Intermediate Stake The only runner in the Intermediate stake was Cupidon Du Noble Limier handled by Ms. Chantal Van Raemdonck.  The hound set off at a good pace through the woods, and followed the line perfectly as it turned to the left just inside the end of the wood and then veered right out in to the field. We then followed along the field until we got to the end. Here the hound initially checked and cast back and forth, but then picked up the line again and set off once more, again at a good pace.  The line went along a track and then turned right, going down the edge of another patch of woodland and then following it round to the left. Once round the opposite side of the wood the hound initially missed another sharp left turn and kept heading straight onwards, out into the field. Here the handler wanted to keep going across the field, but the hound convinced her to turn back and picked up the line again, following it down into the bottom end of what was a very wet field. Down at the bottom the hound had difficulty in finding the way out again, but the handler cast out into the field and the hound then picked up the line once more as it came up the hill to make a left turn round the end of another patch of woodland.  The hound found the turn round the wood a little bit difficult, but after casting round set off again positively, crossing a grass field and turning right. By this time we were ¾ of the way round the line, and the hound had followed most of it inch perfect. Unfortunately there was some doubt about exactly where the line went at this point, but as the hound had been hunting so well I decided to trust it.  For some reason though it made an additional loop round to the left and went up to some farm buildings before turning back and coming down to a small patch of woodland. Here the line went to the right of the wood, but hound and handler went left. I thought that they may turn right at the other end of the wood, but they initially went straight on and down a track to the road. Here though they turned back and on reaching the wood cast along the bottom of it, picking up the line when they reached the other side, and then hunting into the finish where the hound identified the runner.  Time 1 hour 10 minutes. Senior Stake Due to a late cancelation, Cupidon Du Noble Limier handled by Ms. Chantal Van Raemdonck was also the only runner in Senior. The line started on a footpath which ran down the side of a wood, and the hound set off at a steady pace, following the line correctly as it turned first to the right, then to the left, and out onto a track where it turned right. The line only went along this track a short distance before turning right again down a different track which ran parallel to the route we had taken from the start, however the hound missed this turn and carried on for 100 – 150 yards or so, at which point I decided to call them back as only a little further on up this track they would have been on the line again, but going in the heel direction.  They then set off down the correct track, but progress was slower than it had been previously. At the end of this track we came to a junction where several tracks met, and here the hound had difficulty in finding the way. Quite some time was spent casting up and down and trying each track before the correct one was taken. A short distance down this track the hound suddenly “came alive” as it picked up the line again, and we followed it along the track and then correctly made a sharp turn to the left. The line only went a short distance in this direction before making another sharp left turn. The hound overshot this turn and went through a wood and out onto a track before turning round and coming back, this time successfully picking up
the line again and setting off in the correct direction once more. The next mile was covered at what (for me anyway!) was more or less jogging speed all the way as we swung right handed past a pond, out onto the track where it turned left, and then making a sharp right turn down the side of a wood. There was a short pause where the line turned sharp left and the hound initially overshot the turn before coming back to pick up the scent, but we then headed off again until we reached a track where the line turned sharp right. The Hound made the turn, but then found it much more difficult to follow the line along this track which was a popular walking route. After nearly half a mile the hound went off the track to the left and cast round in a small field before returning to the track and carrying on another 100 yards or so to a junction with another track. Here the line turned full left, almost going back on itself (about a 315 degree turn). I thought that hound and handler were going to come unstuck at this point as they tried the tracks, and the surrounding fields, for quite some time before eventually picking up the line again and heading off in the right direction. After some distance the handler, who had become a little uncertain that the hound was correct, brought the hound back along the track for a couple of hundred yards, but the hound then turned round once more and retraced the route it had taken down the track and onto the road at the end. Here the handler wanted to try onwards and to the right, but the hound knew that the line went to the left and won the argument! They then followed the line correctly along the road, round to the right and into the finish where the runner was identified. Time 1 hour 35 mins. The awards It is always a little bit difficult judging a stake where there is a small number of entries, but since I had the rare privilege of judging all 4 stakes this gave a reasonable overview of what the overall scenting conditions were like and I therefore felt confident in awarding the following: First in Novice to Ike of Roberts’ Choice.  I hope that Robert is able to bring this hound to the UK to compete as I believe it showed signs of having really first rate capabilities. First in Junior to Gaia De La Voix Royal. Gaia found the first, probably heavily foiled, part of her line difficult going, but once onto cleaner ground really picked up the pace and hunted well. First in both Intermediate and Senior to Cupidon Du Noble Limier. I really enjoyed following this hound in both stakes. A good steady worker, easy to read, and a hound which signaled such pleasure and enthusiasm when finding the line again after it had been lost. No other prizes were awarded. A big thankyou to the Belgische Club Voor St. Hubertushonden for asking me to judge at these trials, thanks to my assistant judge, Ms. Catherine Tilleuil, to the landowners, the line walkers, and to Krist’l Bal for organising the whole thing. Purely by chance this happened to be the weekend of my birthday – and it was an excellent present! Chris Daniel