The two-day Royal Welsh Winter Fair opens its gates on Monday 28 November – its success already assured through record livestock entries and strong demand for trade stand space.

The organisers are confident that attendance, which stood at 25,667 last year, will rise again, despite the forced cancellation of the linked poultry show.

Having successfully introduced horses four years ago, the management team has gone all out this year to pull in customers interested in shopping for things as diverse as Welsh cheese, handicrafts or clothing.

But it is the on-the-hoof and on-the-hook competitions for cattle, sheep and pigs that will bring most people through the turnstiles.

Sheep judging starts at 9am on the first day, and the judges for the six different sections will have to evaluate 404 pairs, compared with 375 in 2004, to pick the line-up for the supreme championship.

Then it will down to farmer/butcher Simon David from Somerset, whose family are regular exhibitors at the Fair, to select the overall top pair and reserve.

Lamb carcass judging also takes place on Monday, with separate adjudicators for 129 single and 38 pairs of lambs.

Both live pigs and pig carcasses will be assessed on the same day.

This year there will be a record 72 pigs and 22 pork carcasses on show.

Much of the preliminary cattle judging is scheduled for the first day, but Tuesday is cattle championship day.

It culminates in the supreme award showdown when the best of 295 original entries parade before the judge, Cheshire butcher Chris Stubbs, and a very knowledgeable ringside crowd.

William Lloyd Williams from Machynlleth, who picked last year’s champion, later backed his judgement by paying 6000 for her at the auction, which is again scheduled to start at 3pm.

Lamb carcasses go under the hammer at 10.30am and live sheep at 12 noon.

Last year Welshpool butcher John Langford shelled out 850 for the champion single lamb carcass and 600 for the reserve.