A sister double act topped the bill at the Spring sale of working sheep dogs at Skipton Auction Mart (Fri, May 21) – on a day when both entry level and broken registered dog average price records were shattered.
John Bell with his top-priced
3,900gns dog Sally
Sally and Lil, two 18-month-old black and white bitches from the same litter, were responsible for the two highest prices at 3,900gns (£4,095) and 3,600gns (£3,780) respectively.
Both dogs were bred in Powys by Welsh trialist Meirion Williams, of Llwyn Onn, Brooks, Welshpool, and are by his Pandy Rob, out of Fiz.
Sally was acquired from Mr Williams at last year’s autumn sheep dog sale at Skipton by renowned North Yorkshire handler John Bell, of Parks Farm, Howden, Selby.
After working his magic, John returned to head the Skipton prices for a record 14th time when Sally joined a well-known North Yorkshire handler, who will use her as both a working dog and novice trialist.
Meirion Williams brought forward his own 3,600gns Lil, a classy grand daughter of fellow Welsh breeder Richard Millichap’s Ben, who was also responsible for Richard’s reigning International Supreme champion Dewi Tweed.
Lil joined Northamptonshire-based sheep dog enthusiast Anne Brookes, of Kettering. A first-time Skipton buyer, Anne and her husband Alan are well known in East Midlands dog circles, being treasurer and chairman respectively of Mid Shires Sheep Dog Society.
Anne, who represented the English National team in the 1996 International Trials at Chatsworth, has made a welcome return to the trials circuit following a break. She has ambitious plans for Lil in both open and nursery trials, as well as using her as a working dog on the couple’s 700-strong flock of North Country Mules.
Red Rose handler Shaun Richards, of Hapton, Burnley sold two well-bred dogs. His 16-month-old black and white bitch Bess, by fellow Lancashire breeder Tom Lawrenson’s 2009 International Driving champion Spot, made 3,200gns when joining Trevor and Andrew Procter, of Great Musgrave, Kirkby Stephen.
Shaun also saw his November, 2008-born tri-coloured bitch Meg make 2,700gns when acquired by England trialist Jed Watson, of Dartmoor, who works in South Wales as senior huntsman with Breckon and Talybont Hunt.
Mr Watson remained at Skipton until late in the day to make a second acquisition with one of the last dogs to take to the trials field when paying 2,650gns (£2,782) for Ben, a black and white son of Derek Scrimgeour’s Bob, from Ian Hulme, of Cowlow in Derbyshire.
Northern Ireland breeder, sheep farmer and boarding kennels owner John Maginn, who is also chairman of the Irish National Committee, made the long trip from Glasdrumman, at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, worthwhile when selling his four-year-old home-bred black, tan and white dog Moss for 2,800gns (£2,940) to Scottish buyer Joe McRobert, of Moffat, Dumfriesshire.
Moss, who had accumulated 20 open points, is by Mr Maginn’s Pip, who represented the Irish National team, out of his own Tess – her third dog to be sold at Skipton by the well-known Irish handler, who the week before the sale won the Northern Ireland Nursery Final with Mozz, an exciting prospect.
There were a number of eye-catching performances from local handlers. Ian Ibbotson, of Oakworth, was prominent with his 20-month-old black and white bitch Style, a classy daughter of his own Zac, with whom he qualified for the supreme championship at the 2009 ISDS International Trials at Lowther Park in Cumbria when representing the English team.
Ian works for Bradford Council’s highways department and trains working dogs in his spare time. Style found a new home in Wales when selling for 2,850gns (£2,992) to Mrs Beryl Lewis, ofLlandrindrod Wells, who competed in the 2009 Welsh National Trials.
James Dewhurst, of Lothersdale, who regularly judges at Skipton Auction Mart’s monthly prime cattle and lamb shows and also buys on behalf of Stanforths Butchers, Skipton, achieved a price of 2,800gns (£2,940) for his three-year-old tri-coloured dog Glen, who has won and been placed in nurseries.
The buyer was Northumberland hill farmer Ted Fox, of Kirknewton, Wooler, who also owned Glen’s father Sweep, bred by leading trialist Johnny Wilson, of Berwick Upon Tweed. “We lost Sweep last year and wanted to continue his breeding lines. He was one of the best dogs ever and if this dog proves half as good it will be tremendous,” said Mr Fox, who farms 10,000 acres.
Beverley Fort, of Steeton, ran her two-year-old black and white bitch Pip, a well-bred son of Aled Owen’s dual 2008 International Supreme and World Champion Ben, and grandson of NP Jones’ 2000 English National Shepherds Champion Bob. Pip made 2,400gns (£2,520) when joining Shrophsire buyer Phil Wood, of Ratlinghope, Shrewsbury.
Twenty-six-year-old Beverley has trained Pip since she was a puppy, working her on the family’s 80-strong flock of Suffolk ewes. “She has been such a good flock dog and this is a personal achievement for me,” said Beverley, who also sold Pip’s half sister at Skipton last year for 1,700gns (£1,785).
On a glorious day, the Spring fixture was notable for a record 128-strong entry. Selling commenced at 8.15am and a good complement of buyers - representation from across England and Wales was supplemented by a strong Irish contingent - remained when the final whistle sounded at 6.40pm.
In addition, the average price of £2,114 for the 41 broken registered dogs sold was an out-and-out mart record. Part-broken registered dogs sold to 1,400gns (av £911), broken unregistered dogs to 1,000gns (£980), part-broken unregistered dogs to 1,125gns (£755), pups to 410gns (£246) and Kelpie-cross pups to 105gns.
Skipton continues to cement its reputation as a leading working dogs venue. Many Skipton-sold dogs have progressed to much bigger and better things on trials fields.
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