A top price of 3,500 guineas for a Glenside ram lamb was the high spot of an otherwise cautious day's trading at the Welsh National Texel Sale in Llandovery.
The four hundred and forty five sheep entered for sale sold very much in line with other sales this year, with breeders' rams making good prices but a steadier trade in commercial tups.
Clee Tompkinson and Francis auctioneer, Gareth Griffiths, said trade had been selective. Commercial buyers tended to hold back, knowing there were many more sales to come.
Ayrshire breeder, John Forsyth, led those producers who enjoyed a good day's trading. Glenside Lumberjack made 3,500 guineas, while one of his triplet brothers made 2,200 guineas. They were both ARR/ARR and a half brother to the reserve champion Glenside Lucky Strike, selected by judge, Doug Nesbitt of Durham at the pre show sale.
The three presented for sale were sired by Castlecairn Keltic Star, purchased at Carlisle last year for 13,000 guineas. Their dam sire was Claybury Istabraq who sold for the then record 88,000 guineas at Lanark in 2002.
Glenside shepherd, Jeff Aitken, said the five ram lambs they brought to Llandovery had all been excellent examples of the breed. Each had been born in February and had show promise from Day One.
"The reserve champion, Glenside Lucky Strike has the potential to be a very good shearling", he added. "He has always been a smart lamb and was clearly destined to be one of our sale rams.
"We were delighted with the prices we achieved. We had a good day considering the trade. Our best selling ram lamb has great character and style and runs about well on his legs. We always thought he was going to be one of the top lambs".
Also delighted with his day was David Chave of Peacehay, Somerset, who paid the 3,500 guineas for Glenside Lumberjack. He had achieved the highest Texel price of 1,350 guineas at the NSA Early Ram Sale and admired the ram lamb's character and his head.
"We needed the head", he said. "We've got the bodies but we needed the head to pretty them up. He was just the right sheep on the day".
Another buyer who put great importance on the head was Mervyn Hamer, of Bishops Castle, Shropshire, who paid 1,800 guineas for the champion gimmer. She was bred by Angela Nairey who runs the Meinspride Flock at Liusey, Blackburn, Lancashire.
The ARR/ARR ewe was sired by Loosebeare Ice Cracker who was bred by the Quick family of Devon. Her dam sire was Muiresk Copyright.
"I just liked the skin, her head, and her back end", said Mr Hamer. "I'm building up my Prolleymore Texels from a proper foundation after dispersing my flock in Carlisle four years ago".
He added that he wanted top genotypes, but had also been looking for ewes with good heads. It was important to get that right.
Angela Nairey who also sold a shearling ram, Meinspride King Kong, for 3,000 guineas was thrilled with her day's work. She said the shearling ewe was 'a tremendous ewe' with a good breeder's head and a nice back end.
She had bought the sire, Loosebeare Ice Cracker, from the Quick family in Carlisle on the same day as Loosebeare Imperial sold for the record 122,000 guineas. But she does admit to having paid rather less!
The champion ram at the pre sale show was Claybury Loyalist ARR/ARR, sired by Haddo Kenny and bred by brother and sister partnership Hannah and James Draper. The ram lamb's dam bred the 14,000 guinea Claybury Jaguar and 3,500 guinea Claybury Knight.
The brother and sister have established a reputation for prize winning sheep making top prices. Last year they topped the Welsh sale with Claybury Kamikaze which went on to make the sale's top price of 2,400 guineas.
James said Claybury Loyalist, which sold for 900 guineas, had stood out from the moment he was born. He and his sister, now a trainee buyer with Morrisons Supermarket, had always had high hopes for him.
"He's just got a good skin, a good backend, good legs and tight skin", said James of the February born lamb. "He's always had sparkle, been alert and as he grew developed a good hock".
Another high price achieved was 1600 guineas paid for Penpark Landrover. The February born ARR/ARR was part of the best group of ram lambs and bred by Steve Smith.