The premier Southdown sale at Maidstone on Saturday saw stock sold to buyers from across the country who were keen to secure the breed’s leading bloodlines and tellingly it was these well travelled buyers, many of them commercial producers who bid strongest.

Leading the trade at 590gns was the best sale of the day from my own Chaileybrook flock, a shearling ram which had stood reserve male champion at this year’s Royal Show. This one is by a homebred sire, Chaileybrook 07/0019 –  a son of out imported French sire, TC4028 – and out of a ewe by the same sire. He sold to Kevin Hawes, Hartfield, for his Nightingale Farm flock.

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Selling at 580gns was the best of the day from Messrs Whitcombe’s Southern Cross flock, Churt, Surrey. This one by East Dean Guardsman 05/0271 and out of a homebred ewe sold for commercial use.

At 560gns was another from the Chaileybrook and another by the same sire. Also out of a TC4028 daughter this one sold to Harry Emslie, Peterhead, Aberdeen, for use in his commercial flock.

Champion from the pre-sale show was yet another from Chaileybrook, this time a son of TC4028 himself and out of a homebred ewe by East Dean Z30. This one sold at 420gns to commercial farmer Mr Coulter, Biggar, Lanarkshire, who is establishing a nucleus purebred flock as well.

Among the ram lambs on offer it was again a Chaileybrook animal which topped the sale, with a March-born son of Southern Cross 07/0013 out of a TC4028 daughter, which was full sister to this year’s South of England Show female champion, making 300gns when selling to Gail Sprake for her All Saints flock, Suffolk. A full brother to the pre-sale champion then sold at 200gns to an Oxfordshire buyer for his pedigree flock.

Then among the females the fine form of the Chaileybrook offering continued, with a shearling ewe by Chaileybrook 07/0019 and out of a dam by TC4028 making the day’s top female price of 340gns when selling to Messrs Bulmer, Malton, North Yorkshire.

The pre-sale female champion and reserve overall champion was a shearling ewe from Messrs Wakeham-Dawson and Harmer’s Ridings flock. This one, by Chaileybrook 06/0007 and out of a homebred ewe sold at 250gns to Mo Williams, Derbyshire.

And the top call in the aged ewes was another from Chaileybrook, this time the dam of the top-priced shearling ewe which sold for 170gns to Mr Coulter, Biggar.

Leading the ewe lambs was the the pick of a strong pen from Messrs Whitcombe’s Southern Cross flock. This one also sold to Mr Coulter at 180gns. Next best call here of 150gns was shared by two. The first was the pre-sale reserve female champion from the Whitcombes. This was a Southern Pastures 44/91 daughter out of a homebred ewe which sold to Jim Cresswell, Suffolk. The other at this money was again from Chaileybrook, this time a TC4028 daughter out of Chaileybrook A2, this sold to Mr Coulter.

Averages; seven older ewes £93.45, 18 shearling ewes £165.90, 11 ewe lambs £116.55, 13 shearling rams £433.65, four ram lambs £189 (Lambert and Foster).