A strong show of Texels gave judge Robert Cockburn plenty to think about at the opening major show of the season at Northern Ireland’s Balmoral Show.
Robert, breeder of last year’s top priced ram, the 145,000gns Knap Vicious Sid, said the top end of the line in every class was exceptional.
“I was particularly impressed with the quality of the females shown here today and that bodes well for the future of the breed in Northern Ireland. There were some very correct, well fleshed sheep in every class and I’m delighted to have had such a quality show of sheep in front of me.”
Such was the strength of the females forward that Robert tapped out the first prize gimmer as his overall breed champion and followed up with the second prize gimmer as his reserve.
“These are two exceptional females which were very hard to split in their class and are a credit to their breeders. They both have great breed character and fleshing throughout.”
As his champion Robert picked Jack Gault’s gimmer from the Cherryvale flock, GCN14 001261. This daughter of the 14,000gns Baltier Thunderbird is out of a Mulland Photogenic-sired Braehead ewe bought at the Northern Stars sale in 2011 for 2400gns.
“She is an exceptional ewe and just pipped the second prize gimmer for mobility and style,” added Robert.
In reserve spot was Henry Gamble’s gimmer from the Springwell flock, GRS14001409. Sired by Mossfield Unique she is out of Henry’s ewe which was champion at Balmoral in 2013. Both gimmers were on their first show outings of the season.
Taking the award for the best animal of the opposite sex to the champion was the aged tup class winner, Oberstown Usain Bolt from Paul O’Connor. This 2013-born tup was the UK first season sire of the year last year, siring lambs to a top of 52,000gns in his first year. Bred by Pat and Barry Farrel in southern Ireland he’s by Kelso Pavarotti and out of a Curley ewe by Milestonehill O’Gara.
Reserve to him was the winner of the shearling ram class, James Herdman’s Forkins Vespa. This son of Duncryne Uber Cool is out of an Ettrick dam by Knock Papoose.
Leading the way in the aged ewe class was Lousie Breen with a Stainton ewe WPS1300513, by Sportsmans Tremendous II and out of a dam by Knock Oyster.
And then in the ram lambs the winner was Paul O’Connor with his lamb, OCP1500471, a Killyvolgan Veejay ET bred son out of a dam by Usain Bolt.
Meanwhile, the ewe lambs were won by Paul again with a Drumgooland lamb by Teiglum Vigilante and out of a dam by Knock Travis.
Aged Rams: 1 - Paul O’Connor’s Oberstown Usain Bolt; 2 – Alastair Gault’s Duncryne Uber Cool; 3 – John Foster’s Ballydesland Thunder King; 4 – Dera and John Watson’s Cluntagh Ultimate; 5 - Gareth Tumelty’s Redford Uzi.
Shearling Rams: 1 – James Herdman’s Forkins Vespa; 2 – Damien Tumelty and Sons’ Castlecor Venus; 3 – Stewart Ferris’ Leapoges Victorious; 4 – L and K Beacom’s Forkins Vidal; 5 - William Carson’s Clara Vegas
Aged Ewes: 1 – Louise Breen’s WPS1300513; 2 – Alastair Gault’s GAF1300584; 3 – Martin McConville’s FPG1200491; 4 – Nathan Armstrong’s ANH120014; 5 – Victor Chesnutt’s CVC1300593.
Shearling Ewes: 1 – Jack Gault’s GCN1401261; 2 – Henry Gamble’s GRS1401409; 3 – Paul O’Connor’s OCP1400333; 4 – Alastair Gault’s GAF14001136; 5– Paul O’Connor’s OCP1400329.
Ram Lambs: 1 – Paul O’Connor’s OCP1500471; 2 – Owen Donohoe’s XOD1500564; 3 – Alastair Gault’s GAF1501337; 4 – Victor Chestnutt’s CVC1500739; 5 – Gareth Tumelty’s TGA1500510.
Ewe Lambs: 1 – Paul O’Connor’s OCP1500496; 2 – Gareth Tumelty’s TGA1500512; 3 – Paul O’Connor’s OCP1500479; 4 – Alastair Gault’s GAF1501307; 5 – Jack Gault’s GCN1501454.