WELSHMAN Kevin Evans was top dog on price yet again at Skipton Auction Mart’s first online work-ing sheep dog sale of 2021, selling three fully broken dogs for a combined £35,600, while his father David established a new world record price of £6,100 for an unbroken pup.
While none of the top-notch Evans trio was able to get near the £20,000 all-time world record price he established at Skipton last autumn with a red bitch, Henna, almost four-years-old, all three dogs at the latest sale achieved five-figure prices for the legendary breeder and triallist, who has been setting the working sheep dog world alight of late with his charges, many related to the handler’s high profile trials champions.
The three-day virtual timed sale (January 18-20) saw Mr Evans, of Llwynfedwen Farm, near Brecon in Powys, head the prices at the North Yorkshire venue for the third sale in succession when achieving £14,300 with his fully broken March, 2019-born tan and white bitch, the aptly named Pink.
The top price performer is by fellow Welshman Ross Games’ chocolate and white dog, Caefelin Clem (Taff), out of Roy Price’s Blue. Mated in December and scanned carrying pups to Mr Evans’ five-year-old Jaff, a litter brother to his world record price Henna, Pink fell to an undisclosed buyer.
Mr Evans was also represented by two further young up-and-coming fully broken 2019 dogs, both rising two-years-old. First forward was a February-born black and white bitch, Groesfaen Leny, a grandson of his own dual European Nursery and Royal Welsh Champion Tanhill Glen, out of Glen Evans’ (no relation) Shell.
The buyer at £11,100 was 37-year-old Northumberland cattle and sheep farmer James Pritchard, custodian of 2,500 acres of hill land in Otterburn, where he runs a 1,500-strong mixed sheep flock of Swaledales, Scottish Blackface, Scotch Mules and pedigree Texel, along with pedigree Limousin and Belted Galloway cattle, and a 150-head commercial herd, on which his new acquisition will be put to work.
Mr Pritchard was actually raised a few miles down the road from Skipton Auction Mart in the village of Farnhill and while his family had no connection with agriculture, it was clearly in his blood and the former Giggleswick School pupil learned the ropes when helping out well-known local farmer John Roberts, before moving lock, stock and barrel to Northumberland in 2007 to take up farming in his own right.
Tanhill Glen had a major influence on Skipton’s opening sale of 2021, with the top stud dog’s breeding having a direct bearing on a good number of well-sold entries. Bred by Kirkby Stephen’s Alec Baines, Glen was acquired by Mr Evans at just 15 months. He is now eight-years-old and still going strong.
Last up for Mr Evans and making £10,200 was the slightly younger March-born black and white dog, Zac, a son of Lyn Howells’ red dog, Boss, and also carrying the gene which will produce red pups. Out of another Howell family dog, Millie, Zac, who is regarded as an excellent nursery prospect, found a new home in Belgium with Jo De Meyst, who hails from Oost-Vlaanderens in the province of East Flanders, and has himself sold dogs at Skipton in the past.
Triallist dad David Evans, of Penclyn Farm, Brecon, was himself represented by three youngsters full of promise, with the headline performer his £6,100 new world record price pup, an 11-week-old black and white bitch, Bet, who smashed the previous unbroken sale record of £3,700 established by Northern Ireland’s Donal Mullaney at Skipton last October.
It was certainly a question of keeping it in the family, as Bet is by son Kevin’s own red dog, Spot, recently acquired from Germany and already proving his worth as a top-class sire. Out of John Bowen’s Tess, a leading Open trials female, she returned to Wales with an unnamed buyer.
Mr Evans Snr also hit £3,800 – that too would have been a new world record unbroken pup price if not for Bet – with a second 11-week-old black and white bitch, Karven Flash, another daughter of Tanhill Glen, out of Steve Lewis’s Elsa. Flash found a new home with an online buyer from Norway, Hilmar Eide, of Torvastad on the island of Karmøy.
David Evans’ leading performer on price at £9,100 was a 12-month-old fully broken black and white bitch, Beacons Peg, by Welsh team member David Howell’s Nip, a World Sheep Dog Trials finalist, out of David’s own Welsh team member, Kemi Maid, herself also by Tanhill Glen. Peg sold to a Scottish buyer, Dunfermline’s Philip Jones.
It proved an exceptional day at the office for the Evans father and son brace, who with six dogs between them netted almost £55,000.
A stronger entry of 19 Scottish-bred dogs produced the day’s second top price of £12,000 for Sion Morgan, who moved from Carmarthenshire to Galashiels in Scotland in 2016 in pursuit of his dream shepherding job and is now in charge of several thousand Scottish Blackface ewes on a local estate. He is also a keen triallist, with several Open wins and a Scottish Nursery reserve championship under his belt.
Mr Morgan’s fully broken October, 2018, black and white dog, Moss, is by north Wales handler Dylan Edwards’ own trials-winning dog Ben, out of Jess, now with Adam Griffiths, but who was also bred by Mr Edwards and is herself by Tanhill Glen. Another strong all-rounder, Moss remained in Scotland with an undisclosed buyer.
Irish dogs were again well in the ascendancy with a 53-strong entry. Doing best of them on price at £9,300 and with a part-broken dog was Brian Farrelly, from Letterkenny in County Donegal with his 11-month-old black and white bitch, Emmy, whose back pedigree was packed with some outstanding dogs, including past international supreme champions. She is by none other than Tanhill Glen, out of Seamus Byrne’s Meg, and with prospects of making an excellent trials bitch, joined a Welsh buyer.
There were 21 entries from England and top dog on price at £9,200 came from Derek Cheetham, of Bamford in Derbyshire’s Peak District, with his 16-month-old black and white bitch, Queen, whose parents are both New Zealand heading dogs, a sturdy, long-legged and even-haired breed famed for their working and herding abilities. Queen fell to Welsh buyer Hefin Evans, from Tal-y-Bont in Ceredigion.
Back with the Irish, Brian White and Aoife Smith, from Naul in north County Dublin, who have done really well in the past with some high-priced dogs at Skipton, make a welcome return to the online sale arena when claiming £7,700 with their rising two-year-old black and white bitch Bec, by David Howell’s Nip, out of Brian’s own top-notch breeding bitch Malta Gwen, who also bred Pat Byrne’s Moss, which made 9,200gns top price for the Irish couple in a previous Skipton sale in 2017. Bec joined a Scottish buyer.
It was by far the most successful of Skipton’s four virtual online sales conducted to date, both in terms of entry numbers and trading levels. New vendors were seen alongside long-standing regulars and of the 112 dogs forward, comprising fully broken, part broken and unbroken, 89 found new homes.
For the opening fixture, the mart adapted conditions of sale to recognise the fact that commercial carriers must now be fully registered in order to legally move dogs across Irish and European borders post-Brexit, exacerbated by the fact that there are currently delays in registering carriers.
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