Fenland Queen is crowned winner for Belgian Hare breeder from Chatteris

WITH her graceful lines and sleek coat, Fenland Queen wowed the judges and took her owner to the pinnacle of his showing career.

The elegant 11-month-old Belgian Hare beat off stiff competition from 135 exhibits at the National Championships at the weekend allowing Winston Laud to bring home the National Belgian Hare Club’s coveted Champion Challenge Cup.

Mr Laud, who has spent a lifetime showing and breeding the fancy breed of domestic rabbit, said: “She is just perfection. She is what it is all about. Winning this cup is like a dog breeder winning Crufts or a racehorse owner wining the Derby.”

The win at Burton on Trent will add to the impressive collection of silverware won by the 65-year-old retired farm manager from Chatteris who inherited his love for the breed from his father and grandfather.

Mr Laud of Fairview Crescent said: “I was brought up with all the preparation for showing and breeding. I was just eight when my dad died and I took over from him. My dad used to keep a hundred at a time but I have about 45.

“I can pick them from the nest, the ones which will be champions. The secrets have been passed down to me and they will die with me.”

“This is my life, day and night. One day away from them is enough and I still want to strive for more success. You have to have the will to win.”

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Belgian Hares are thought to have been brought to this country in the 1800s after developing through selective breeding. They have been called the poor man’s race horse. Judges look for length, gracefulness, arched back and overall condition.

Mr Laud’s expertise has also led to him judging at competitions throughout the country and also selling his hares both here and abroad.

His love for the Belgian Hare does not extend to other breeds of rabbit. He said: “I was born into this and other breeds don’t attract me whatsoever. The Belgian Hare is so beautiful, long and elegant.”

Unfortunately Mr Laud, who keeps the cup for 12 months, will be unable to compete for it next year as he has been chosen as a judge.

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