old Moorfield Edward-sired mare, Fellthorpe Esther Jane, taking the championship and brother Richard’s home-bred two-year-old filly, Hartcliff Imelda, by Rookhills Leapley Lad, taking the reserve.

The geldings are always a major feature at the show and judging these was Matthew Burks of the Ancholmes Shire and Auchengree Clydesdale studs at Glasgow, along with David Yates of Cowerslane, Derbyshire. Champion was Matthew Kings’ gelding, Cotebrook Ben Alder which won through from a class entry of 31.

Arbroath’s John Anderson of Drummygar Farm, Carmyllie, lifted one of the biggest accolades last weekend taking the ridden championship with Gautby Arclid Flashman, ridden by Morag Snow of Incharvie, Leven. Flashman is no stranger to the limelight having been shown with great success all over the UK, and he also enjoyed a time in Sweden. He has now qualified for HOYS for a third time.

Always a crowd pleaser, with a great following of supporters, Flashman has now sold to Germany, where he will continue his ridden career.

Scots were also behind the leading carts, with the Brewster team having a hand in producing the supreme champion, Wendy Toomer-Harlow’s Walton Bomber, and also breeding and producing the men’s cart winner, John McIntyre with Bandirran Batman.

Annette Noble of Penicuik took the reserve cart championship with daughter Ailsa driving Woody, and then Lanarkshire’s Alan Craig drove the same outfit to stand second in the novice class.