THE Northern Ireland Dorset Horn and Poll Breeders’ 50th annual Premier Show and Sale, sponsored by Norbrook Laboratories, took
place on Monday, July 25, in Ballymena Livestock Market.
Attracting 173 sheep, the sale provided a tremendous platform for exhibitors to display the quality sheep on offer whilst potential purchasers could avail of the expansive selection of sheep on offer.
The pre-sale show attracted a terrific turnout to mark the 50th year of the sale, with each class well supported, giving onlookers a spectacle to enjoy.
Judge for the day was Richard Rossiter, who runs the renowned 520 ewe Huish Flock in Devon. His champion on the day was found in lot 34 from Thomas Wright, Ballytaggart, for his September born ram lamb “Ballytaggart Evolution”.
Sired by Downkillybegs Daredevil, this ram lamb stood strong in line-up of over 30 others with excellent style, confirmation, and breed character.
He later went on to fetch the top price of the day, selling for 3600gns to a trio of breeders, John Duggan (Bellewstown), John Wilson (Tardree) and Kevin O’Connell (Coomkeen).
Reserve champion of the day was winner of the ewe lamb class from Ellen McClure, Mountdale, for her September born ewe lamb “Mountdale E322”, who stood top in a strong class of 27 ewe lambs. Sired by Ballytaggart Charlie from a homebred ewe, this lamb showed power, presence, and breed character.
She later went on to sell for a joint top price in the female section of 1050gns, finding her new home with fellow breeders Samuel and Elaine Caldwell, Bally-maconnelly Flock.
Horn ram lamb: 1st Colin Johnston
Poll ram lamb: 1st Thomas Wright, 2nd W&K Carson, 3rd Richard Currie, 4th Graham Cubitt, 5th Samuel and Elaine Caldwell.
Pair of ram lambs: 1st Thomas Wright.
Shearling ram: 1st Andrew and Caroline Kennedy, 2nd David and Sarah Stevenson, 3rd Colin Johnston, 4th Colin Johnston.
Poll Dorset ewe lamb: 1st Ellen McClure, 2nd Graham Cubitt, 3rd Cameron Carson, 4th Graham Cubitt, 5th Caroline McKeown.
Pair of ewe lambs: 1st Graham Cubitt, 2nd Caroline McKeown, 3rd Ellen McClure, 4th Amy McConnell, 5th James and Craig Robson.
Novice breeder class: 1st Thomas and Samuel Purdy, 2nd Ella and Harris Kennedy, 3rd Ella and Harris Kennedy, 4th Raymond Hewitt, 5th Thomas McConaghie.
Shearling ewe: 1st Laura Weir, 2nd Caroline McKeown, 3rd Laura Weir, 4th Winston Moran, 5th Winston Moran.
Progeny group of three: 1st Graham Cubitt.
Supreme champion: Thomas Wright; Reserve champion: Ellen McClure
Opposite sex to champion: Ellen McClure
Best horn exhibit: Colin Johnston
Flock gaining most show points: Thomas Wright
Following the champion, the next top price of the day went to William and Karen Carson for their ram lamb, “Downkillybegs Einstein”, who stood second in the ram lamb class. Sired by Downkillybegs Clinker, out of a homebred ewe, this lamb showed excellent breed type and quality throughout, selling for 2400gns to David and Sarah Stevenson, Greenhill flock.
Next up with joint top price in the female section was Laura Weir with her shearling ewe, “Lisnafillan D1631”. Scanned in lamb with twins to Lisnafillan Zion, this eye-catching ewe sold for 1050gns to Allister Morton, Stobilee Flock, Scotland.
Hot on her heels was a lot from the McKeown family, who received 1000gns for their shearling ewe. Sired by Downkillybegs Cactus Jack, this powerful ewe was snapped up by Elaine Gilmour, Portaferry. The McKeown family continued their success with a smart ewe lamb sired by Ballyhamage Del Pierro, which sold for 950gns to L Greer, Hillsborough.
Quality was present in abundance across all classes of sheep, reflected by the high clearance rate and demand which saw buyers from both here and the mainland taking advantage of the superior sheep on offer.
Other leading prices of the sale were as follows: G Cubitt 820gns to P&S Knowles, Cullybackey, E&H Kennedy 800gns to J Johnston, Aghalee, C McKeown 750gns to A Morton, Lanark, J&C Robson 750gns to A Noble, Antrim, C McKeown 750gns to K O’Connell, J&C Robson, 700gns to R Clarke, T Wright 700gns to R Clarke.
Ram lamb: 768.08
Ewe lamb: 417.07
Shearling ewe: 488.25
Shearling ram: 426.30
The club wishes to thank Noel Gill, Norbrook Laboratories, for its continued sponsorship of the event, which is greatly appreciated.
Thanks must also be extended to judge for the day, Richard Rossiter, for making the trip across the water as well as staff at Ballymena Livestock Market for their out-standing service over the past 50
The next event in the club calendar is the 6th Omagh Sale, which will be held on Friday, August 12, in Beatties Pedigree Centre, Omagh. This will be followed by a new sale held in Swatragh Livestock Market on Friday, August 26.
Both sales have more than 100 sheep on offer, providing a tremendous opportunity to invest in the Dorset breed, which has well and truly proven its ability to stand the test of time, remaining unrivalled in today’s sheep industry.
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