Renowned East Riding sheep dog handler John Bell returned to the scene of his greatest ever triumph to again head the field at the summer sale of working sheep dogs at Craven Cattle Marts’ Skipton Auction Mart. (Fri, July 26)
Two months after setting a new
world record price paid for a working sheep dog at an official sale of 8,800 guineas, or £9,240, Mr Bell,
of Parks Farm, Howden, Selby, sent out the two top-priced dogs
at the latest renewal, the 20th time he has been top dog on price
at the North Yorkshire venue.
While not hitting the heady heights of his world record price dog Bob, Mr Bell, who is acclaimed for buying young dogs, then bringing them on at home, saw his 13-month-old tri-coloured dog Glan y Gors Cap sell for the day’s top call of 5,000gns (£5,250).
Cap, by G Graham’s Larkhill Ben, out of I Carroll’s Tilly, is a well-bred grandson of another Cap, the 2010 International Trials champion and 2011 World Sheep Dog Trials third in the hands of Irishman Michael Gallagher, from Armoy in County Antrim.
The buyer was Welshmam Nigel Watkins, of Panthowel Lodge, Llanddeusant, Llangadog in Carmarthenshire, who often purchases top-notch dogs at Skipton. He is one of Wales' leading handlers, being a 15-time member of the Welsh National team, a three-time Welsh National champion and reserve world champion. His latest acquisition will be given a chance to prove himself on the trials field.
The second top price dog at 3,700gns (£3,885) was Viv, a 15-month-old black and white bitch acquired at nine-weeks-old by Mr Bell from Red Rose breeder Robin Dean, of Chipping in the Ribble Valley. He will be used solely as a work dog by the Norfolk buyer, Ben Harvey, of H Harvey & Son, Waxham Hall, Sea Palling, Norwich.
Another high turnout of exactly 100 dogs from across the UK and Ireland – the Irish were particularly well represented with well over 20 dogs entered – saw quality broken dogs again find the best of the trade.
Setting the pace early in the day at 2,800gns (£2,940) was one of the Irish entries, Mirk, a two-and-a-half-year-old red and white dog from Willie Torrens, of Killen, Castlederg, in Co Tyrone. Already well proven on ewes and lambs, Mirk, a product of A Speers’ Bran and Jess, joined John Brewer in Bleasdale, between Preston and Lancaster.
Mr Torrens returned to the field later in the day to achieve 2,650gns (£2,782) with his stylish November, 2011-born black and white dog Cap, by G Norris’s Rock and Peg. Showing trial potential, he fell to Scottish buyer Ian Lockhart, of Ayrshire.
Local breeder Roy Canning, of Keighley, stepped forward with a quality young tri-coloured bitch Midge, a 13-month-old daughter of R Driver’s Hemp, out of his own Ella. She sold well at 2,500gns (£2,625) to another Scottish buyer J Sheenan, from Girvan, South Ayrshire.
Also making 2,500gns was Phil Rigby, of Kendal, with another Cap, a two-year-old black and white dog, again by Michael Gallagher’s own Cap, out of Mr Rigby’s own Kez. The buyer was R Moore, from West Sussex.
Another local breeder and handler Beverley Fort, of Brighton House Farm, Steeton, again performed well with one of the younger entries, her 11-month-old black and white dog Joe, by GW Smithson’s Mac and Jan, both trial winners. Her charge sold well at 2,450gns, the top priced dog under 12 months, when falling to Welshman John Roberts, of Betws-y-Coed, Conwy.
Regular South Yorkshire vendor Derek Cheetham, of Bolsterstone, who is a shepherd on the Broomhead Estate, achieved 2,400gns (£2,520) with his 20-month-old black and white bitch Jess, who hails from an outstanding New Zealand dam line. She found a new home in the Isle of Man with Ballaharry Farms.
Not far behind at 2,350gns (£2,467) was Bob, a three-year-old tri-coloured dog and nursery trial winner from Peter Hetherington, of Maybole in Ayrshire. The dog returned to Scotland when purchased by Barlure Farmers, of Newton Stewart in Dumfries & Galloway.
Rodger Marsden, of Darlington, saw his nursery-ready two-year-old black and white dog Barfield Don, by Chloe Cropper’s World Sheep Dog Trials finalist Roy, away at 2,300gns (£2,415) when joining A&J McIlwick, also in Newton Stewart.
