Dorset Horn and Poll Dorset Sheep Breeder's Association

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51st Annual NI Premier Sale 2023

Unwavering demand for Dorsets at 51st Sale held in Ballymena

The 51st annual Premier show and sale, organised by the Northern Ireland Dorset club took place on Monday 24th July 2023 in Ballymena Livestock Market, kindly sponsored by Norbrook Laboratories (represented by Kevin Corry, MVB MRCVS). As always, the sale was well endorsed by breeders, turning out 211 top quality sheep for prospective purchasers to feast their eyes on.

From left Sponsor, Kevin Corry, Norbrook, Ben Lamb with the Overall Champion, and Best Ram Lamb, Richhill F1802, and Judge, Denis Rankine

Mr Denis Rankine of the Dun Eideann Flock in Fife, Scotland was attributed the sizeable task of judging the show classes which attracted a strong entry of both sheep and spectators eager to view the spectacle of sheep on offer. Mr Rankine’s pick of the day was winner of the ram lamb class, lot 10 “Richhill F1802” from Ben Lamb who was duly awarded the overall champion accolade. With double Richhill breeding, sired by Richhill Allstar and out of Richhill C1309 this lamb exhibited super power and style, going on to sell for 1000gns to fellow breeder Matthew Hall, Ballycraig Flock, Pomeroy. Reserve champion and best opposite sex to champion was awarded to lot 58 from Caroline Mckeown, Ashvale flock for “Ashvale F671”. This Downkillybegs Evolution daughter out of Islandview B40 stood top in a a large class of ewe lambs, with excellent strength and character she sold for 600gns to James Adams.


From left, Sponsor, Kevin Corry, Norbrook, Fiona & Caroline McKeown, with the Overall Reserve Champion, and Best Ewe Lamb, Ashvale F671, and Judge, Denis Rankine

Demand remained high across the sale with purchasers from far and wide investing in the quality genetics on offer. Topping the sale was lot 27 from Ellen McClure with ram lamb “Mountdale Ferrari”, a Downkillybegs Egbert son out of homebred ewe Mountdale D53. Packed with conformation and presence, this lamb caught the eye of Andrew and Grace Sloane, Dullaghan Flock selling for 1500gns.


Ellen McClure’s top price Mountdale Ferrari, with new owner, Grace Sloane

Next up was lot 45 from Caroline Mckeown with “Ashvale Fortune” an Ashvale Bruno son who was first place lamb at Balmoral show this year. This eye-catching lamb found its new home with Gary Henderson, Sandleford Flock, selling for 950gns. In close succession was lot 40 from David and Sarah Stevenson with ram lamb “Greenhill Fitbit” a Downkillybegs Dynamite son out of homebred ewe Greenhill Z7. This lamb stood second prize in the showing, displaying excellent character and correctness, selling for 880gns to William McCracken, Loughgall. Leading the female section was lot 98 from Amy McConnell with her second prize ewe lamb “Beechmount F723”, a daughter of Kilvaddy Bolt out of homebred ewe Beechmount Z361. This sweet lamb was capitalised on by Eddie Graham, Ballyclare selling for 800gns.

Other leading prices are as follows: B Lamb 780gns to L Moore, Ballygawley, R & J Hill 750gns to A Morrison, Ballyclare, C Mckeown 750gns to H Mullholland, Crumlin, T Wright 720gns to R McCaughern, Finvoy, L Weir 720gns to W McCracken, Loughgall, C Mckeown 700gns to N Rickey, Newtonbutler, A McConnell 680gns to J Durrant, Essex, E McClure 680gns to R & J Hill, Ballyclare, T Wright 680gns to E Matthews.

As another Premier sale passes, the club wishes to extend its thanks to breeders, market staff, sponsors, and purchasers for their continued support in making the sale a success, adding to the ever-growing strength of the breed.

The club now focuses its attention on the next two sales of the season with Omagh show and sale taking place on Friday 11th August 2023 in Beattie’s Pedigree Centre followed by Swatragh Show and Sale on Friday 25th August 2023 in Swatragh Livestock Market. Both sales present an excellent opportunity to invest in quality Dorset genetics that are sure to boost any flock.