THE Hereford Cattle Breeders' Association (HCBA) Christmas Calf Show at Shrewsbury Mart lived up to its billing of the largest show of Herefords in Europe with another superb line up of top quality calves. Taking the limelight was Haven Neptune from EL Lewis and Son, Dilwyn, Herefordshire. This 13 month old calf, who is in the top 1% for 200 day weight and has Terminal Sire and Self-replacing indices in the top 10% of Breed, is out of Haven Shela 27th and by Haven Kingpin.

It was a great day for the famous Haven Herefords, a herd who has been breeding Herefords continuously since 1822. They were awarded the red ticket for the first class of the day by Judge John O'Connor, Clouncagh Herefords, Co. Limerick, the Best Group of Three by the Same Sire – Haven Kingpin. In Reserve were another well-known local herd, Free Town Herefords from RA Bradstock and Partners, Tarrington, Herefordshire with three smart matching animals sired by Mara Humorous. Haven Herefords then took the Best Pair of Bull Calves owned by the Exhibitor with fellow Herefordshire breeders PJ and AC Allman, Greenyards Herefords in second place. It was the story of the day for Greenyards Herefords with a string of second and third placings in some very competitive classes.

RA Bradstock went one better in the Best Pair of Heifer Calves owned by the exhibitor with another Herefordshire breeder G Blandford, Bosa Herefords in second position.

Following seven very strong bull classes it was Haven Neptune who took the Grand Male Championship sponsored by The Hutchinson Partnership. Standing Reserve was stablemate Haven Northstar another top notch bull calf by "Kingpin". Nine month old "Northstar", who is out Haven Curly 124th, has an excellent range of EBV traits with many in the top 10% of the Breed. Haven Herefords dominated the bull calf section with three bull calves in the final line-up for John O'Connor's consideration. Also in the class winners line up were Dendor 1 Nonu from Miss H Whittaker, Halifax, West Yorkshire, Pebworth 1 Naughtyboy from Mr N and Mrs L Holdsworth, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, N Griffiths, Penkridge, Staffordshire with Grifford 1 Neddard and breed stalwards DE, ED and AL Jones, Caersws, Newtown with Dendor 1 Nimrod.

Moving on to the heifer calves, the packed show ring were treated to six very large classes of well presented Hereford heifers - a joy to be hold. The first heifer in to the ring, as she was the oldest heifer at 15 months of age in the show, was Normanton 1 Enoki 4th from TD and WT Livesey, Normanton, Leicestershire. This beautifully balanced and powerful heifer took her class and subsequently the Grand Female Championship sponsored by Ballard, Dale, Syree and Watson. She then went on to be awarded the Reserve Supreme Championship. "Enoki 4th, who is another Champion with a great set of performance recorded figures, was later sold at the Designer Genes Sale for 6,000gns.

The Reserve Grand Female Championship went to B Birch and G Brindley, Weston, Staffordshire with 13 month old Sky High 1 Dainty Duchess. This stylish heifer, who is out of Shraden 1 Duchess L581 and by the Cogent AI sire Romany 1 Lawbreaker RE L23, has an eye muscle area and intramuscular fat EBV's in the top 1% of the Breed.

There was also red rosettes for A Hughes, Halifax, West Yorkshire with 12 month old Invictus 1 Annabella, LR and AM Ayre, South Molton, Devon with Frenchstone P. 1 Get Real, G Blandford with Bosa 1 Brownie 999 and Bosa 1 Julia 1016 and P Cobley, Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire with Kinglee 1 Nicole 539.

The HCBA also organised a Young Handlers Competition which was Judged by Matthew Rollason from Bury in Lancashire. Matthew judged young handlers in two sections; a junior category, 16 and Under and a senior class which was 17 to 26. Each young handler wore a unique armband and were judged throughout the show for style and handling ability. Youngsters were also marked on their show preparation skills and knowledge of the animals being paraded. Taking the Junior section it was Isla Soutter who came out on top to continue her great run of form, with her brother Finlay in second place and Oliver Garnett-Smith in third.

In the Senior section it was Luke New who took the first prize card followed by Andrew Whitlow, who was also the highest placed HCBA member and in third position it was Scott Coates.

Matthew then awarded Miss Isla Soutter with the Overall Champion rosette with Luke New in Reserve.