Another 2,300gns performer was a promising young black and white dog Dan, from Irishman Kieran McKillop, of Ballymena in Co Antrim. The 18-month-old found a new home in the Scottish Borders with regular Skipton buyer Joe McRobert, who runs Cheviot Sheepdogs at Fingland, near Biggar, in Lanarkshire.
A third 2,300gns dog was the experienced 26-month-old black and white Shep from CA Roberts, of Betws-y-Coed, Conwy. The son of E Hope’s Kep, out of M Jones’ Fly, also found in new home in Scotland with Ian Fleming, of Lanark.
Another Irishman, Pat Byrne, of Ballyglass, Ballinagare, Castlerea, Co Roscommon, made 2,150gns (£2,257) with his 18-month-old tri-coloured dog Dug. Having worked well on big flocks, Dug caught the eye of Welshman G Davies, of Builth Wells, Powys.
The same price was also achieved by a promising nursery prospect, Nan, a 16-month-old tri-coloured bitch from Osian Jones, 21-year-old son of Skipton regular Emrys Jones, of Sarn-Faen Farm, Tal y Bont, Gwynedd, in the Snowdonia National Park.
Osian, who holds a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Liverpool and will be returning there to take up a Masters degree course, was selling his first-ever dog at an official sale. Nan, by Idris Thomas’s Guto, out of AL Jones’ Non, also joined Joe McRobert.
Shaun Richards, of Watson Laithe, Hapton, Burnley, a regular high price achiever at Skipton, made 2,000gns (£2,100) with his three-year-old black and white dog Sweep, by GA Marshall’s Ben, out of K Hall’s Meg. It joined another buyer from Newton Stewart, J Mitchell & Son.
There was plenty of action in the unbroken dogs pen, where two up-and-coming youngsters achieved joint top price of 800gns (£845).
First up with his five-and-a-half-month-old black and white dog Coon was Ireland’s John Curran, of Enniskillen in County Fermanagh. The ready-to-train pup is by Irwell Clyde, himself a son of Bacup-based trailing legend Jim Cropper’s Sid, who ran in three World Sheep Dog Trials, out of S O’Malley’s Killiebrae Nelly. The buyer was A Jones, of Conwy in Wales.
Also achieving joint top price was the 10-month-old red and white dog, Robin, from Brenda Helliwell, of Lancaster, by J Richardon’s Staff, out of Mrs Helliwell’s own Fell. It joined RH Hughes, in Welshpool.
Nineteen-year-old Scottish newcomer Kirstin Blackwood, of Dalblair Farm, Cumnock in Ayrshire, was another promising young handler selling her first-ever dog, the 12-month-old black and white Blake, by Scottish Borders breeder NR Bird’s Eddie and Nan. The sire, himself by Gwynfor Owen’s Zac, was trailed with Jim Cropper, while the dam’s sire was Welshman Aled Owen’s World and ISDS Supreme International Champion sheepdog Bob.
Blake, acquired when just 12 weeks old, has been learning his trade on Scottish Blackface sheep and worked really well for Kirstin, catching the eye of the Bassett family – mum and dad John and Jane and their children John and Alice – who farm sheep and beef cattle at Sennilow Farm, Hartington, near Buxton in Derbyshire. They went to 750gns (£787) to secure Blake.
Steeton’s Beverley Fort also sold her five-months-old home-bred tri-coloured pup Beverton Jimmy, by her own Beverton Dom, out of Jan, acquired from Ireland’s Ivan Stevenson, of Broughshane, Ballymena, County Antrim, for 500gns (£525).
Leading prices and averages were: Broken registered dogs to 5,000gns (av £2,228), part-broken registered dogs to 1,550gns (av £944), unbroken registered dogs to 750gns (av £469), broken unregistered dogs to 1,100gns, part-broken unregistered dogs to 700gns (av £595), unbroken unregistered dogs to 250gns (av £200), registered pups to 350gns (av £263), unregistered pups to 50gns (£49).
The autumn sale of working sheep dogs at CCM Skipton is scheduled for Friday, October 25, with a closing date for entries of Friday, October 11.