19 November 1999

HES LOOKING FOR THAT

SPECIAL SOMETHING

AS well as the traditional things like conformation, fat cover and correctness, cattle judge Archie MacGregor will be looking for "that extra something" in the animal he picks as supreme champion at the Scottish National Winter Fair.

"There will be a lot of very good cattle on show at the winter fair, with excellent conformation," he says. "But to be the champion will take something just a bit more."

Mr MacGregor, who runs 120 cattle and 1350 ewes at Allanfauld, Kisyth, Lanarkshire, is no stranger to the show ring.

Showing cattle, reared from the herd of Charolais and Limousins, is what he likes best. The crowning moment in an extremely successful career came last year when his 12-month Limousin cross steer, Clansman, took the supreme championship at Smithfield.

At Perth, the first thing Mr MacGregor will be looking for in the cattle is that they have "meat in the right places". Good hind quarters are essential, but correctness, especially in the legs, is also important.

Where the money is

"When it comes to handling each animal, I want to see good loins. That, after all is where the most money is. I also want to see a beast that is smoothly finished with a nice covering of fat."

When it comes to looking for that extra something, Mr MacGregor says: "Much as I hate to admit it, Ill be looking at their heads. I know heads are not important to a butcher, but the sparkle and breed characteristics that you see from the front of an animal will make the difference between a good beast and a Scottish Winter Fair champion."

SCOTTISH NATIONAL WINTER FAIR

When: Wednesday, Nov 24.

Where: Perth Agricultural Centre

Admission:Adults £7; OAPs £5; under 12s free.

Timetable

Nov 23

5.30pm Judging of all purebred classes

Nov 24

8am Gates open.

8.30am Judging of beef cattle, young farmers sheep classes, and the live section of the Scottish National Premier Meat Exhibition.

9am Judging of roots, potatoes and grain.

9.15am Judging of Highland ponies.

10am Pig judging begins.

11.45am Shetland pony classes get underway.

Noon Young farmers stock judging.

1.15pm Clydesdale horse classes.

2pm Judging of cattle, sheep and pig championships.

4.30pm Sale of pigs.

5pm Sale of sheep begins.

5.15pm Sale of sheep champion and reserve.

5.30pm Sale of cattle begins.

7pm Sale of cattle supreme champion and reserve.

10pm Showground closes.