Chris and Kay Westlake’s 48 ewe Owslebury flock based at Cadeleigh, Tiverton has claimed the Hampshire Down Sheep Breeders’ Association’s supreme championship after being judged on breed type and overall conformation.
Chris Westlake with his award winning Owslebury flock
In addition, the couple headed the sections for large flocks, breeding ewes, older ewes and shearling ewes together with the champion ram lamb.
“The Owslebury flock was outstanding,” commented judge, Jim Cresswell after visiting the 31 entrants. “The ewes had scale and length with great hind quarters, while the shearling ewes and ewe lambs also matched the ewes with length and conformation. In addition, the stud rams were also very impressive with size and conformation.” He added: “This was a lovely matching flock, and I could see that the young stock will fit in well and keep up the high standard.”
In overall reserve place was John and Sue Davies’ 31 ewe Rhydmoelddu flock based near Llandrindod Wells which won the medium flock award and took runner up place in each of the five different sections for rams and ewes.
The Westlakes who recouped the silverware which they won in 1995 have since been among the finalists for the Hampshire Down Sheep Breeders’ Association’s top award on several occasions, including four times runner up. They have also enjoyed numerous showring championships over the years including at the Royal Bath and West, the Royal Cornwall and Devon County as well as countless interbreed titles at regional shows. Chris is an accomplished judge and is lined up to judge the three Royals and the national Hampshire Down event over the next four seasons.
For over 10 years, the couple have been firm supporters of the Hampshire Down Signet SRS which is designed to improve breed performance. The Owslebury flock is among the breed’s top 10% and has produced the annual top Hampshire Down SRS ram on five occasions. The Westlakes are also suppliers of rams to the breed association commercial flock of the year winners and finalists.
Chris comments: “We are continuing to witness a resurgence in demand for the native breed from commercial producers as more and more realise that the Hampshire Down is a modern terminal sire has the ability to leave lambs not only with levels of performance that match other leading terminal sires, but also demonstrates the breed’s inherent characteristics - liveliness and hardiness. The rams are also noted for their longevity. Added together these benefits improve a flock’s overall efficiency and sustainability.”
Large flock: 1, C and K Westlake; 2 H C Derryman and Sons; 3, H J Knight and Son. Medium flock: 1, J and S Davies; 2, Mrs J Ritchie; 3, G and J Boyles.
Small flock: 1, G and J Galbraith; 2, Mrs R Haynes and D Taylor; 3, T and J Hunter. Novice flock: 1, Mrs J Nagle; 2, Mrs L Chasney; 3, Mrs C Farnaby.
Best stock rams, HJ Knight and Son; breeding ewes, C and K Westlake; older ewes, C and K Westlake; shearling ewes, C and K Westlake; ewe lambs, HJ Knight and Son.
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