IRISH collies sold for up to £7350 or A$13,569 at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual autumn sale of working sheep dogs in the United Kingdom last week.
Irish entries proved top dogs on price at 7000 guineas (£7350), 4600gns (£4830 or A$8916), 4500gns (£4725or A$8721) and 3,900gns (£4,095 or A$7558) at the sale, where Scottish buyers in particular were out in force.
The 7000gns sale was made by County Antrim’s Daniel McAllister, from Cargan, a village at the foot of Slievenanee in Glenravel – locally known as The Tenth Glen – with his 13-month-old slate and white dog, Torr, acquired last October from Scottish breeder Alan Frame, who farms near Mid Quarter, Hamilton.
Twelve months later, Mr Frame, accompanied by close friend Ian Fleming, who farms near Lanark, travelled down from Lanarkshire purposely to watch Torr put in a sparking performance in extremely tricky conditions on the trials field – and it was Mr Fleming, who farms near Lanark, who was the successful bidder. He actually ran Torr’s mother, Jill, at last year’s winter nursery trials, being placed on two occasions.
By Tweedale Buzz, from another well-known Scottish breeder Dean Aitken, of Lockerbie, bidding for the top price performer first opened at 3500gns and he went on to sell for exactly double that price when returning to Scotland with Mr Fleming. He will not only put the dog to work on his flock of 3000 Scottish Blackface sheep, but will also use Torr as a trial dog. He has another litter brother at home.
While Mr McAliister sold another dog at Skipton for 4600gns in May this year, this was by far the highest price ever achieved by the Irish handler, who only keeps a few sheep at home and describes himself as a hobby trialist, though he has several Intermediate and other wins under his belt.
Next best price at 4600gns was a 16 month-old black and white bitch, Glan y Gors Erin, from Brian White and Aoife Smith, a young Irish couple from Naul in North County Dublin, who have a spectacular sales record at Skipton of late, having gained some extremely high prices with several of their first-rate charges, including one at 9200gns last year.
Erin was bought privately at 11-weeks-old from her North Wales breeder Ian Carroll. She is out of his quality bitch, Nell, and by the legendary Sid, bred in County Donegal by Irish team member and former World Sheep Dog Trials champion James McGee, of Glencregg Sheepdogs in Creggan, Ballybofey.
Sid was also responsible for another Irish dog, Cap, which sold at Skipton two years ago for 14,100gns (£14,805 or A$27,351), which remains a world record price for a working sheep dog at an official sale.
A highly promising trials prospect, Erin was claimed by a familiar face and regular top price buyer at Skipton, renowned Welsh handler and triallist Nigel Watkins, of Panthowell, Llanoldewsant, Llangadog, At Skipton in July last year, Mr Watkins also paid 7200gns top price for another top dog from Brian and Aoife, which went on to qualify for the Welsh National team.
Aside from their dogs, the Irish couple farm pedigree Simmental cattle and Texel-cross and Suffolk-cross ewes. Like many sheep dog vendors these days they make good use of social media to promote their dogs widely pre-sale via Facebook and Youtube.
They returned to the Skipton trials field later in the day with a second dog, the 19 month-old tri-coloured Jim, by another Jim, Welsh nursery champion in the hands of Kevin Evans, by D Edwards’ Tysswg Lass, which sold for 2650gns.
Next best on price with a 4500gns sale was Kieran McFadden, from Derryreel in Co Donegal, with his 16 month-old tri-coloured dog, Duke, out of his own Open trial-winning bitch Nell, by fellow Irish breeder James McCloskey’s Open and International trials-winning dog, Sweep.
Mr McFadden, a part-time sheep farmer who has been breeding dogs for 15 years, was selling for only the second time at Skipton, returning after also doing well at the previous fixture in July with a 4900gns sale. He saw his latest frontrunner join Ian Lockhart, of Dalrymple in Ayrshire, who will put Duke to work on his hill sheep flock.
Fourth top price of 3900gns was achieved by Michael McAlister, of Glenariffe in Co Antrim, with a dog that had exactly the same breeding as the top price Torr. The former jump jockey took to the field late in the day with his August 2017-drop, black and white dog, Ross, which was claimed by regular buyer Joe McRoberts, of Cheviot Sheepdogs at Fingland, near Biggar in Lanarkshire.
Mr McAlister also achieved 2200gns with his brown, white and mottled bitch, Nell, exactly 11 months-old on sale day and fully home-bred by Ireland’s John Kinney.
Catching the eye with two dogs acquired as eight-week-old pups was local breeder and handler Beverley Fort, of Brighton House Farm, Steeton, who has made a real impression since starting to operate under her own Beverton prefix several years ago.
She was paid 3300gns or A$6393 for a very promising trials prospect, the nine month-old black and white dog, Bill, by Northumberland shepherdess Emma Gray’s 2016 Nursery Champion, Tweedale Jamie, whose grand sire was Littledale-based Ricky Hutchinson’s much-celebrated International Supreme Champion, Sweep, who has bred numerous trial winners across the globe. The buyer of what was the highest priced dog under 12 months was Red Rose trialing legend, Jim Cropper, from Bacup.
A total of 114 dogs were offered in the sale, comprising 82 broken field-run dogs and 32 in the unbroken pen. The 27 registered dogs sold from 400-7000gns (average £2443 or A$4507). The 21 registered bitches made from 1000-4600gns (av £2478 or A$4571). The four unregistered dogs offered sold from 750-1900gns (av £1614 or A$2977) and one unregistered bitch made 2600gns.
The overall average for registered broken dogs was £2458, or A$4534, and for unregistered broken dogs £1838 or A$3390. Unbroken registered dogs ranged from 100-1600gns (av £560 or A$1033). Unbroken registered bitches made 350-1150gns (av £799 or A$1474) and one unregistered unbroken bitch sold for 680gns.
Source: Moule Media.