Full report from record breaking Worcester sale
New 1350gns Oxford Down record at Worcester
The 2021 Worcester Show & Sale saw an excellent trade for all classes of stock. With an improved quality entry forward, there was good demand for females from both new and existing breeders alike, coupled with some very strong bidding for rams. Overall, it was the most successful Oxford Down sale at Worcester for over a decade.
Highlight of the day was the creation of a new Oxford Down breed record when the overall and male champion at the pre-sale show, a shearling ram from Vickie Jones’ Billesdons flock from Leicestershire sold at 1350gns to Andrew Rutherford for his 80-strong Langrigg flock at Guards Farm, Gretna, Dumfriesshire. The new record-priced ram is by Monkstone Jimmy out of a home-bred Billesdons ewe by Horsley Uncle Bob. The previous record of 1000gns was set at Worcester in 2009. The show judge Michael Hackling commented on the Billesdons ram: “He stood out to me during judging. He has a good Oxford head, a beautiful fleece with pink skin below, and was overall a very nice ram.”
Next best sale of the day went to a Greenlands shearling ram from Roland Williams, Aneddle, Capel Seion, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion which made 720gns, selling into East Anglia as the new stock ram in the Caston flock run by Brendan Hall and Amy Chamberlin at Attleborough, Norfolk. This one is a son of Greenlands Chabal. Not far behind that price was a 680gns sale for another shearling ram from the Greenlands pen, heading to North Wales with R J Ryan, Llanerch Farm, Dolwen, Abergele, Conwy who was establishing a new flock at the sale. The sire was Greenlands Charlo, a ram credited by Roland Williams as the best Oxford Down he has bred.
A New House shearling ram sired by New House Hawkeye from Rex Vincent, North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon made 660gns to Martin Lacey, Kasanga Manor, Hagnaby Lane, Keal Cotes, Spilsby, Lincolnshire for the Kasanga flock. Early in the sale in the MV accredited section, a shearling ram by Barley Park Ulysses from James Brown’s Monkstone flock at Tenby, Pembrokeshire sold at 580gns for crossing work to Parker & Bird, Chilton Grounds Farm, Chilton, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
The pick of the ram lambs also sold very well. One from Rex Vincent’s New House pen, a son of Applewick Ideal, made 520gns to Katie Stanley for her Kateland flock at Armitage, Rugeley, Staffordshire. Next best was a Greenlands Ystwyth Lad-sired Monkstone ram lamb from James Brown, selling at 500gns to Simon Hartwright’s Spartan flock at Grove Farms, Milton Hill, Abingdon, Oxon.
It was, indeed, a red-letter day for Vickie Jones and her Billesdons flock, which in addition to taking the overall championship and creating a new breed record in the ram section, also had the female and reserve overall champion at the show, a shearling ewe which went on to make the top female price of the day at 500gns. It sold to Lesley Parry to add to her Bro-Alaw flock on Anglesey. The ewe has very similar breeding to the record-priced ram.
A feature of the female sale was the inclusion of two flock reductions, one for Martin Johnson’s Longfriday flock from Wollaston, Northamptonshire, and the other for Nicola Duggleby who runs the Beswickhall flock at Beswick, Driffield, East Yorkshire. The Longfriday pen comprised of an impressive string of good-bodied shearling ewes which met a strong and very level trade. Pick of this lot was a daughter of the imported German Schwarzkopf ram Bremen, which sold at 300gns to R J Ryan, Abergele. The same buyer took another three from the same home at 270gns and 260gns twice. Two other shearling ewes from Longfriday also made 270gns. One by Longfriday Hugo went at this price to local farmer D Manton, Camp Bungalow, Great Witley, Worcester. He was the sale’s biggest buyer, taking a total of 10 females and three rams. Another Bremen daughter also sold at 270gns to replenish the New House flock for Rex Vincent. He commented that he already has Longfriday ewes in his flock and they have bred very well for him. The Longfriday consignment averaged £273 for 11.
The Beswickhall reduction consisted of a pen of big-framed flock ewes. Heading this lot up was a 300gns sale for a Langrigg Westby daughter selling to Michael Blackwell who was buying for his Crookgate flock at East Hardwick, Pontefract, West Yorkshire. Association President Tudur Jones from Ysgubor Gylched, Lôn Cae Cwta, Llangefni, Anglesey went to 270gns to secure the next best from Beswickhall, a ewe by Woodside Pringle.
A Horsley Uncle Bob-sired shearling ewe from Vickie Jones, Billesdons made 400gns, also heading home to Anglesey with Tudur Jones. Harry Bishop brought a consignment of smart shearling ewes from his Astlebury flock at Manor Farm, Fencott, Kidlington, Oxfordshire. Astlebury was established in 1985 by Harry’s late grandmother, Liz Calcutt, and is now the oldest flock in the breed’s home county. These were the first females to be offered for sale from the flock in over a decade and the first time Astlebury has consigned to Worcester. Top price here was 250gns for one by Redhouse Aubrey which went to new buyer S J Parker, Instone Court, Munderfield, Bromyard, Herefordshire. The Astlebury pen averaged £231 for five sold.
Ewe lambs sold very well and were topped by a 250gns sale for Vickie Jones’ first prizewinner, a Horsley Uncle Bob daughter, going to Nicole Farmer, Aldermaston, Reading, Berkshire. The Billesdons flock also produced the next best ewe lamb price of 240gns for one by Monkstone Jimmy, sold to Simon Hartwright for the Spartan flock.
20 shearling ewes £276.15
4 ewe lambs £257.25
5 flock ewes £237.30
9 shearling rams £621.83
4 ram lambs £391.12
Overall, 42 head sold to 1350gns and averaged £354.75.