Chatteris rabbit breeder’s Fenland Queen

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 competition from 135 exhibits 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. 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 from Chatteris, who inherited his love for the breed from his father and grandfather.

Mr Laud, of Fairview Crescent, Chatteris, 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 100 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.

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