THE 2020 Senior Champion Miterdale Shadow started his campaign for the title on the opening day of the season on July 4 by winning at Wardhall beating in 2019 puppy champion Acorn. From here he went on to 13 championship wins to claim the coveted title.

Miterdale Shadow’s season was cut short by serious injury on September 26 and had to wait on the sidelines for the remainder of the season, which has been heart-wrenching for young owner Sophie Steele who puts a lot of time and effort into her hounds.

Sophie this year has had the assistance of new helper Millie Mawson, who has taken a keen interest and helped Sophie, Buster and the Miterdale team during the year.

Miterdale Shadow took victories at Helton, Dearham, Bridekirk, Tallentire Hill, Redmain, Low Place and Lowick, in four of the six areas (Cockermouth and Workington, Whitehaven, Carlisle and Penrith and Ulverston), showing he has all-round talent for different running terrain.

His greatest achievement of the year was winning the August Premier Trail at Tallentire Hill where he held on strongly to take the victory, again denying Acorn a win.

Miterdale Shadow has brought a lot of joy to his young handler over the years as he took 2017 Puppy Championship and was runner-up 2019 Senior Championship. He has proved himself as a good all-round competitor.

Team Miterdale had a couple of doubles during the season at Bridekirk, at which Shadow took the seniors and Copper the Open Restricted, and at Low Place, where Shadow took the seniors and Favour the pups. Having a double during the season is always a great honour for handlers.

2020 senior runner-up Huntsman’s Nimrod provided a nail-biting battle to catch Shadow. On October 18 she obtained her 12th win of the season, putting her one win behind Shadow, leaving seven trails for her to try and claim a last-minute victory from Shadow and handler Denise Bland.

Denise had a nail-biting last week as Nimrod was missing overnight at Millstone Moor, but was thankfully found the next morning close to the trail field. Three meetings were cancelled due to adverse weather in the last week leaving the final day of the season for Nimrod to make it a tie in the championship title.

Nimrod had been prominent throughout the trail and what produced a nailbiting last field finish for both Sophie and Denise where Nimrod had the advantage coming up the finish and was beat on the line by course specialist Cracking Last One to deny Nimrod the joint title.

Miterdale Shadow’s 2020 titles include HTA Senior Champion and August Premier held at Tallentire Hill.

Sophie Steele has answered some questions on how she feels this season went:

What was your goal at the start of the 2020 season?

My goal at the start of the season was to go to the trails, enjoy myself, run my hounds and try my best.

What was your most memorable win/moment during 2020 season?

My most memorable win was at Tallentire Hill Premier Trail in August as it was a good race between Buster and Acorn. It was a really warm day meaning Buster just got over the line and winning all three trails at Bridekirk. These are just a few to choose from but every time Buster runs he makes me proud.

How does it feel being 2020 senior champion ?

The old dog championship is the pinnacle of the sport and the idea of ever winning it was a far and distant dream, so to have finally achieved this is a dream come true. I would just like to say if I can achieve this then it should give hope to anyone new or young joining the sport.

What tips do you have for young trainers ?

My tips as a young trainer is to treat your hounds well – if you give them the best of your attention then they will try their best for you.

Who’s your biggest influence?

Over my time in the sport there has been so many people who have helped and advised I couldn’t have managed without. There are so many to mention by name but without their support and knowledge I wouldn’t have achieved my success.

Does Buster have any favourite habits?

Buster’s favourite habits are not to go to bed so he will sit and hide so he gets carried to bed. He likes his rub on his head on you as if he is going to give you a cuddle and loves playing with his tennis ball.

What is Buster’s favourite treat?

Buster’s favourite treat is mum’s homemade gingerbread and a cup of tea.

Whitehaven Area Point for 2020: Senior Hound - Crazy; Senior Maiden - Tie - Hawkswood and Overwater Marvin; Pups - Jenny’s Quest; Open Restricted - Nashville; Open Maiden - Kinniside Jacko; Open Non-Winners - Foxparke Shakalakaboomboom; Veterans - Thorn Fire.

Cold Fell Trophy Winners - 2020: Senior Hound - Huntsman’s Nimrod; Pups - Jenny’s Quest; Alan Pugh Trophy - Eden Raya.