LIMESTONE breeder Mark Priestley clinches the Suffolk Supreme Champion accolade with his outstanding Lime-stone Aston Martin sired ram lamb.
Judge Arthur O’Keeffe from County Cork was impressed with the stock presented to him at the opening day of Balmoral and certainly had difficult decisions to make in each of the classes. His first major decision was to hand the first place rosette to Burnview flock owners Stephanie and William Tait after their Burnview Hitman ram triumphed in the aged ram class. The Burnview flock also went on to claim second in this class with the Strathbogie I’m Invincible ram with Beechcrest flock owners Shaun and Ruth Turkington claiming third.
Shaun and Ruth Turkington took first in the shearling ram class with Strathbogie Statham, S&W Tait claiming second with Solwaybank Gent and Glenpark flock owner Richard Beattie taking third.
With a line-up of 30 strong ram lambs, the crowded ringside got their first glimpse of the stylish RUAS champion from the Limestone flock, a son of Limestone Aston Martin, with Stephanie and William Tait’s Strathbogie I’m Invincible son taking second and Norman and Alfred Robinson’s Rookery Apollo claiming third.
In the aged ewe line-up it was Benrafton flock owners Alfred and Norman Robinson’s eye catching Cairness Ignition bred female who was handed the first place rosette. In 2017 this ewe took the RUAS Supreme title as a shearling ewe. Donrho flock owner Patrick Donnelly took second and Campbell and Jason Watson of the Burnview flock claimed third.
With 38 shearling ewes lined out judge Arthur O’Keeffe had a difficult task ahead. Campbell and Jason Watson’s Harpercroft Triple Crown sired shearling ewe came out on top ahead of County Tyrone breeders Stephanie and William Tait’s second placed Strathbogie I’m Invincible sired ewe and Ballynacannon flock owner Dennis Taylor third.
David Ford of the Mullaghboy flock shone in the ewe lamb category with his Strathbogie I’m Invincible ewe lamb taking first spot, Dennis Taylor taking second and Stephanie and William Tait taking third.
Stephanie and William Tait continued their success coming out on top winning the group of three just ahead of Dennis Taylor and Stephen Sufferin whilst the Burnview team also took the winning rosette with their pair of lambs followed closely by Dennis Taylor and Lesley and Mervyn Liggett.
In the final deliberations the Limestone flock claimed the Male Champion and the coveted Suffolk Supreme Champion; Campbell and Jason Watson took Female Champion and Reserve Overall Champion; Stephanie and William Tait, Reserve Male Champion, and Alfred and Norman Robinson Reserve Female Champion.
The interbreed was held later in the week with Stephanie and William Tait and Campbell and Jason Watson taking the Reserve Interbreed Pairs title. Mark Priestley’s ram lamb took Reserve Supreme Interbreed Champion and also Reserve Interbreed Shortwool champion. Great achievements in very strong classes.
All in all a fantastic few days for the Suffolk breed with classes of over 40 sheep forward and many new breeders trying their hands in Northern Ireland’s premier livestock showcase.
Commenting on the show Joe Stewart, NI Branch Chairman, commented: “This was the strongest show of Suffolk sheep in many years with visitors from all over the UK and Ireland lining the ring four deep, clear evidence that Suffolk sheep are on the up and up. A fellow visiting breeder commented to me that he would have been happy to take any of the 35 gimmers forward to join his own prestigious flock.
“Our future looks bright with about 40 per cent of the sheep in the Young Breeders class being handled by young Suffolk breeders and the Young Breeder All Ages Championship being won by Neale Fleming.
“On behalf of the Northern Ireland Branch I would like to thank our judge Arthur O’Keeffe for the efficient way in which he undertook his task and to the ring stewards for the assistance which they offered to our exhibitors. To our exhibitors I say a massive thank you for the trouble you took to present the Suffolk breed at its very best.
“Our Branch Championships take place on June 8 at Armagh Show with a large entry of quality Suffolk sheep assured.”