Top notch dogs from Wales and Ireland were responsible for the three leading prices at the autumn sale of working sheep dogs at Skipton Auction Mart last Friday.
Welsh trialist Meirion Williams, of Llwyn Onn, Brooks, Welshpool in Powys, achieved top call of the day at 4,000 guineas (£4,200) – his best-ever price at Skipton – with his three-year-old black and white dog Barnie, a fully home-bred son of Pandy Rob, out of Fiz, whose breeding lines go back to fellow Welsh breeder Richard Millichap’s 2003 reserve Supreme champion Ben.
Placed in both nursery and open novice trials, Barnie had already accrued ten National points in the hands of Mr Williams. He is a little brother to two bitches from the same breeder and with the same parents that headed the prices at 3,900gns (£4,095) and 3,600gns (£3,780) respectively at Skipton’s May, 2010, working dogs sale.
Barnie was said to be a reluctant sale in order to make room for some highly promising up-and-coming young dogs, also by Pandy Rob and Fiz, in the Williams training fold. “I was sorry to see him go,” said Mr Williams, who over the years has notched up some 30 placings on the trials field. Barnie’s new owner requested anonymity.
Northern Ireland’s Seamus Gormley, of Kilcreen Sheep Dog Centre in Claudy, Co Derry, set the early pace when his 16-month-old black and white dog Dick sold for 3,500gns (£3,675) to a regular customer in South Wales.
Dick, newly broken by Mr Gormley, a noted sheep dog trainer and handler who has twice represented his country in the Supreme Trials, is by Glen, also bred in Northern Ireland by County Antrim’s John Murphy, of Shanes Castle. Mr Gormley also owned Gale’s father Jim, bought from fellow Welshman Jim Dyson.
With excellent potential as a trials dog, Dick’s dam is Lin, now owned by County Antrim’s Alec McClintock and bred in Scotland by David Shannon. “He is a tremendous dog in every way,” said Mr Gormley.
The same vendor later transferred his interest to the ringside when paying 2,500gns (£2,625) for Barfield Glen, an 18-month-old from Roger Marsden, of Teesway, Darlington. His new acquisition is by Tanhill Taz, bred by seasoned English trialist Richard Hutchinson, from Littledale in Lancashire, out of Wendale Roz, herself a product of Wendale Star, bred in Wales by Aled Owen, the 2008 World Trials champion.
Also achieving 3,500gns was another well-known Welsh breeder and trialist Huw Francis, of Penllwyn Farm, Llanfyllin, Welshpool, Powys, with his 21-month-old tri-coloured dog Cammen Chip, by his own Moss, out of Cammen Queen, bred by near neighbour Hywel Watkins.
The sire is held in high regard by his breeder. “We have sold many good dogs by Moss,” said Mr Francis, a regular vendor who has averaged well over 2,000gns with his Skipton-sold dogs, though Cammen Chip was his best-ever price at the venue when joining a buyer from the Midlands.
Best of the English performers was Shaun Richards, of Watson Laithe, Hapton, Burnley, a frequent high price achiever at Skipton, who was again prominent at 3,200gns (£3,360) with his 22-month-old tri-coloured dog Glen, a promising nursery trials prospect.
He is by J L McMillan’s Scottish-bred Don, out of Dot, from G W Jones in Tynrwtra, Powys. “I bought Glen as a young dog and finished him off. He was an absolute pleasure to train,” said Mr Richards.
Mr Richards was also first up on the day with his three-year-old black and white bitch Ros, which made 1,800gns (£1,890).
Noteworthy among the younger dogs was Jan, a nine-month-old black and white bitch from South Yorkshire trainer Derek Cheetham, of Bolsterstone, a shepherd on the Broomhead Estate. Well forward for her age, the pup is a product of parents bred by Harry Hallam at Hayfield in the Derbyshire Peak District. The dam is related to Cumbrian trailing legend Derek Scrimgeour’s Ben. Jan sold for 2,500gns (£2,625).
Other dogs to sell at 2,000gns and above were, in descending order:
2,600gns – Grit, a three-year-old black and white dog with 12 National points from Tony Iley, of Morpeth. By Bacup-based Jim Cropper’s 2002 World Trials runner-up Sid, out of the same breeder’s Tess, Grit found a new home north of the border in Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway.
2,500gns – Toby, a February, 2008-born tri-coloured dog from Northern Ireland’s Colm Doherty, of Tirbracken, Londonderry. With 21 Open points and high-placed trials finishes, he sold to a buyer from Bristol.
2,300gns – Glen, an 18-month-old home-bred black and white dog from Manx National Sheep Dog Trials winner Richard Crowe, of Bishopscourt Farm, Michael, on the Isle of Man.
2,300gns – Meg, a 20-month-old black and white dog from Welshman KB Williams, of Bryn Melyn, near Barmouth in Gwynedd.
2,200gns – Coon, a three-year-old red and white dog from J P Curran, of Reyfad in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The buyer was Scotland’s Tracey Sutherland, of Caithness.
2,000gns – Tim, a 26-month-old tri-coloured dog from South Cheshire’s Gus Dermody, presenter and commentator for BBC2’s ‘One Man and His Dog.’ By Aled Owen’s Mac, Tim already had nursery and open successes to his name and was the dog used by BBC Countryfile’s Matt Baker at this year’s World Sheep Dog Trials. The buyer is from the Hope Valley.
Craven Cattle Marts’ general manager Jeremy Eaton said: “A new format where we sold broken dogs first on the main field, followed by part-broken dogs and pups, worked well, maintaining a good company all day long. This allowed a number of owners who had sold earlier in the day to find suitable replacements later on to train through the winter months.
“We were pleased with the trade from start to finish, with quality, well broken dogs again in strong demand. People came from a long way with good dogs. For the final sale of the year, it was very satisfactory.”
Of the 101 dogs forward, four made over 3,000gns, ten sold at between 2,000-3,000gns and 22 at over 1,000gns. Broken registered dogs averaged £2,026, registered part-broken dogs sold to 900gns, averaging £585, unregistered part-broken dogs sold to £280, and pups to £340, averaging £188.