A new cattle class and a fresh format for the National Pedigree Calf Show at the English Winter Fair, proved a huge success with overall entries well up on the year.

The two-day event at the Staffordshire County Showground, last weekend saw more than 250 cattle entered, a rise of just over 10%, with in excess of 100 calves for the National Pedigree Calf Show, up 27, a further 163 sheep and 76 pig pens entered.

Also new to the Winter Fair was the first ever presentation of the Royal Smithfield Club’s Duke of Norfolk trophy – a competition which sees breed societies bring together entries of three high-class pure-bred cattle from across its members’ farms.

History is believed to have been made too, when a team of British Blues won the trophy for the first time – known as one of country's most prestigious primestock competitions.

Making up this top trio was Kevin Watret's Solwayview Niko, brought out by stockman Ali Jackson, Annan, along with two animals from Henry Jewitt from Northumberland – Sunnybank O My Gosh and Sunnybank One in a Million.

Reserve was the Aberdeen-Angus trio from Temple Farm with Temple Janey Erica, Temple Rosebud and Temple Jenevieve Erica with third place going to the Limousin entry.

The competition is open to pure bred bulls/steers and heifers that are entered in either the English Winter Fair pedigree classes or the National Pedigree Calf Show with each breed society invited to select a group, consisting of three males or females or a mixture of both sexes, to represent their breed.

First awarded at the Smithfield Show in 1951 when a trio of Galloways secured the title, it was then shared between the Angus, Beef Shorthorn and Galloway breeds for the next 30 years.

It was a British Blue that also bagged the overall championship amongst the prime cattle when Starlight, a 15-month-old heifer from Somerset farmer, Richard Wright, was tapped out as supreme. The heifer, which later sold for £5500 at the end of show auction, stood in front of the reserve champion, 7up, a Limousin cross heifer from H Hodgkinson and Sons, Buxton, Derbyshire.

In the sheep ring it was case of first time lucky for Richard and Jamie Jerman who took home the pairs championship with two pedigree Beltex lambs. The brothers from Ludlow, Herefordshire, were exhibiting at the English Winter Fair, fresh from winning at Agri-Expo earlier in in the month.

Serial winners Robert Garth and Sarah Priestley from Bentham, Lancashire, won the single lamb title, also with a Beltex.

Yorkshire pig farmer Mark Horsley extended his English Winter Fair winning streak to eight years after claiming the singles and pairs title too despite entries up 20% on the year. The Skirpenbeck breeder triumphed with Pietrian cross-bred stock.

Back amongst the cattle and Welsh farmers dominated the National Pedigree Calf Show taking the champion and reserve titles. Supreme was the Limousin bull, Pabo Oldspice, a yearling son of Kinbull out of Pabo Maed, from P and L Hughes, Llanbab, Anglesey, which was tapped out as the overall champion by judge Michael Read from Lincolnshire. Just pipped at the post and taking the reserve was the Charolais heifer Teme Opaque, from SM Corbett and Daughters from Powys. She is bred from Teme Magnolia, the breed champion at the Royal Welsh Show in 2018.