Lancastrian Shaun Richards headed the selling prices at 4,000gns at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Spring sale of working sheep dogs.
Mr Richards, of Watson Laithe Farm, Hapton, Burnley, achieved top price honours with his 13-month-old black and white bitch Gin.
The buyer was Eddie Thornalley, of Mildenhall in Suffolk, who is shepherd for Andrew Foulds at Elveden, Thetford. He was making his third consecutive visit to the North Yorkshire venue to buy dogs presented by Mr Richards, who is renowned for bringing on younger dogs. He is a frequent high price achiever at Skipton and it was not the first time he had topped the selling prices.
Mr Thornalley, who is building a top-notch team of Richards’ working dogs, said: “They are all cracking dogs.”
Mr Richards also had the third highest price on the day of 2,850gns with his two-year-old black and white dog Barfield Nap, by Alec Baines’ Tan Hill Taz, out of Wenndale Roz, bred by Richard Briggs in Wennington, Bentham. He sold to a regular buyer from Wales.
Skipton has for long been a happy hunting ground for John Bell, of Parks Farm Howden, Selby, who has frequently headed the prices with quality broken dogs.
At the latest renewal, he achieved second top price of 3,250gns with his 15-month-old Scottish-bred tri-coloured bitch Tess, by Caithness-based MA Cook’s Spot (by D McDonald's Dave), out of Dot, from Jock Sutherland, of Sangormore, Durness, in the Scottish Highlands.
Tess found a new home with Keith Fawcett, of Argill House, South Stainmore, Kirkby Stephen, who was making his first-ever acquisition at an official sale. She will be used solely as a working dog and for breeding purposes, replacing an older bitch, Nip, now eight-years-old and “ready to wind down.”
Mr Fawcett farms Swaledale sheep and British Blue-cross suckler cows in Cumbria, and also runs a 300-strong pedigree Swaledale flock on a hill farm at Keld in Upper Swaledale.
Mr Bell also sold two further dogs, including a younger entry, Omega Moss, a 12-month-old son of Welshman Aled Owen’s International Supreme and World Trials champion Roy, out of DG Lightfoot’s Nell, for 2,500gns. He also achieved 1,950gns for Omega Kate, a litter sister of Omega Moss, who became another Jock Sutherland acquisition.
With younger dogs coming through at home, Welshman Meirion Williams, of Llwyn Onn, Brooks, Welshpool, performed well with two well-proven fully home-bred October, 2010-born entries, both by the same parents, Rob and Fizz, who have also been responsible for other high price Skipton performers from Mr Williams. First up at 2,600gns was Zac, while the black and white bitch Gwen made 2,400gns.
Irishman Willie Torrens, of Killen, Castlederg, in Co Tyrone, achieved 2,500gns for his August, 2010-born, tri-coloured bitch Fly, by the 2011 brace champion Wenndale Roy, out of Homeland Jan. He also sold his November, 2009-born black and white bitch Meg for 2,000gns.
The leading performer early in the day at 2,400gns in the hands of Irishman Ivan Stevenson, of Broughshane, County Antrim, was Jess, a September, 2010-born, black and white bitch by D Brady’s multiple open trials winner Bob, out of C McNaughton’s Fly, who is himself by Aled Owen’s International Supreme and
World Trials champion Roy.
Thomas Longton, of Quermore, Lancaster, also performed well at 2,500gns with his December, 2009-born black, white and mottled dog Drift, a son of England team member E Baxter’s Cap, out of Jenny, bred by J Stott. Drift had already won many nursery prizes, also amassing open points.
Cowlow Joe, a 25-month-old bitch handled by Wayne Allen, of The Old Chapel, Butterton, Derbyshire, on behalf of Steven Allen, sold for 2,100gns. She is by Ian Ibbotson’s Zac, out of I Hulme’s Mo.
Skipton Auction Mart is one of the UK’s top sheep dog sales venues, attracting vendors and buyers – both working farmers and trialists – from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and overseas.
Among the longer distance travellers this month was Georgio Pinto, who runs the Border Collie Ranch Sheepdog Team near Genoa in Italy. Mr Pinto, who has won many trials in his native country and also represented Italy at last year’s World Sheep Dog Trials, visits the UK annually to source quality dogs with trials potential.
On his first-ever visit to Skipton, he paid 1,950gns for Nell, a January, 2010-born black and white bitch from Gordon Hallam, of Hayfield, High Peak in Derbyshire. Mr Pinto and his Dutch-born wife Len, who herself began trialing some 12 months ago, also run a 700-strong flock of sheep.
With 114 dogs entered, over half of which found new homes, broken registered dogs averaged £1,905, with part broken registered dogs selling to a high of 1,650gns at an average of £1,014.
Selling to a more selective audience of buyers with set budgets in mind, there was also noticeable demand for broken unregistered dogs, which peaked at 1,950gns at an average of £1,263.
Part broken unregistered dogs sold to 700gns (av £630), part broken registered dogs under 17 months to 550gns (av £345), registered pups to 550gns (av £551) and unregistered pups to 143gns (av £142).
The sale was sponsored by Farmers Guardian. Skipton’s next working dogs fixture is the annual summer sale, on Friday, July 27. Entries close on July 13.
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