Select offering of Dorsets at Hilltown

Show Champion, a ewe lamb owned by W & K Carson, shown by Karen, with auctioneer Mr Raymond Hill.
Show Champion, a ewe lamb owned by W & K Carson, shown by Karen, with auctioneer Mr Raymond Hill.

The 7th Annual Show & Sale of Pedigree Registered Dorset Horn & Polled Dorset Sheep was held in Hilltown Mart on Friday, 10th August 2018.

This annual event was of EU Accredited status in order to facilitate immediate export of entries to the Republic of Ireland.

Reserve Champion, a ram lamb owned by R Currie, shown by Mollie, with judge Allister McNeill (Kilvaddy)

Reserve Champion, a ram lamb owned by R Currie, shown by Mollie, with judge Allister McNeill (Kilvaddy)

This Export Show & Sale has now gained the reputation of attracting a select offering of the Dorset breed with quality sheep coming forward for sale. While numbers were limited in each of the Classes owing to the Sales Export status, there was, as always keen interest and brisk bidding intent on making their purchase.

As with previous sales in Hilltown there was a noted level of interest from the Republic of Ireland, with sixteen of the forty two sheep brought forward heading South. This development is continuing to grow in line with the number of new Dorset Flocks being established throughout the length and breadth of Ireland.

The earlier part of the day was given over to the judging of the various classes and this was expertly accomplished by Judge Mr Allister McNeill of the 2017 National Champion Kilvaddy (Small) Flock, Toomebridge, Co. Antrim. All classes were keenly contested with top quality animals being brought forward for judging.

The judge, having carefully weighed up the breed qualities of all animals presented for show, found his Supreme Champion in a beautifully bred ewe lamb from the Downkillybegs Flock of W & K Carson . This perfectly formed and well balanced December 2017 born lamb was sired by Downkillybegs Xavier, off a Downkillybegs dam. It later went on to sell for 500 guineas, being purchased for the Rathwarren Flock of Malcolm Keys of Fintona.

The top price of the sale was achieved by a September 2017 born ram lamb from the Hilltop Flock of Richard Currie, having also been judged Reserve Champion. This very strong and correct young ram was sired by Ballyhamage Xcellant X13, and after a flurry of bids was sold for 1150 gns to Ernest Skuce from County Cork, and was noteworthy in that this was the highest priced Dorset Ram sold so far this year.

Buyers were definitely in the market for quality stock and in addition to the Champion and Reserve Champion, leading prices were:

W & K Carson 450 gns (Ram lamb to B McTurk, Tandragee). W & K Carson 350 gns (Ram lamb to T Healey, Roundwood Co. Wicklow). W & K Carson 350 gns (Ewe lamb to K O’Connell, Bantry Co Cork). W & K Carson 325 gns (Ewe lamb to K O’Connell, Bantry Co Cork). W & K Carson 300 gns (Ewe lamb to H J Smyth Ballynahinch, Co Down) R Currie 325 gns (Ewe lamb to N Clancy, Thurles Co Tipperary).R Currie 300 gns (Ewe lamb to N Clancy, Thurles Co Tipperary). R Currie 300 gns (Ewe lamb to K O’Connell, Bantry Co Cork). G Cubitt 300 gns (Ewe lamb to E Skuce, Ballydehob Co Cork).

There was a high demand in the sale ring for all classes resulting in a 95% clearance, and sale averages were:

Class One Ram Lambs: £514.50

Class Three Ewe Lambs: £262.08

Class Four Shearling Ewes: £216.75

The judge, in addition to selecting the champions in each class, had the task of selecting the prize winners in each section and these were as follows:

Ram Lambs: 1st R Currie; 2nd W & K Carson; 3rd W & K Carson; 4th J & I Wilson

Shearling Rams – 1st L & A Fearon

Ewe Lambs: 1st W & K Carson; 2nd R Currie; 3rd G Cubitt; 4th R Currie; 5th M & C Maybin

Shearling Ewes: 1st L Weir; 2nd L Weir; 3rd L Weir

The Club would wish to record its’ appreciation to Mr Allister McNeill, Deputy Chairman of the NI Dorset Club, for his judging of the event.

The club is also grateful and most appreciative of the professional services of club member and noted breeder of the Olivertree Flock, Mr Raymond Hill who applied his knowledge of the Dorset breed to enhance his expert contribution to the sale, as auctioneer for the day.

The club would also wish 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 3rd Annual Omagh Show & Sale kindly sponsored by TopFlock, and will be held in Omagh Mart on Friday 17th August, with showing at 5.00pm and sale commencing at 7.00 pm.

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