2015-02-18   facebook twitter rss

John Bell Top Dog Again at Skipton

North Yorkshire’s John Bell rung up yet another top price success at Skipton Auction Mart’s opening 2015 working sheep dogs sale with an outstanding young black and white bitch with impeccable breeding credentials that sold for 4,500gns. (Feb 13).

It was late afternoon with a lot number of 65 of the 67 field entries when Mr Bell, of Parks Farm, Howden, Selby, strode out with his 12-month-old Park Farm Jess, by Moss, bred in Calderdale by Harry Griffiths and who, in the hands of his current owner, the renowned Welsh triallist Kevin Evans, of Modrydd Brecon, Powys, won last year’s All-Wales Nursery Final.

John Bell with Park Farm Jess, his latest top price achiever at Skipton.

John Bell with Park Farm Jess

Moss is himself by Lancastrian Tom Lawrenson’s Clyde, who finished fourth in the 2011 World Sheep Dog Trials, while Jess’s dam is Fellside Jin, a daughter of Derek Scrimgeour’s 2008 English National winner Killiebrae Laddie and bred by another well-known handler, Wendy Cole, who runs Fellside Sheepdogs in Tillingham, Essex.

Jess is one of a John Bell litter of six – two dogs and four bitches – and one of her full sisters, Fellside Dash, has already proved herself in the trials arena when becoming the 2014 Scottish Nursery Final champion in the hands of George Simpson.

There was a great deal of interest at a still busy fieldside in Jess and the successful bidder was a familiar face at Skipton, Northern Ireland’s Seamus Gormley, of Kilcreen Sheep Dog Centre in Claudy, Co Derry. The noted sheep dog trainer, handler and trialist, who has competed at the top level for his country, said he would be using Jess for both work and trials.

Both vendor and buyer have been attending Skipton dog sales for decades and Mr Gormley commented: “I was the first Irishman to come to Skipton. John and I have parked next to each other for some 30 years, but it’s the first time I have bought one of his dogs.”

Mr Bell, who was further enhancing his record of having achieved the most top price successes of any individual vendor at Skipton, also sold two further dogs at this year’s opener, among them Jill, another litter sister of his latest top price performer, who found a new home in the Scottish Highlands when falling for 2,800gns.

Earlier in the day, Mr Bell also made 2,500gns for another promising 12-month-old red and white dog, Pen-y-Borough Vic, who is by Tod, bred in the United States by Michelle Prescott-Guderian, a real estate agent and hobby trialist based in Fridley, Minnesota – she has won an American trial with him – out of Tiz, from North Craven’s Shaun Richards, of Pen-y-Borough Sheep Dogs in Eldroth.

Leading the field on price for much of the day at 4,300gns was Red Rose vendor Tom Huddlestone, of Brookhouse, near Lancaster, with his very well-bred December, 2011, black and white bitch, Udale Deni, already with 12 national points to her name.

She is by Littledale-based English trialist Ricky Hutchinson’s popular stud dog Sweep, who finished third in last year’s World Sheep Dog Trials in Scotland and also won 10 opens in his first two seasons, as well as lifting the International Brace Championship twice.

The dam is Mr Huddleston’s own Udale Jet, who was 2013 English National reserve champion and is a daughter of Welsh breeder Aled Owen’s legendary World and International Trials champion Roy.

A retired community nurse, Mr Huddleston has been breeding and training dogs for a quarter of a century and has been a successful trialist for some 20 years, following in the footsteps of his late father Harry, an English National winner. Mr Huddleston himself won the English Brace crown in 2002 and has been a member of the English team on several occasions, the latest in 2013.

Udale Deni fell to another familiar face at Skipton, Jock Sutherland, who had again travelled down from the Scottish Highlands – from Sangormore, Durness, the most north westerly village on mainland Britain.

He is farm manager at Keoldale Farms, also has his own croft and is a keen trialist, representing the Scottish team in 2007. Mr Sutherland will use his new acquisition as a work dog on North Country Cheviots and also has high hopes for her on the trials field, with a crack at this year’s Scottish National in Dingwall one of the key targets.

“Tom’s whistles were very much like the ones I use all the time, which was one of the reasons I bought the dog,” explained Mr Sutherland. Breeding potential is also another consideration.

It was the first sale to be staged on Skipton’s new-look trials field, the continuation of a project to create a purpose-built facility at the auction mart to reflect growing worldwide interest among both sheep dog buyers and handlers.

A new central fetch located below the former pen now enables a handler to put a dog away to the fetch either right or left-handed, while two new posts - one at 65 yards, the second at 100 yards - have also been added for the start of each run on the 110 yards long trials field. Handlers now nominate a post at the time of entry, which is catalogued to help a prospective buyer recognise more advanced dogs.

