North Wales dog trainer Sion Jones, who runs Cefn Eithin Sheep Dogs in Corwen, had a field day at Skipton Auction Mart’s summer working sheep dogs sale, claiming top call of 10,000gns (£10,500) on the trials field and repeating the feat in the unbroken pen with a 1,600gns (£1,680) youngster.
It is thought to be the first time a single handler has achieved a top price double at the venue. (Friday, July 5)
Mr Jones headed the broken dog prices with his 20-month-old tri-coloured bitch, Tess, a solidly bred daughter of Netherlands-based former World Sheep Dog Trials champion Serge van der Sweep’s Gary, which stood third for the same handler in the 2017 World Trials.
Out of Andrew Procter’s own Tess, the versatile bitch, acquired at ten-months-old, has already had a litter of eight pups to Mr Jones’ renowned stud dog, Straid Bob, one of which has been retained for training by the Welsh handler, the others sold on, with some finding new homes abroad.
Tess put in an impeccable run on the trials field, creating keen interest at the ringside before falling for both work and potential trialing to a buyer from Northern Ireland who asked not to be named, though admitted he had been a long-time admirer of his 10,000gns purchase, which represented the highest price ever achieved at an official sale by Mr Jones.
Earlier in the day, the talented Welshman, who farms 400 Welsh and cross-bred ewes and 20 suckler cows with his wife, Buddug, and two children, four-year-old Ela, and Dico, aged two, also led the way in the unbroken pen with a 1,600gns sale of another young, up and coming tri-coloured dog, Cefneithin Rex, rising six-months-old and one of a second litter out of the highly regarded home-bred working bitch, Cefneithin Jan.
By Aled Owen’s Welsh National and International Supreme Champion, Llangwm Cap, Rex was crowned ‘king of the pups’ on price when falling to regular Scottish buyer, Jock Sutherland, from Sangormore in Durness, who once again made to long journey south.
Two dogs made joint second top call of 6,600gns and both fell to the same Welsh buyer, top trialist Kevin Evans, of Penclyn Farm, Modrydd, Brecon, Powys, one of the most talented handlers of his generation.
First up at the beginning of the day was the third field-run entry, the November, 2017, black and white dog, Pen-y-Borough Bodger, from North Craven’s Shaun Richards, who runs Pen-y-Borough Sheepdogs in Eldroth,
He is by Derwen Doug, who won the 2018 European Nursery Championships in the hands of Mr Evans, out of Mr Richards’ own high-class breeding bitch Rose, acquired as a pup from her Welsh breeder Dean Addison and already mother of two quality litters.
The second 6,600gns dog also represented a venue high for another North Wales handler, Dylan Edwards, from Penrhyndeudraeth, A dry stone waller by trade, his 16-month-old black, white and mottled bitch, Lecsi, is by his own trials-winning dog Ben, out of Jes, now with Adam Griffiths, but who was also bred by Mr Edwards and is herself by Tanhill Glen, another top-class Kevin Evans trials dog.
Next best at a solid 5,400gs was a 14-month-old black and white bitch, Liz, from Derbyshire’s David Wood, who runs a flock of 700 Cheviot sheep in Derwent. The dog was acquired as a pup from good friend and near neighbour Tom Ollerenshaw. She is a daughter of his own Bet, while the father is Gunnerwell Rock, from Shap’s John Harrison.
Liz found a new home in the Shetland Isles with Lerwick’s Eric Graham, who was buying the dog on behalf of his 21-year-old son, Sean. She will be put to work on the family’s flock of 940 Shetland ewes and crosses at their 2,000 acre holding. Mr Graham has previously bought dogs from Mr Wood, including one at Skipton. “He’s a very good handler – very genuine,” he commented.
Welsh handler, Ceredigion’s Dewi Jenkins, of Tynygraig Farm, Tal-y-bont, Aberystwyth, has been the man of the moment of late at Skipton, achieving some extremely solid prices and topping the last sale in May with a 8,500gns bitch, his highest-ever price at the UK’s leading working sheep dog sales venue.
