Top trade at 46th annual Premier Dorset show and sale in Ballymena

Show Champion with judge Matt Care, Owner Raymond Hill and Norbrook sponsor Jacqueline Hamilton.
Show Champion with judge Matt Care, Owner Raymond Hill and Norbrook sponsor Jacqueline Hamilton.

The 46th Annual Premier Show & Sale of NI Horn & Poll Dorset Sheep Breeders Club, kindly sponsored by Norbrook Laboratories, represented by Jacqueline Hamilton, was held in J.A.McClelland & Sons Livestock Mart, Ballymena on Monday, July 30.

This premier show and sale comprised an entry of 174 great quality sheep, with the venue presenting a real display window for the Dorset breed and their popularity attracting a large number of buyers eager to do business.

Best Horn Exhibit owned by Cameron Carson with judge Matt Care and sponsor Jacqueline Hamilton.

Best Horn Exhibit owned by Cameron Carson with judge Matt Care and sponsor Jacqueline Hamilton.

The earlier part of the day was given over to the judging of the different classes and this was ably accomplished by judge Mr Matt Care, of the Burhos flock, having travelled from Cornwall to undertake the task.

Each class entry was keenly contested with top quality animals being brought forward for judging. Following careful consideration Matt Care found his supreme champion in a superbly bred ewe lamb from the renowned Olivertree flock of Raymond Hill.

This tremendously well formed and presented ewe lamb sired by Richhill U-Bank off an Olivertree dam later went on to sell for a Dorset breed record of 4000 guineas, being purchased jointly by Mr R Fitton of Dynamite flock and A Steff of Waggoners flock, both hailing from Lancashire. Mr Fitton, a relative newcomer to the Dorset breed is keen to establish and grow his flock using top quality animals.

In making his choice, the judge Mr Care commented that his choice of champion possessed all the qualities of the breed and was outstandingly correct in every way.

While the top price of the sale was achieved by the champion ewe lamb of Raymond and Julie Hill’s Olivertree Flock, more four figure sums were to follow from the same ‘stable’.

Respectively, the pick of this year’s crop from the Hill’s Olivertree flock were to go on to realise prices of 1800 gns, 1300 gns and 1000 gns for ewe lambs, reflecting their success at recent agricultural shows such as Balmoral, Ballymena and Ballymoney.

The leading price in the ram lamb class was an eye catching young ram lamb from the Ballytaggart Flock of Thomas Wright, sired by Ballytaggart Tonka, and following brisk bidding sold for 650gns to Laura Weir of Lisnafillan flock.

The Reserve Champion was also from the Olivertree flock, a ewe lamb from the same sire as the Champion, another Richhill U-Bank daughter off an Olivertree dam, again a fine example of the breed having placed first in her class at Balmoral show. This ewe lamb sold for 1300gns, being purchased by Gary Hanna of Mae flock.

Opposite Sex to the champion was a ram lamb of Richard Currie’s Hilltop Flock and was sold for 350gns.

The Champion Horn Dorset was a ewe lamb shown by Cameron Carson of the Mainevalley Flock and sold for 360gns to Mr Colin Johnston, Island View flock.

It was very apparent that there was a keen interest in strong ewe lambs with one of the first placed Pair of Ewe lambs from the pen of W&K Carson of the Downkilly begs Flock selling for 420gns and 380gns.

Other leading prices:

Ben Lamb 460gns, 440gns, 400gns (ewe lambs to M Keys, R Hall and A Devine respectively); W&K Carson 420gns (ewe lamb to D Hamilton).

S Wilson 480gns (ram lamb to L Geddis); Glenn Millar 450gns (ram lamb to A Devine); T Wright 400gns (ram lamb to D Nelson).

A&G Sloane 400gns (shearling ram to J Hanna).

Laura Weir 320gns (shearling ewe to J McClure).

There was a high clearance of sales in all classes and sale Averages were:

Class One Ram Lambs: £379.21

Class Two Shearling Rams: £266.66

Class Four Ewe Lambs: £326

Class Five Shearling Ewes: £242.60

The Judge, in addition to selecting the champions in each Class, had the task of selecting the prizewinners in each section and these were as follows:

Poll Ram Lamb – 1st R Currie, 2nd R Moore, 3rd A & P McNeill

Pair Ram Lambs – 1st T Wright

Shearling Ram - 1st A & G Sloane, 2nd K & B Sloan, 3rd K & B Sloan

Horn Ewe Lamb - 1st C Carson, 2nd B Lamb, 3rd C Carson

Poll Ewe Lamb - 1st R Hill, 2nd R Hill, 3rd G Cubitt

Pair Ewe lambs - 1st W & K Carson, 2nd R Hill, 3rd R Currie

Shearling Ewe - 1st L Weir, 2nd L Weir, 3rd L Weir

Novice Breeder Lamb Class 1st C, D & J Knox, 2nd C, D & J Knox, 3rd F McKeown

Progeny group 1st R Hill, 2nd R Currie, 3rd C Carson

Supreme Champion - R Hill

Reserve Overall Champion R Hill

Best Opp Sex - R Currie

Best Horn Exhibit - C Carson

The club would wish to record its appreciation to Mr Matt Care, of Burhos Flock, for his judging of the event and to Norbrook for sponsoring the annual premier show and sale prizes, and many thanks to Jacqueline Hamilton for representing the sponsors on the day. Thanks also to J.A McClelland & Sons for their professional and efficient management of the sale.

The NI Dorset Club would wish 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 and acknowledges the keen custom for the animals presented at this premier show and sale.

The next sale organised by NI Dorset Club members will be held in Hilltown on Friday 10th August with the show at noon and sale commencing at 1.30pm.

This is an EU Export Sale and will offer new and established breeders the opportunity to purchase top quality stock.

The following sale of the NI Dorset Club will follow on the 17th August and will be held in Omagh Mart, with the show at 5pm and sale at 7pm, being sponsored by Mark Crawford of TopFlock.