Originally bred in and bought out of Wales by Blair Duffton and Rebecca Stewart, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, the Limousin sired steer Tip Top returned to the Principality to win the supreme overall championship at the 2016 Welsh Winter Fair held at the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells, on Tuesday 29th November.
In doing so Blair Duffton and Rebecca Stewart became the first Scottish exhibitors to win the coveted Welsh Winter Fair title.
Played out in front of huge crowds the 640kgs Tip Top had come through the Limousin sired section on the first day before lifting the steer championship and then supreme championship in front of joint judges Bryn Lloyd, Garthiaen, Llandrillo, Denbighshire, and Pearse McNamee, Kiltoal, Lifford, Co Donegal.
Commenting on behalf of the judges Bryn Lloyd said: “The steer was an outstanding Champion. He was just full of meat, very correct in every way, a good walker, and just carried so much presence and style.”
As they were lifting the title in Wales word filtered through that the Duffton and Stewart partnership were simultaneously lifting the Supreme Championship at Thainstone’s Christmas Classic in Aberdeen with their Limousin sired heifer ‘Oucha Baby’. Quite a day!
Working as a livestock agent for Blackmuir Cattle and Sheep, based in Huntly, Abderdeenshire, Blair Duffton has long shown primestock cattle in his own right and has been a prolific winner of titles across many of the major and local shows in Scotland.
The steer was an outstanding Champion. He was just full of meat, very correct in every way, a good walker, and just carried so much presence and style.Bryn Lloyd, Judge
The double win of the supreme at both the Welsh Winter Fair and at the Christmas Classic on the same day, and with both animals going on to sell for £4000 respectively, all added up to quite a remarkable achievement and one never to be forgotten.
Speaking afterwards Mr Duffton, who himself was showing in Aberdeen on the day, said: “I just can’t believe that I’ve been fortunate enough to win both of these titles and including the Welsh Winter Fair which carries such a fantastic reputation. The standard of stock at that show is so high that you can never go there thinking that you could win.
“I first saw the bullock on Facebook and that he was for sale and decided to go to Brecon Market to have a look. There were some quality cattle on show and I ended up buying four on the day. Tip Top took my eye straight away and he’s just gone on and kept improving through the year.
“I’ve show cattle for many years and to have a day like this is just incredible and makes it all so worthwhile.”
Whilst at the Welsh Winter Fair Tip Top was looked after by Stewart and Lynsey Bett, along with Dougie McBeath. In the ring Ayrshire’s Sean Kennedy was on the halter.
As described, and very much a Celtic combination of Scotland and Wales, Tip Top was purchased at the Sale of Show Potentials, Brecon Market, in February by Blair Duffton for £2250 from the breeders Colin and Wendy Phillips, The Batch, Sarnesfield, Weobley, Herefordshire.
With a considerable and growing track record of success at the Welsh Winter Fair, this is the second time the Phillips have bred the supreme champion and having won it themselves back in 2005.
Remarkably the sire of this year’s Champion, Powerhouse Elite, has now sired three of the previous Supreme Champions at the Welsh Winter Fair.
The Phillips, who run 40 crossbred cows and 30 pedigree under the Powerhouse prefix, still have Powerhouse Elite going strong in their herd with the breeding company Cogent having the semen rights.
Come sale time Tip Top led by the kilted Sean Kennedy, went through the ring and sold for £4000 to the regular Welsh Winter Fair buyer Mr Anthony Kitson, a quality butcher from Yorkshire.
It was another fantastic show of primestock cattle and one that was again dominated by Limousin sired cattle very much living up to their carcase breed moniker.
Taking the reserve supreme overall and heifer championship was Lincolnshire’s Phil and Sharon Sellers with their 596kgs Limousin sired French Connection.
Prolific exhibitors this is the second year in a row, and the fourth time in all, that the husband and wife time have placed reserve supreme overall.
Bought privately from Frank Page, Northants, the aptly named heifer was sired by the Page’s stock bull Heathmount Frenchconnection who bred the 2015 Smithfield Festival champion.
Earlier this year French Connection had previously won the overall supreme at Southwell Show and was first in its class at the English Winter Fair.
Standing reserve steer Champion to the overall supreme was another from the Sellers in the shape of The Gangster.
Weighing in at 584kgs this May 2015 born beast is by the noted Rossignol sire.
He was bred by David Jarman, Workington and bought for £4000 at the March calf sale held in Carlisle market.
Since then he has been shown very successfully winning classes and titles at both the Countryside Live and English Winter Fair events respectively.
Taking the titles right around the home nations, Northern Ireland got in on the act when the stylish Annie Power lifted the reserve heifer championship for Dermot Small, Kilkeel, Co Down.
June 2015 born and weighing 646kgs, this heifer was originally bred by Andrew Proctor, Morpeth, Northumberland.
Three quarter Limousin bred Annie Power was sired by Swarland Goldfinger which is a son of Swarland Dapper (by Salomon).
The Limousin sired heifer Read All About It from Elfed Williams, Sennybridge, Powys, took the Butchers Choice Award.
Another with a show record behind it this heifer, purchased at Ruthin in February 2015 where it had placed champion, had previously won the baby beef title at the NBA Expo held at Bakewell, as well as a class at the 2016 National Limousin Show.
Bred by Wendy Morgan, the 530kgs September 2015 born heifer was sired by the French bred bull Hedgard.
In a high quality show of calves, judged by the well-known Richard Bartle, farm manager at Dinmore Manor Estate, Hereford, it was another championship double for Limousin sired calves.
Taking the overall title was January born Brutus Cheekygirl from Dai Brute, Gwndwnwal, Brecon who runs fifty commercial cows alongside his Brutus pedigree herd.
Described by Mr Brute as “probably the best calf I have ever bred”, Cheekygirl is by the shapely Cwmlimo Hercules, bought from Lampeter’s Berwyn Hughes, and is out of a Limousin cross dam.
In the post-show sale the champion calf went on to sell for £4000. Commenting, Richard Bartle said: “The champion calf is outstanding. She has a super top, great depth and width of hindquarter, and carried a tremendous presence in the ring.”
This further judging stint came hard on the heels of championship judging for Mr Bartle at the recent English Winter Fair.
Taking the reserve in the baby beef section was Bowen and Bowen, Welshpool, Powys with their April 2016 heifer Queen B.
This heifer is sired by the highly successful bull Liscon Bigshow who was purchased for 7200gns at a Carlisle sale.
Earlier this year, in what was her first outing, Queen B had lifted the baby beef championship at the Borderway Agri Expo at Carlisle. Making the top price of the day, Queen B went on to sell for £5800. This further success followed on from the English Winter Fair where the steer champion, Mr Chuckles exhibited by Brymore Academy and Clatworthy Family, had been bred by the Bowens.
In the pedigree section the champion Limousin went to Elfed Williams, Sennybridge, with the Limousin heifer Sarkley Leane.
May 2015 born, and bred by E H Pennie and Son, Sarkley Leane is by Plumtree Fantastic and is out of the Rocky daughter Sarkley Dusk.
Taking the reserve was Cwmlimo Lord from Gwanwyn Rowlands, Bala, Gwynedd.
This 608kgs steer is another bred by Berwyn Hughes, Lampeter. Sired by Cwmlimo Eubank it is out of Sannan Duchess, a Glangwden Union daughter.