The final major change is the continuation of the close boarded fence around the entire field, with the top right corner rounded and made into the exhaust pen, giving a final uphill pen.

Craven Cattle Marts’ general manager Jeremy Eaton explained: “In making the changes, we listened to comment from a number of regular vendors and refined the ideas with assistance from a number of experienced sheepdog trialists.

“A total of 70 dogs were forward, 39 of which were put through their paces on the new trials field. I felt good dogs showed themselves off more effectively from the lift and my initial concern that the new layout might flatter some dogs’ work proved ill-founded.”

The enhancements also went down well with handlers, with all interviewed welcoming them with open arms. “The new field layout is very good, a big improvement – better for both man and dog,” said Shaun Richards, who sent out the top-priced dogs at all but one of Skipton’s sales last year, and the second top price at the other.

He was among the frontrunners again when securing the day’s third highest price of 3,400gns, with his August, 2012 black and white bitch, Calderdale Pat, an excellent trials prospect by Rossendale-based Alf Kyme’s Moss, out of Fly, also bred in Lancashire by Trawden’s Stuart Bennett.

Mr Richards also achieved 2,200gns for a younger black and white dog, the December, 2013-born Pen-y-Borough Rob, by Katy Cropper’s Zac, out of his own Meg. The buyer was Nigel Barker, of Carnforth, who will use Rob purely as a work dog on his cattle and sheep, primarily Mule hoggs.

Irishman David Lyttle, of Pettigo in County Donegal, was also to the fore when selling his two-year-old black and white bitch Nell for 3,200gns to another Skipton regular, John Atkinson, of White Rose Sheep Dogs in Escrick, York, who is also shepherd on the Escrick Park Estate.

Already performing well in nursery trials, Nell has impressive Irish breeding behind her, being by Irish National champion Mozz, from County Down’s John Maginn, out of Floss, bred by the vendor’s son,Allistair Lyttle, in Co. Fermanagh. Floss is herself by Spot, with whom Allistair won “One Man and his Dog” in 2010.

The venue’s growing popularity and stature overseas was clearly illustrated through first-time vendor Nicolas Annaloro, from Cassel in northern France, who successfully sold two home-bred nursery dogs both fathered by different Kevin Evans dogs.

First up was the tri-coloured May, 2013, Taff, by Mr Evans’ top trials dog Spot, out of Welsh breeder DJ Lawrence’s Fern, who sold locally to well-known sheep dog enthusiast John Palmer in Twiston, Clitheroe, for 2,700gns.

The second dog, the tri-coloured Faenor Ridge, a November, 2013, son of Mr Evans’ Caleb, out of Scottish breeder Miss CV Ridge’s Fly, also sold well at 2,500gns to a new buyer at Skipton, Scotland’s Neil Sutherland, a cattle and sheep farmer from Strathnaver in Sutherland.

He has just started trialing and will use his new acquisition for this purpose, as well as a work dog.

Monsieur Annaloro, who farms some 50 Scottish Blackface sheep, also runs his own boarding kennels at La Pension du val de Cassel, where he trains all types and breeds of dog. He is also an accomplished trialist, having won the French National Nursery in both 2012 and 2013.

“I had heard a lot about dog sales at Skipton, so decided to come over. I have really enjoyed it - it is a very nice place with very nice people. I will definitely come back,” he said.

Skipton regular Emrys Jones, of Tal y Bont, Gwynedd, in the Snowdonia National Park. sold his August, 2013, tri-coloured bitch, Cwmmadoc Beca, for 2,400gns, while fellow Welshman, AL Jones, of Bala, made 2,050gns with his June, 2013, black, white and mottled bitch Penrhiw Mali, a proven farm dog by RFM Ellis’s Kirk, out of A Cavell’s Floss.

Scottish vendor Dean Aitken, a sheep farmer at Uppercleuch Farm, Lockerbie, who sold his first dog at Skipton last year, returned with a 14-month-old black and white dog, Tweeddale Nap, a grandson of Irishman Michael Gallagher’s renowned 2011 World Sheep Dog Trials third-placed Cap, out of his own Jill. Nap found a new home in the Scottish Highlands at 2,300gns.

Broken registered dogs proved popular on the day, selling to the 4,500gns high, with an overall average of £2,203. Part-broken registered dogs sold to 950gns at an average of £518.

Further Skipton working sheep dog sales in 2015, all staged on Fridays, are scheduled for May 15, July 3 and October 23.

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