Achilles claims top honour

SUPPORTERS of the Suffolk Punch Trust were celebrating today after one of the stallions involved in its breeding programme claimed top honours at the Suffolk Show.

The five-year-old Besthorpe Achilles, owned by Prof David Cadman, from Aldeburgh, was named supreme champion at the end of a four-hour judging process which saw around 40 examples of the threatened breed on show.

The trust was formed to secure the future of the long-established stud at Hollesley Bay, near Woodbridge, following the decision by the prison service to sell the site.

Prof Cadman purchased the stallion three years ago to support the trust’s work, and Achilles, bred by Neil Syrett at Besthorpe, near Attleborough, in Norfolk, was selected by breed stalwart Roger Clark from Stoke-by-Nayland as having all the right qualities.

Today’s judge, Graham Ward, from Gorefield, near Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, evidently agreed, leaving Achilles’ delighted groom and handler Tracey Pettitt “absolutely over the moon.”

“We have had him since he was two and, although I shouldn’t say it, he’s may favourite,” said Tracey.

“I feel absolutely over the moon; it means all the hard work and effort has utterly paid off. I am very, very happy.”

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Tracey added that Achilles had been kept busy covering mares although this has eased off in recent weeks and this may have helped him to put on a bit of extra condition which might have helpd cath the judge’s eye.

Mr Clark’s six-year-old stallion Kentwell Bugle was reserve male champion while the nine-year-old Block Fen Jester, owned by his wife, Fiona, was best gelding.

The female champion, and reserve overall, was the three-year-old filly Clemmills Anya, owned by Michael Tollemache from Offton, near Ipswich, with reserve spot going to the five-year-old mare Whitton Violet, owned by Mr John Latham from Nettlestead, near Ipswich.

Other class honours were widely shared, with Rede Hall Farm Park’s eight-year-old Withersfield Ruby named best mare with foal at foot while best foal was the colt Whitton Teazle, owned by Sandy Hewett and Tom Walne. Best junior gelding was Eyke Sir Winston, owned by Glen Cass from Greenstead Green, near Halstead, and best junior stallion was St George’s Kingston, owned by Philp Morley from Milden, near Hadleigh.