2013-10-29   facebook twitter rss

Tom Birkett Leads the Way at Skipton Working Dogs Sale

Top dog at the autumn sale of working sheep dogs at Craven Cattle Marts’ Skipton Auction Mart was Lancashire breeder and handler, Carnforth’s Tom Birkett. (Fri, Oct 25)

Mr Birkett, of Hall Croft Barn, achieved the day’s leading price of 3,800gns (£3,990) with a highly promising youngster, his 18-month-old black and white Border Collie dog, Ben, by the 2010 International Trials champion and 2011 World Sheep Dog Trials fourth-placed dog Cap, from Irishman Michael Gallagher in Armoy, County Antrim.

Skipton top price dog

Tom Birkett, right, with his Skipton top price 3,800gns dog Ben, joined by buyer John Roberts.

Cap caught Mr Birkett’s eye when he attended the 4th International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) World Trials - the ‘Olympics’ for working sheep dogs and their handlers - at the Lowther Estate, near Penrith in Cumbria. “I knew then that I would like to breed from it,” he said.

Ben is out of Mr Birkett’s own Sue, herself a product of well-known northern breeder Derek Scrimgeour's Ben, also the sire of Spot, who sold for 2,400gns when Mr Birkett last headed the prices at Skipton five years ago.

He surpassed that figure at the latest renewal when achieving his highest ever price at the UK’s leading working sheep dog sale venue. Ben fell to a regular buyer at Skipton, Welshman John Roberts, of Betws-y-Coed, Conwy, and will be used as a work dog.

Pat Byrne

Pat Byrne with his Skipton second top price 3,200gns bitch Wispa.

Next best on price at 3,200gns – and again his highest price at Skipton - was another young dog, the15-month-old black and white bitch Wispa, from Irishman Pat Byrne, of Woolmanhill, Ballyglass in County Mayo. She is by International Supreme champion, Welshman Aled Owen’s Bob, out of a home-bred bitch by Lad, acquired from fellow County Mayo dog man Alan Moran.

Sheep and cattle farmer Mr Byrne also turns his hand to training young people in the Irish art of hurling at St. Dominics GAA club in Knockcroghery, County Roscommon, of which he is a former player. He saw Wispa snapped up by a buyer from Wales who requested anonymity.

David Mackereth with his 3,000gns Skipton bitch Jess.

David Mackereth with his 3,000gns Skipton bitch Jess.

Youth was again to the fore when a 13-month-old black and white bitch, Jess, from Lake District breeder David Mackereth, of Bassenthwaite, sold for 3,000gns to a phone bidder, Raymond Garrick, who farms in the Shetland Isles and who was buying his first dog at Skipton, which will be used for both work and as a trials prospect.

Jess, by a dog from Midlands breeder Peter Wilson, was only put up for sale by Mr Mackereth as he is emigrating to Australia at the end of this year to start a new life farming sheep and cattle on a 600-acre holding he has purchased in Victoria.

He said Jess received over 4,000 hits from the UK, USA and Sweden when put up for viewing on YouTube. Mr Mackereth also sold a second black and white youngster, his 12-month-old Dan, for 1,500gns to a Northumberland buyer.

Another Irishman Pat McGoldrick, of Meenadreen in County Donegal, made 2,850gns with his 15-month-old black and white bitch Nip, bred by Pat Byrne and a granddaughter of Aled Owen’s World Sheep Dog Trials champion Bob. He sold to a Welsh buyer.

Skipton regular Roy Canning, of Keighley, stepped forward with his 16-month-old tri-coloured bitch Lou, a daughter of his own Ella, by Peak District breeder Roy Driver’s Hemp. She made 2,500gns when joiner a buyer from Ireland.

Shaun Richards, of Watson Laithe, Hapton, Burnley, who regularly makes four-figure prices with his dogs at Skipon, was on the mark again with another young 18-month-old black and white Border Coliie, Vic, fully bred by Robert Fielden in Todmorden. He sold locally for 2,400gns to T Robinson & Son, of Sykes Farm, Slaidburn.

Back with the Irish entrants, Colm Doherty of Tirbracken in Londonderry, sold his February, 2012-born black and white dog Spark, already a nursery trials winner who also produced a good run in the North of Ireland nursery final, for 2,300gns to a Scottish buyer to be used as a work dog.

Next best at 2,250gns was a three-year-old tri-coloured bitch, Midge, from Steve Aconley, of Wintringham, Malton. Third in the Ryedale Sheep Dog Society’s 2012 aggregate, she is by Pickering-based Pete Turnbull’s Kep, out of Mr Aconley’s own Sindy. She found a new home in South Yorkshire with Penistone beef and sheep farmer Graham Pears and will again be used as a work dog.

Local breeder Andrew Throup, of Middle Marchup Farm, Silsden, who has strong following with his well-bred dogs, which are much sought after, achieved 2,050gns with Marchup Dale, a 20-month-old red and white trials-ready dog by J Richardson’s former Yorkshire Nursery champion Staff, who has produced many winning trials dogs. Dale, a full brother to Mr Throup’s Yorkshire nursery trials winner Bob, sold for use as a work dog to sheep and suckler cow farmer Nick Gill in Borrowdale, Keswick.

The sale attracted an entry of 98 dogs, 62 of which were sold. Leading prices and averages were: Broken registered dogs to 3,800gns (av £1,930), part-broken registered dogs to 1,350gns (av £843), unbroken registered dogs to 250gns (av £184), part-broken unregistered dogs to 950gns (av £515), registered pups to 500gns (av £315), unregistered pups to 250gns (av £143).

Craven Cattle Marts general manager Jeremy Eaton said: “There was keen interest in all dogs that showed promise, particularly between 700gns up to 1,500gns, though caution was certainly the order of the day above 2,000gns, which is a reflection of the current state of farming and the costs accrued through from last winter.”

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