Murray Grey Cow Makes Breed History at Royal Bath & West Show

A Murray Grey cow made breed history at the Royal Bath and West Show by winning a British interbreed beef championship for only the second time on record.

The Murray Grey breed originates from Australia and is a cross between Aberdeen Angus and Shorthorn, only scored its first interbreed success at the Pembrokeshire Show in 2013. So for herd manager Wendy Finucane to follow that so quickly with a second championship was a dream come true.

Ashrose Rita 15th

Interbreed Beef Champion - Ashrose Rita 15th

“It just means so much for the breed to be recognised by a judge as well respected as William Mclaren,” she said. “We’re just on cloud nine.” The Ashrose Herd, owned by Michael Rosenberg CBE, was established in 1975 and Mrs Finucane became herd manager at Pencoed Farm, Carmarthenshire, in 1992. “We were shut down with TB for three years and during that time I did a lot of selective breeding using semen from Australia,” she said. “We’ve added 250kg to the cows and since we went clear of TB we’ve just hit the ground running.”

Judge Mr Mclaren praised the seven year-old cow Ashrose Rita 15th for her economic value, given her size and ability to finish well off grass. “We think that those traits make this kind of cow the way forward,” added Mrs Finucane. “It’s been a really interesting journey seeing how you can improve a breed without losing its good traits.” Ashrose Rita 15th is by Bundaleer Xroad and out of Ashrose Rita 11th.

In reserve spot was Laity Farms’ champion South Devon bull Z Polkinghorne Indiana, who also beat off competition from 112 other South Devon cattle to win the Herd Book Society’s National Show. “To win the National Show and to get the reserve interbreed title is fantastic – I didn’t expect it at all,” said owner Philip Laity. “He was breed champion at the Devon County Show last week and he’s also working well at home.”

Mr Laity, who keeps 120 suckler cows at Gwinear, Hayle, Cornwall, became the first ever breeder of polled South Devon cattle to win a national championship. “We’ve got the largest polled herd in the country, but to win against the quality cattle today was really something.” The five year-old Z Polkinghorne Indiana was sired by II X Woodhayes Illya 2 and out of Z Polkinghorne Iris 72.

Caroline Poultney, secretary of the South Devon Herd Book Society, said the quality of cattle at the show was just getting better and better. “It’s our sixth national show and it’s inspired breeders to raise the bar once again.”


Father and daughter Julian and Alice Newth scooped their sixth Interbreed Pig Championship at the Show. The local family from Prestleigh, Somerset, claimed the title with their three year-old British Saddleback boar Prestcombe Golden Arrow 15.

Sired by Prestcombe Golden Arrow 6, who won at the Devon Country Show in May and at the Bath & West Show in 2011, he has winning in his genes. Judging the pigs was Brian Mulkeen, from Drummersfield Farm, Wigan. “The boar was superb for his age, and you really don’t see many as good as him,” he said. “He is a really good pig. He walked well and really showed himself off.”

British Saddleback boar Prestcombe Golden Arrow 15

Interbreed Pig Champion - Prestcombe Golden Arrow 15

Mr Newth only lives around the corner from the Bath & West showground where he also has 115 dairy cows and 30 Suffolk and Jacob ewes, alongside 30 Landrace, Large White and Pietrain sows. The family’s next challenge will be competing at the Three Counties Show in June. “We are chuffed to bits to win; we love doing it and just want to improve all the time,” said Alice.

In reserve spot was a Large White sow from Steven Loveless of Sunrise Farm, Bridport, Dorset. Homebred Portbredy Dainty Lady is by Portbredy Champion Boy and out of her namesake Portbredy Dainty Lady. Mr Loveless was showing alongside his daughter Hayley and both will be heading to the Royal Cornwall Show.


In the sheep ring, a Scotch Blackface ram shown by Stuart Cornelius came up top. The three year-old ram came from Scotland and Mr Cornelius bought him as a stock ram for his 150 ewes at Orchard Farm, Camelford, Cornwall. He also keeps Devon and Cornwall Longwools and some Texel sheep. “It takes three days of hard work before the show but it is worth it,” he said.

The reserve title went to John Carter, of Millcroft Farm, Dawlish, Devon, for his Rouge shearling ewe. Mr Carter also won the any other continental breed section at last year’s show.

Poultry Club Royal Championship Show

More than 550 birds competed for the prestigious Poultry Club Royal Championship Show at the Show, with a chocolate and white Muscovy duck taking the honours.

It was the first time the new summer Championship Show had been held, attracting exhibitors from across the country. In close competition, owner Michael Jackson from St Austell, Cornwall, ended up making a clean sweep, winning both the championship and reserve championship prizes. “I’ve been showing for 20 years and have never had an Interbreed Champion, so to take both the champion and reserve spots is an amazing feeling,” he said.

Mr Jackson brought along 90 birds to compete for the prize, and ended up with six individual breed section champions. The reserve interbreed winner was a year-old White Wyandotte. “I’ve got 650 birds at home, and preparing so many for the show is a lot of work,” he said. “I knew I had some good birds, but never imagined I’d win the championship.”

As well as the wide range of poultry on show, exhibitors entered 483 plates of eggs for the separate egg competition, which was won by Sue Black. Her six Cayuga duck eggs impressed the judges with the even shape, size, colour and weight – and her Indian Runner drake also claimed the Light Waterfowl championship.

Over the whole four days of the Bath & West Show exhibitors entered more than 800 birds, and the section was going from strength to strength each year, said Poultry Steward Paul Meatyard. “We had 18 champion birds competing for the supreme championship, and it’s great that there is so much interest in keeping these rare breeds going. It would be a dreadful shame to just let them die out.”

Bath & West

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