At the latest renewal he was again represented with a classy 15-month-old black and white dog, Troedrhiw Sweep, by Mr Jenkins’ own Moss, now ten-years-old, whose full brother from a different litter holds the sale record of £9,200 at Bala.
Out of fellow Welsh breeder Karen Price’s Fly, Sweep was knocked down for 4,700gns to Cumbrian hill farmer Richard Harrison, who runs a pedigree Swaledale flock and will be put to work on his 1,200 ewes on Shap Fell. Sweep will also be further brushed up as a potential nursery trials dog by Mr Harrison, a winner of multiple open trials who is this year celebrating his landmark 40th year as a trialist.
Several dogs broke the 3,000gns barrier. Catching the eye at 3,400gns was a two-year-old black and white dog, Jaxx, from Ireland’s John Irwin, of Omagh in Co. Tyrone. The son of Tweeddale Jamie became another Skipton acquisition by Red Rose trialing legend Jim Cropper, of Bacup.
L E Blain, from Bala in Wales, made 3,300gns with a solid nursery prospect, the October, 2017, tri-coloured dog, Madog Mot, a son of Glan y Gors Tec. This fell to regular Lanarkshire buyer Joe McRoberts, who runs Cheviot Sheepdogs at Fingland, Biggar.
Leading the way for the ladies with a brace of 3,000gns-plus sales was Northern Ireland teenager Shannon Conn from Limavady in Co Londonderry, who is already an accomplished trialist for one so young, winning through to the junior handler final of ‘One Man and His Dog’ as a 13-year-old in 2015 and in the same year becoming Irish Junior champion and qualifying for the International Junior Final in Scotland.
Doing best at 3,200gns was her October, 2017, tri-coloured dog, Cad (Lad), already a nursery trials winner and qualifier for the North of Ireland nursery final in February this year. Fully bred in Northern Ireland by Brendan McAllister’s Spot, out of Jake Hamilton’s Grahams Gwen, the dog was claimed by K and H A Ridley, of Consett in Co Durham.
Shannon also made 3,050gns with the very first runner on the trials field, her 15-month-old black and white dog, Tweeddale Shep, again by Brendan McAllister’s Spot, out of Dean Aitken’s Tami. This, too, fell, to Scottish buyer Jock Sutherland.
Back in the unbroken pen, there were several more four-figure sales, including a brace at 1,500gns, the first falling to a four-month-old red and white dog, Roy, from Welshman Dean Addison, of Rhayader in Powys, who found a new home in Northern Ireland when claimed by G Toner, of Dungannon, Co Tyrone.
The same vendor also made 1,110gns with Rose, a red and white bitch from the same litter, claimed by a regular young buyer in Skipton’s unbroken pen, Shaun Procter, who farms with his father Trevor at Great Musgrave, Kirkby Stephen.
The second 1,500gns sale fell to County Antrim’s Daniel McAllister, from Cargan, with his November, 2018, red and white bitch, Rua, by Dean Aitken’s Tweeddale Buzz, out of Alan Frame’s Jill. A full brother from a previous litter topped the Skipton sale at 7,000gns in October last year. Rua also fell to Joe McRoberts.
Selling well at 1,400gns was an August, 2018, red, white and tan bitch, Cydros Dot, from Laura Barnes, of Pickering. The daughter of Ross Games’ Caefelin Clen travelled south to Derbyshire when falling to Bakewell’s Stuart Fairfax.
The summer fixture attracted a turnout of 77 dogs – 44 field-run dogs and 33 in the unbroken pen, again presenting multiple opportunities for potential buyers to source both decent broken dogs and promising youngsters in the unbroken pen to further bring and to run in trials.
Prices and averages: Broken dogs –18 registered dogs from 650gns to 6,600gns (average £2,745), 13 registered bitches from 250gns to 10,000gns (average £3,029), 1 unregistered dog 750gns.
Part/unbroken dogs – 10 registered dogs from 450gns to 1,600gns (average £805), 10 registered bitches from 400gns to 1,500gns (average £805).
Skipton’s final working sheep dog sale is the autumn fixture on Friday, October 25. Entries close on October 11.