An all-day downpour failed to dampen spirits at Skipton Auction Mart’s summer show and sale of working sheep dogs, when two bids of over 3,000 guineas and ten at 2,000 guineas-plus were recorded. (Fri, July 17)
Tony Birkett - top dog again at Skipton
Following on from his top price success at Skipton’s late Spring sale, Lancashire handler Tony Birkett, of Carnforth, again headed the selling prices to land a notable back-to-back double when his yearling youngster Bramble put in an accomplished trial to impress potential buyers at a packed ringside – none more so than Derbyshire handler Ian Gregory, of Peak Forest, Buxton, who paid 3,400 guineas (£3,570) for the promising red and white bitch.
Bramble is a daughter of Llangollen-based Welsh breeder and trialist Alistair Gilchrist’s Mac, out of S G Birkett’s Gael. Ian said he was planning to run his latest acquisition in nurseries. He has already tasted trials success with another Skipton-bought dog, Nell, acquired at the January, 2008, sale.
Bred by Sussex-based handler Ray Edwards, of Arundel, the four-year-old tri-coloured bitch last year won the nursery trial at Bamford, had the best aggregate at Hayfield and was placed in nine other trials.
The Gregory family clearly rates Birkett-trained dog highly. At Skipton’s last sale, Ian Gregory’s father Maurice, also from Peak Forest, bought Tony Birkett’s top-priced dog Jess for 2,750 guineas, while Ian himself paid 2,600 guineas for Pat, from Tony’s brother Colin Birkett.
Attending the high profile sale for only the second time, Scottish handler Allan Taylor, of Penshiel Farm, high on the Lammermuir Hills in Berwickshire, ran his two-year-old registered black and white dog Nap, a son of D Mullan’s Tam, out of CW Hogg’s Meg.
The already experienced flock dog – Allan shepherds black-faced sheep on the Black Mountain Farms Shooting Estate – put in another striking performance to catch the eye of South Wales handler Nigel Watkins, of Panthowell, Carmarthenshire, who acquired Nap for 3,300 guineas (£3,465).
Strength in depth was the order of the day, with Skipton regular Sean Richards, of Hapton, Burnley, running three entries that averaged an eye-catching £2,678.
First up was Jim, a two-year-old black and white son of Lancashire breeder and England trialist, Bacup-based Jim Cropper’s Dan, out of Mr Richards’ own Jan, who joined well-known West Yorkshire handler Carol Mellin, of Oakworth, for 2,500gns.
Sean returned midway through the sale with Lish, a 17-month-old black and white daughter of Ian Ibbotson’s Zac, which made 2,550 guineas, rounding of his day with Rob, a 12-month-old black and white dog by his own Clyd, which sold for 2,600gns.
With 76 dogs forward, broken registered entries averaged £1,678, only a few pounds shy of the all-time record average for broken dogs of £1,684 achieved at Skipton’s last seasonal sale. Part-broken registered dogs sold to 950gns (£863) and part-broken unregistered dogs to 1,250gns (£685)
The 2009 working dogs season at Skipton continues with the late summer sale on Friday, September 4, and the autumn fixture on Friday, October 30.
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