Every dog has its day. That day came for the first time in three decades for Robert Fielden, of Speke Edge Farm, Todmorden, at the summer sale of working sheep dogs at Skipton Auction Mart. (Fri, July 22)
Richard Fielden and Zac, the top priced dog at Skipton Auction Mart’s summer working sheep dog sale.
Selling his first dog in 30 years and his first at the high profile North Yorkshire venue, Mr Fielden achieved the highest price of the day from the 130-strong entry – 66 of which ran in the field - when his 22-month-old black and white Border Collie dog Zac sold for 3,800gns (£3,990).
Zac is by a sire of the same name bred by Welsh triallist Gwynfor Owen, of Anglesey, out of Mr Fielden’s own Bella, bought at Skipton several years ago and to date the only dog he has purchased at an official sale. “She is a proven breeder and has produced some good ones,” he said.
The top price performer was acquired by Seamus Gormley, of Kilcreen Sheep Dog Centre in Claudy, Co Derry, Northern Ireland, on behalf of near neighbour and good friend Carlaine Magee, of Cookstown, just over the border in County Tyrone.
Zac was placed in several nursery trials in Lancashire and Yorkshire last year and is regarded as an outstanding prospect, both as a working and trials dog.
The trials field is exactly what his new owner has in mind. Carlaine, a Lleyn sheep and dairy farmer, explained: “I had made enquiries about Zac and later saw him working. I have only been trialling at local events for three years, so am relatively new to the scene and still learning the tricks of the trade. I wanted Zac because he is a young dog with good potential for the future. He is settling in nicely.”
Buoyed up by the success of Zac, prime and store lambs farmer Mr Fielden – he often sells at Skipton - was soon back in action again, this time as a successful bidder when securing a younger replacement in Susie, a 14-month-old black and white bitch that had earlier caught his eye. He paid 1,800gns (£1,890) for the up-and-coming trials prospect from Northern Ireland vendor William Torrens, of Castlederg, Belfast.
Mr Torrens was himself among the leading prices when setting the pace early in the sale at 3,000gns (£3,150) with his May, 2009-born tri-coloured dog Ace, who had already been placed in a novice trial. The buyer was Scottish sheep and beef cattle hill farmer Eddie Burnett, of Port of Menteith, Stirling, who will use his new acquisition as a working dog.
Shaun Richards and Irwell Roz, second highest priced dog at Skipton Auction Mart’s summer working sheep dog sale.Shaun Richards, of Watson Laithe, Hapton, Burnley, who often achieves high prices at Skipton, especially with young dogs, was again to the fore when his 12-month-old tri-coloured bitch Irwell Roz was sold for the second highest call of the day at 3,750gns (£3,937.50).
The promising nursery prospect is by Rick, bred in Cumbria by Alec Baines, of South Stainley, Kirkby Stephen, out of Calderdale Tess, from Lancastrian trialling legend Jim Cropper, of Bacup, who has qualified with one of his dogs for the 2011 World Sheep Dog Trials at Lowther Estate, near Penrith, from September 15-18
Irwell Roz’s future lies on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall after she was knocked down to hill farmers Ronald and Jackie Cornelius and their son Tim, of West Rose Farm, St Breward. The family keeps beef cattle and sheep and will use their new acquisition solely as a working dog.
Mr Cornelius, who travelled up to Skipton for the first time with his wife and father Eric, a semi-retired farmer, said: “We’d heard they sell the best dogs and had a lovely time.”
Local vendor Willie Bell, of Earby, sold a brace of dogs - a brother and sister by Oakworth-based Ian Ibbotson’s Zac, out of M Lund’s Star. The best of them at 3,300gns (£3,465) was the September 2008-born Evan, who is the current title holder for the highest pointed Yorkshire nursery dog for 2010/11 and still eligible for the forthcoming nursery season. Evan’s older sister Meg, a four-year-old tri-coloured bitch, made 2,700gns (£2,835).
There were several other 3,000gns-plus performers. North Wales triallist Emrys Jones, of Tal-y-Bont, Barmouth, saw his October, 2009-born home-bred tri-coloured bitch Sarn Faen Spotan, who already has trials experience, make 3,150gns (£3,307.50) when joining Joe McRobert, of Biggar in Scotland, who has also qualified for the World Sheep Dog Trials.
Another Scottish handler James Weir, of Invernahyle in Argyllshire, sold his fully home-bred 21-month-old black and white dog Bob for 3,050gns (£3,202.50), which returned north of the border.
Skipton regular John Bell, of Parks Farm Howden, Selby, successfully sold two young dogs from the same litter. Tess, a 15-month-old black and white bitch, made 3,000gns (£3,150), while her sister, the tri-coloured Meg, sold for 2,400gns (£2,520). Both are out of Gyp, from another Selby breeder Tony Bell, no relation to John.
Northern Irishman Michael Gallagher, of Armoy, County Antrim, the 2010 International Supreme Champion with Cap – they have a chance to go one better at the 2011 World Sheep Dog Trials - sold two older tri-coloured dogs, a three-and-a-half-year-old bitch, Misty, at 2,750gns (£2,887.50), which returned to Ireland, and a two-and-a-half-year-old dog, Bill, for £2,550gns (£2,677.50), purchased by a buyer from Derbyshire.
Janet Beale, of Astra Sheepdog Centre at Dunnichen, near Forfar, returning to Skipton after a break of many years, sold two good bitches and trials prospects to buyers from Yorkshire and Derbyshire.
First up was the home-bred 15-month-old Astra Bec, who made 2,300gns (£2,415), followed by the 14-month-old Astra Joy, who Janet is handling on behalf of A Shirley, Stranraer, for 2,000gns (£2,100).
The latter is a son of Bob, bred by Welshman Aled Owen, the reigning World Sheep Dog Trials champion, who is set to defend his title this year. Janet trains her own dogs and also runs courses for other handlers, specialising in problem dogs.
Alex Watson, of Shotts, Lanarkshire, achieved 2,500gns (£2,625) with his black and white bitch and Open trial winner May, while L Cowper, of Threlkeld, Keswick, sold his March, 2006-born black and white dog Killiebrae Tod, a multiple winner of novice trials, for 2,000gns (£2,100).
Craven Cattle Marts’ general manager Jeremy Eaton said: “Buyers were selective and while there was a shortage of top quality dogs, there were plenty of genuine working dogs to be had at prices that didn’t break the bank.”
Broken registered dogs averaged £2,094, unregistered broken dogs £551, registered part-broken dogs £679 and unregistered part-broken dogs £199. There were also 20 pups on parade, registered youngsters averaging £265 and unregistered £142.
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