Irish eyes were smiling when County Down’s John Maginn headed the selling prices at 4,600 guineas (£4,830) at the late Spring sale of working sheep dogs at Skipton Auction Mart in North Yorkshire. (Fri, May 20)
John Maginn, left, with his 4,600gns Jess, and John Bell with his 4,200gns Dewi Kate, top dogs at Skipton’s late Spring working dogs fixture.“I’ve hit the jackpot. It’s my best sale price ever,” said the former Irish National champion, after seeing his two-year-old black and white bitch Jess shine on the upgraded trials field, attracting keen interest at the ringside, before selling to a telephone bidder.
Mr Maginn has qualified to represent Ireland in this year’s World Sheep Dog Trials at Lowther Park, near Penrith in Cumbria, in September. He and his wife Liz run Dunmore Hill Boarding Kennels at the foot of the Mourne Mountain in Glasdrumman, near Annalong, Newry.
Mr Maginn’s Skipton top performer – Jess has already won a nursery trial in Antrim and qualified for the Irish National nursery final - is a true Irish-bred dog, being by Allistair Lyttle’s 2010 ‘One Man and his Dog’ singles champion Spot, out of Billy McLean’s Mist. Both renowned handlers and breeders are based in County Donegal.
John Bell, of Parks Farm Howden, Selby, narrowly failed in his bid to top the prices at Skipton for a record 16th time when his December, 2009-born black, white and mottled bitch Dewi Kate was sold for 4,200 guineas (£4,410).
By Dewi Tweed, who landed the 2009 International Trials at Lowther Park for breeder Richard Millichap, from Port Talbot in South Wales, she is a litter sister to Dewi Fan, who set a new world record price of 6,000 guineas (£6,300) when sold by Mr Bell at Skipton’s opening working dogs sale in February this year.
Both of these dogs were bred by in Wales by David Streeter, of Rhigos, Aberdare, out of the same dam, Sian, whose grand dam is former International brace champion Gwenno (by Welsh National champion Mac), from fellow Welshman John Griffith.
John Bell was triple-handed at Skipton, also commanding high prices with two young entries. Earlier in the day, he sold his 13-month-old black and white dog Lad for 2,700gns (£2,835), before reappearing late in the sale to achieve 2,900gns (£3,045) with a second 13-month-old black and white dog tri-coloured dog, Cordon Craig.
Third in the pecking order on price at 3,600gns (£3,780) was South Yorkshire’s Derek Cheetham, of Bolsterstone, with his promising 12-month-old black and white bitch Queen, whose dam line has top New Zealand breeding credentials. She is a son of Wisp, bred by David Arnold Foster Hill Farming Award winner, the sheperdess, photographer and public speaker Kath Birkinshaw, from the Upper Derwent Valley.
Regular Red Rose vendor, Shaun Richards, of Watson Laithe, Hapton, Burnley, again featured among the leading prices when his 13-month-old black and white dog Moss, by Rossendale -based Alf Kyme’s Moss, out of Shaun’s own Meg, was sold for 3,000gns (£3,150).
There was again strong demand for quality dogs from buyers from across the UK and overseas. Of the 70 dogs on parade, a total of 31 sold for 1,500gns and more, of which 21 achieved 2,000gns and above.
Three classy entrants were each knocked down for 2,800gns (£2,940) - a June, 2009, black and white dog, Dan, from Ireland’s Eamon McAuley, Larne, Co Antrim – sold to local trialist Ron Airey, Trawden - fellow Irish breeder William Lawrence, of Moneymore, County Down, with his black, white and mottled bitch Dora, a Northern Ireland nursery trials finalist, and GW Jones, Tyn Rwtra, Wales, with his October, 2009, black and white bitch Sally.
Other leading sellers and prices were:
Philip Mellin, Oakworth, 15-month-old tri-coloured dog Bob, 2,500gns (£2,625).
James Gilman, Bosley, Macclesfiield, December, 2009, tri-coloured bitch Becky, 2,500gns (£2,625).
Michael Woods, Lathom, with his October, 2008, black and white dog Shadow, 2,550gns (£2,677).
D & J Lloyd, Kimbolton, September, 2008-born Welsh-bred tri and mottled bitch L’Minster Ellie, 2,450gns (£2,572)
Tony Birkett, Carnforth, home-bred 13-month-old black and white dog Mac, 2,400gns (£2,520).
Welsh trialist Huw Francis, Penllwyn, Wales, May, 2009, tri-coloured dog Cammen Joe, 2,300gns (£2,415)
D McNeill, Larne, Co Antrim, 14-month-old tri-coloured dog Sam, by Welshman Michael Gallagher’s 2010 Supreme champion Cap, 2,200gns (£2,310).
Roy Canning, Keighley, Irish-bred August, 2009, tri-coloured dog Bill, 2,150gns (£2,257).
Seamus Gormley, of Kilcreen Sheep Dog Centre in Co Derry, Northern Ireland, performed well with his youngsters, selling four pups at 550gns, 500gns, 450gns and 420gns.
Prices and averages: Broken registered dogs to 4,600gns (av £2,129), part-broken registered dogs to 950gns (£544), broken unregistered dogs to 1,300gns (£893), part-broken unregistered dogs to 450gns (£315), registered bitch pups to 550gns and registered dog pups to 500gns.
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