The first Southdown Society sale of the season saw a strong trade at Maidstone on Saturday, with clearance rates and averages in all sections rising on last year's trade.
Judge Daniel Bunting (second left) presents the championship trophy to Philip Whitcombe (second right) of the Southern Cross flock, watched by Southdown Sheep Society chairman Lyndsey Dane (left), while shepherd Peter Rycraft handles the champion.
Taking the day's top price of 890gns was the day's male and overall champion, a shearling ram from the Whitcombe family's Southern Cross flock.
This sale topper was Southern Cross 11/00229, a son of East Dean Guardsman out of a homebred dam. He sold to the day's pre-sale judge Daniel Bunting for the Golden Valley flock.
Second best of the day was a 610gns bid for the second from the Southern Cross flock, 11/00227. This one was also by the East Dean sire and out of a homebred dam. He was bought by Hannah Turner.
Georgie Helyer made the trip from Salisbury a worthwhile one when she sold her sole male entry, shearling ram Langford 11/0080 at 780gns to Chris and Laura Beck.
And the Southern Cross entry continued its dominance of the day's leading prices when a two shear ram traded at 550gns to commercial producer and noted primestock showman David Wadland, Daventry.
Another old tup, this time from the Goodwood flock then sold at 520gns. This one, Goodwood 10/0049 is by Chaileybrook 06/0007 and out of a homebred dam and sold to Jen Heathcote, Pluckley.
Chaileybrook bloodlines were present in the next best priced lot too, with this being shearling tup Chaileybrook 11/00035 from Jonathan Long. This son of Southern Cross 07/0013 is out of a homebred dam and carried an index of 192, inside the top 10% of the breed. He sold at 510gns to Chris and Laura Beck.
Best price among the females was a 280gns bid for a shearling ewe from Goodwood Estates, Goodwood 11/01140. This one, which had been first prize at Surrey and South of England, is by Southern Cross 09/008 and sold to Amy Redhead-Higgins.
Another from the same home and by the same sire, Goodwood 11/01255, then sold at the next best price of 260gns when selling to Mr Welton. Also at this price was Goodwood 11/01244, an East Dean 04/0030 daughter that also sold to Ms Redhead-Higgins.
Trading at 255gns was the best of the day from the Whitcombes, Southern Cross 11/0023, an East Dean Guardsman daughter that sold to Jonathan Long for the Chaileybrook flock.
And making 250gns was the day's female champion, Chaileybook 11/0037. This Southern Cross 07/0013 daughter had been reserve female champion at East of England Show and sold to Plumpton College, Lewes, for their new flock.
Averages; 22 shearling ewes £214.20, 12 shearling rams £438.90, two ram lambs £147, two older rams £561.75 (Lambert and Foster).
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