Skipton Auction’s Mart’s summer sale of working sheep dogs produced two outstanding successes – the second highest price in the world ever paid at an official sale, plus a four-figure price for a pup under six months.
Lancastrian Shaun Richards, of Watson Laithe Farm, Hapton, Burnley, achieved the first feat with a 15-month-old black and white dog that made 5,000 guineas, or £5,250, while Beverley Fort, of Brighton House Farm, Steeton, Keighley, sold a five-and-a-half-months-old brown and white bitch pup for 1,000gns, or £1,050.
Marchup Sam was bred locally by Andrew Throup, of Silsden. Her dam is Calderdale Sue, while the sire is Aled Owen’s Roy, with whom he won the International Sheep Dog Society-organised World Trials in 2008 and the 2007 International Supreme – and who figured prominently as the sire of other high-priced dogs sold on the day.
It was Mr Richards’ best-ever performance in terms of price at the North Yorkshire venue. He said the achievement was even more fulfilling, as he had only been working with Marchup Sam for a little over a month. While he sold locally and will be used as both a work and trials dog, the buyer requested anonymity.
In addition, Mr Richards made 3,500gns (£3,675) with his two-year black and white bitch Poppy, who found a new home in Aberdeenshire. Poppy is also by Mr Owen’s Roy, out of Maddie, bred in Caton, Lancashire, by Tom Huddleston,
Beverley Fort’s 1,000gns bitch Marchup Roxy was also bred in Silsden by Andrew Throup. She is a daughter of his Jace, while the sire is Staff, from J Richardson, who has produced many winning trials dogs.
The same parents were also responsible for Mr Throup’s 2011/12 Yorkshire champion Bob and Roxy’s new Scottish Highlands owner, Tracey Sutherland, of Caithness, is hopeful her smart acquisition will also go to prove herself on the trials field in next year’s nurseries.
Tracey, a relative newcomer to the trials arena, had made the 16-hour return journey from her home near John O’Groats, where she and her father John raise Charolais cattle and Black-faced sheep.
The second highest price of the day at 3,800gns (£3,990) fell to an exciting nursery prospect, Hillmoor Blu, a 22-month-old tri-coloured bitch from Skipton sale debutant John Atkinson, who is shepherd on the Escrick Park Estate near York, owned by renowned conservationist and sporting gun Charlie Forbes-Adams.
Through his White Rose Sheep Dogs operation, Mr Atkinson is a well-known trainer of trial dogs and has been responsible for two Scottish National champions and an International champion. He also sells dogs extensively across Europe, Japan and America.
Blu is yet another product of Mr Owen’s prolific sire Roy, out of S E Mobberley’s Irwell Mika, whose own sire Sid is a former World Sheep Dog Trials runner-up in the hands of Bacup-based trialing legend Jim Cropper.
Mr Atkinson said he was “extremely pleased” when selling his first- ever Skipton dog to regular buyer Joe McRobert, of Cheviot Sheepdogs, based in the Scottish Borders at Fingland, near Biggar, Lanarkshire.
The penultimate dog to take to the trials field sold for the day’s third highest price of 3,300gns (£3,465). The 18-month-old red and white bitch, by Alistair Lyttle’s Jack, was presented by Ireland’s Brian White, of Dermotstown, Dublin.
Another late runner, Moss, a September, 2010-born home-bred black and white dog from Weshman B Williams, of Bryn Amlwg, Bridgend, made 3,000gns (£3,150) when joining Arthur Temple, of Holmrook in Cumbria, a regular buyer at Skipton.
Northumbrian breeder Tony Ilsey, of Shirlaw Hope Farm, near Alnwick, achieved 2,700gns (£2,835) with his 23-month-old black and white dog Rick, by Tan Hill-based Alec Baines’ Rick, out of Gem, from J B Fothergill, Hawes.
Already a dual nursery trial winner before progressing to become Northumberland nursery champion and Northumberland v Durham Interclub runner-up, the full bother to Jim Cropper’s Yorkshire nursery and open champion Max found a new home north of the border with Brian Ross, of Mid Gruinards Farm, Ardjay, Sutherland.
Hill farmer Mr Ross, who breeds Cheviot and Hebridean sheep, plans to use his new acquisition for both work and trial. “I am delighted with him – he is just the type I like,” he said.
Also selling at 2,700gns (£2,835) was a much younger entrant, the 12-month-old red and white dog, Highgate Glen (by R Saxon’s Cammen Rip, out of WG Hallam’s Harriot) from South Yorkshire’s Derek Cheetham, who is a shepherd on the Broomhead Estate, near Sheffield.
The buyer was Trevor Smith, who, though now semi-retired, continues to breed sheep near the west coast of Lancashire at Pilling. He has both bought and sold dogs at Skipton in the past, and bred Bob, who in 2008 was sold as an 11-months-old by John Bell at Skipton for 4,000gns (£4,200), which remains a world record price at an official sale for a dog under a year old.
Mr Bell was also represented on the day with two dogs, the best of which, the September, 2010-born tri-coloured bitch Hillmoor Betty, who has exactly the same breeding as John Atkinson’s Hillmoor Blu, sold for 2,500gns (£2,625).
An unregistered dog, Fly, a17-month-old black and white bitch from Peter Hallam, of Foxt in Staffordshire, performed notably well when selling for 2,300gns (£2,415).
Other registered dogs to sell at 2,000gns or more were:
2,400gns (£2,560): Lyn, home-bred October, 2010, black and white bitch, by Rob out of Fiz, from Welshman Meirion Williams, of Llwyn Owen.
2,300gns (£2,415): Meg, October, 2009, black and white bitch from Lancashire’s James Burrow, of Silverdale, Carnforth.
2,100gns (£2,205): Mist, March, 2011, home-bred tri-coloured bitch from Scotland’s JH Weir, of Inverhayle, Argyll
2,000gns (£2,100): Claire, 18-month-old black and white bitch from 91-year-old Frank Fielden, of Speke Edge Farm, Todmorden, shown by his son Robert, who also bred the dam Bella. The sire is Alf Kyme’s Moss.
With a total entry of 83 dogs and pups forward, registered broken dogs sold to 5,000gns and to an overall average of £2,302, the highest for some time and well up on the £1,905 average achieved at the last sale in May.
Registered part-broken dogs sold to 1,500gns (av £1,010), unregistered broken dogs to 2,300gns (av £1,319), unregistered part-broken dogs to 500gns, registered pups to 1,000gns (av £390) and unregistered pups to 200gns (av £150).