Hampshire Downs top 1550gns at the Royal
By Jeremy Hunt
HAMPSHIRE Down sheep, traditionally sold on Wednesday afternoon at the Royal Show, enjoyed a cracking trade with bidding reaching 1550gns.
It was the culmination of a successful show at Stoneleigh which drew an exceptionally strong turnout of Hampshire Down sheep, attracted the first entries of any breed from a flock based outside the UK and saw the breed supreme champion in the shortlist for the individual supreme sheep title.
Auctioneer Chris Jones of McCartneys said the sale was "a tremendous success". And his opinion was shared by exhibitors who said the demand for stock had been a great boost to the breed.
The high standard of Hampshire Downs on parade deserved the demand from buyers – but few expected prices to reach 1550gns. Widely admired by breed devotees and winning the praise of a much wider audience was Graham Mansons January-born ram lamb from his 70-strong Dunraven flock.
This impressive lamb, showing great length and well muscled gigots, made his breeders journey from Co Tyrone well worthwhile. Despite having been "on the road" for five days, the lamb came out in great form to be short-listed in the Royal Shows individual supreme sheep championship.
He stood breed champion on the first day of the show under judge John Doughty (Leicester).
The owners father, Sterling Manson, said: "The Hampshire Down is gaining a lot of ground in Northern Ireland. There was a time when our main demand for rams was from the early lambers. Now we are seeing the main spring lambing flocks, some up to 800 ewes, switching to Hampshire Down rams as their main terminal sire breed."
The champion heads east with Charles Horrell Ltd, Peterbor-ough, who also took a much admired ewe lamb from the same flock at 410gns.
Another good lamb from Northern Ireland made 760gns when Mr and Mrs McCarthy sold one from their Ballycreely flock to Mr Parkinson, Doncaster. This lamb had been breed champion at the Royal Ulster and stood third in the trimmed class at Stoneleigh.
Derek and Jean Ritchie from Kettering, stalwart supporters of the breed, saw a smart shearling ram from their Parkstock flock sell for 720gns. He had stood third in his class and was bought by Devon breeder Henry Derryman, Honiton.
Averages: ram lambs £521; ewe lambs £293 and shearling rams £756. (McCartneys). *
Down, but certainly not out… Hampshire Downs enjoyed a brisk trade, topping at 1550gns, at last weeks Royal Show at Stoneleigh.