Hilltown plays host to Dorsets

Thomas Wright with top price ram
Thomas Wright with top price ram

The sixth annual show and sale of pedigree registered Dorset Horn and Polled Dorset Sheep was held in Hilltown Mart on Friday, August 11.

This event was EU accredited to facilitate immediate export of entries to the Republic of Ireland, and was sponsored by MSD Animal Health, manufacturers of Heptavac-P plus and Footvax.

Richard Currie and daughters with the reserve champion

Richard Currie and daughters with the reserve champion

This export show and sale attracted a select offering of ram and ewe lambs with quality sheep coming forward for sale. While numbers were limited owing to the sale’s export status, there was keen interest shown by the strong number of buyers present. There was a noted level of interest from the Republic of Ireland, with buyers from seven southern counties present. This growing interest is currently leading to a marked increase in the number of new flocks being established throughout the length and breadth of Ireland.

The earlier part of the day was given over to the judging of both the ram and ewe lamb classes and this was expertly accomplished by judge Mr Trevor Knox of the Riverview Flock, Armoy Co Antrim.

Both classes were keenly contested with top quality animals being brought forward for judging.

The judge, having carefully weighed up the attributes of all animals presented for show, found his supreme champion in a superbly bred ram lamb from the Downkillybegs Flock of W and K Carson. This tremendously formed and well grown young ram was sired by Richhill Wyatt, off a Downkillybegs dam. It later went on to sell for 400 guineas, being purchased by H J Smyth of the Rockview Flock, Ballynahinch.

William Carson with his champion

William Carson with his champion

It was noted that the sire of this champion also bred the champion of the recently held premier show and sale in Ballymena.

In making his choice, the judge Mr Knox commented on the correctness and presence of the young ram.

The top price of the sale was achieved by a very strong and eye catching young ram lamb from the Ballytaggart Flock of Thomas Wright. This ram was sired by Ballytaggart Tonka, and sold for 540gns to Mr Connell, Ballinalee, Co Longford.

The reserve champion was the ewe lamb from the Hilltop Flock of Richard Currie, a fine example of the Breed sired by Wilsey U768. This ewe lamb sold for 380gns, being purchased by Mark Truesdale of the Donard Flock, Newcastle.

Buyers were definitely in the market for quality stock and leading prices were as follows:

T Wright 540gns (Ram lamb to Mr Connell, Ballinalee Co. Longford). T Wright 420gns (Ram lamb to Mr Patton, Whitecross Co. Armagh). W Carson 400gns (Ram lamb to H J Smyth, Ballynahinch Co Down). R Currie 380gns (Ewe lamb to M Truesdale, Newcastle). R Currie 340gns (Ram lamb to N Clancy, Thurles). M and C Maybin 320gns (Ram lamb to T Knox, Armoy). W Carson 300gns (Ram lamb to B Murphy, Nicholstown Co Kildare). P M Knowles 300gns (Ewe lamb to Mr Kruger, Portarlington Co Laios.

There was a high clearance of sales in both classes and sale averages were as follows:

Class one ram lambs: £368.60; Class four ewe lambs: £ 225.50

The judge, in addition to selecting the champions in each class, had the task of selecting the prize winners in each section. These were as follows: Poll ram lambs – 1stW and K Carson; 2nd M and C Maybin; 3rd R Currie; 4th T Wright; 5th W and K Carson.

Poll ewe lambs - 1st R Currie; 2nd PandM Knowles; 3rd G Cubitt; 4th PandM Knowles; 5th M and C Maybin.

The club would wish to record its appreciation to Mr Trevor Knox for his judging of the event and to MSD Animal Health for sponsoring the annual Hilltown show and sale prizes.

The club would also wish the buyers all the very best with their new purchases, with over one third having made their way south.

The NI Dorset Club would take this opportunity to commend the breed for its qualities, both in the pedigree sector and its ease of lambing, fast growth rates and finishing in the commercial sector.

The next sale organised by NI Dorset Club members is the second annual Omagh show and sale sponsored by TopFlock, and will be held in Omagh Mart on Friday 18th August.

Showing at 5pm with the sale commencing at 7pm.

This sale has will offer new and established breeders the opportunity to purchase top quality male and female stock.