By Simon Wragg HAVING TAKEN the championship ticket at the recent Countryside Live event, Harrogate, Mistique – a three-quarter-bred Limousin heifer – was at it again at the National Primestock Show, Stafford, last weekend.

Having pipped another Limousin-sired heifer to the crossbred and supreme champion”s title, this could have been Mistique’s final show for exhibitor Phil Sellers of Kilburn, Derbys.

 Show organiser Staffs & Birmingham Agricultural Society demand the champion be auctioned at the event and a starting bid of £4000 was enough in itself to set a new show record.

Evidently ringside buyers were prepared to dig deep; a final call of £5400 ensured a hum of excitement went round Bingley Hall.

 As Mistique, weighing 600kg, strode out of the ring in the confident manner she displayed throughout the event, few showgoers knew Mr Sellers had entered a five-figure reserve.

The reasons were to become clear. After 40 years of showing, just two titles have evaded Mr Sellers – National Primestock champion and now, more prominently, the Royal Smithfield Show. He said: “I am retiring from showing at the end of this year and this is my last chance to try for both titles.

“If any animal can win Smithfield for me, Mistique can,” said Mr Sellers, who secured £1000 in prize money from sponsor Agri-Lloyd, but lost an estimated £450 of category prizes under Society rules, as the heifer remained unsold.

Beef cattle judge Roger Long, who runs a large calf rearing unit in Norfolk, praised Mistique for her length and depth of body, deep loin and great presence. “She just knows she”s a show champion.”

 Reserve spot was claimed by another Limousin-sired heifer, this time from Lampeter-based finishers Elgan and Nesta Jones. This 560kg beast named Shapie Abbey was out of a Belgian Blue dam that traces bloodlines back through her sire to the Jones” own herd.

Marginal differences in finish split the pair, said Mr Long, who had his final decision backed up by the day’s commercial beef judge Chris Stubbs.

While crossbreds took the top titles, Will Owen’s 18-month-old Charolais heifer Deunawd Ulrika was always in contention, having taken the pedigree championship before being edged out of the race for the supreme title.

Reserve pedigree ticket went to local breeders Hallam & Wilson”s 23-month-old Limousin female, Soarurien, weighing 565kg.

In the lamb classes judge Jeoff Plant pulled out a pair from Derbys-based Texel breeders Owen and Anne Beresford – ably assisted by grandson James, six – for the champion’s title. Weighing a combined 110kg, it featured one pure and one three-quarter-bred Dutch Texel.

Standing reserve to the Beresford’s champions were Andrew and Becky Bishop with their pair of Beltex wether lambs. Another local breeder made her mark in the poultry classes. Sandra Hopley celebrated her third champion’s crown in the turkey competition with a hen. Judge Ken Richards commented: “It was the superb shape of breast that did it for me.”

Regular exhibitors and prize-winners Worcs-based A G Kirton & Sons took top honours in the pork carcass competition with a Welsh cross carcass.