by | Jul 3, 2023

It was a day to remember for young Simmental breeder Finlay Soutter (17), Yew Tree Farm, Ashby De La Zouch, Leicestershire who carried all before him to win the Royal Norfolk’s prestigious Young Handler competition on the second day of the show on Thursday 29th June. Presenting the trophy to Finlay, in front of a truly packed ring side crowd was William, Prince of Wales!

Throughout the competition Finlay was parading the classy heifer Brandane Millie who is the foundation female in his newly established Millennium Simmental pedigree herd, and who was bred by well-known breeder and stockman Jimmy McMillan, Bradwell Ash, Bury St Edmunds.

Against a huge entry of Young Handlers across all breeds in the show, Finlay was required to parade Millie around the ring then walk her up to the judge where he was asked various questions on how she had been prepared for the class, what feeding she was on, and general questions about Millie herself just to test general knowledge. Thereafter he was placed into the lineup and was further judged on how Millie was stood and presented, and Finlay’s ability to settle her.

Of winning the competition and having Prince William present the trophy to him, Finlay said: “First of all it’s a great honour to have won the Champion Young Handler award. I have won young handlers’ Championships before but never at a Royal Show. To do that and have the trophy presented by Prince William is just really special and a memory I’ll never forget.”

“Prince William was so easy to talk to. He asked me how old Brandane Millie was and also about the Simmental breed. He also asked if I had shown at the Royal Norfolk Show before and why Brandane Millie was so special,” Finlay continued.

February 2021 born, Brandane Millie is full of breeding being sired by the AI bull Sterling Gino 15, and out of the noted Sterling Candy’s FCUK, a female bought at the Sterling Sale. Last year as a young heifer Brandane Millie was successfully shown by Jimmy McMillan and picked up a hatful of awards including the Junior Female Championship at the Royal Highland.

Picking up the story, Finlay went on to say: “Millie was purchased privately by my grandad (Doug Mash, Chesham, Bucks) and was gifted to me as a birthday present. It was a great boost to start my own herd of pedigree cattle with such a great heifer. I greatly admire Millie as she has style, shape and muscle, with femininity to complement, and has incredible blood lines. This year I plan on showing her at the Great Yorkshire, and the Royal Welsh as they are two shows I’ve never exhibited at.”

Beyond the upcoming shows Finlay has clear aims for the future and said: “Ambition for my newly established Millennium Simmental herd is for it to slowly expand to more females, and hopefully to attend show and sales with their progeny. The main focus will be on obtaining and breeding quality foundation female lines. I like the Simmental breed as they’re known for their maternal traits, producing plenty milk and having a great temperament. I think these qualities make them ideal females for the future in both pedigree herds and commercial breeding.”

Commenting, the British Simmental Cattle Society General Manager Iain Kerr said: “On behalf of all members, the Society warmly congratulates Finlay on this fantastic personal achievement, and outstanding promotion of the Simmental breed. Across all of the many young handlers taking part it was great to see both the enthusiasm and ability on show.”