Record-breaking trade for Oxfords at Worcester
The annual sale of Oxford Downs at Worcester mart saw a record-breaking trade with strong bidding throughout the day for the top lots.
Leading the sale at 1200gns was a shearling ram from Rex Vincent's New House flock at Okehampton, Devon. Sired by Applewick Ideal and having been a major prizewinner this season, it sold to longstanding breeder Tudur Jones for use on his Anglesey and Paradwys flocks on the Isle of Anglesey. Mr Jones described buying the tup as a "once in a lifetime opportunity".
Next best was an 1100gns Greenlands shearling ram from Roland Williams, Aberystwyth going to Richard Ford for the Banburyhill flock at Charlbury, Oxon.
Two further shearling rams made the four figure mark. Firstly, Roger & Sue Banks sold one from their Norfolk-based Thistledown flock at 1000gns to Tom Elliott from Brockhall, Northampton to head up the new flock he established at the sale. Matching that price was another from Norfolk, this time from James Porter's Sundown flock, which went to new breeder James Woodall from Millom, Cumbria for his Beddlemyre flock
Top price in the ram lambs was 500gns for one by the form
er breed record holder, the 1350gns Billesdons Braveheart from Andrew Rutherford's Langrigg flock at Gretna, Dumfriesshire. The buyer was Scott Flitter who runs the Freefolk flock at Whitchurch in Hampshire. Bob Richardson sold a ram lamb from his old-established Horsley flock at Beverley, Easy Yorkshire for 300gns to Harry Bishop who runs the oldest flock in the breed's home county, the Astlebury flock, at Kidlington, Oxon.
It was amongst the female section of the sale that a new record was set and the first lot into the ring achieved it. This was a shearling ewe from Roger & Sue Banks, Thistledown which had been champion at the pre-sale show. It sold for 800gns, a new female breed record, to Caroline Clark from Farnham, Surrey, for her Greyland flock. The 800gns bid broke the previous record of 700gns which had stood since 1987 when Geoff Riby, Ribwood paid that sum for a 2-crop ewe at David Timm's Boothferry dispersal. The new record holder is a Monkstone Banksy daughter and was Down breed champion at this year's Suffolk Show.
The Banks followed up the record price with a 700gns sale for another Thistledown shearling ewe, this one going to Phil Robinson, from Crewe, Cheshire. He was the sale's biggest buyer, taking a total of ten ewes and a ram to re-establish his Blackden flock, having previously bred Oxfords under that prefix from 1994 to 2012. His female purchases also included a 580gns bid for a shearling ewe out of Andrew Rutherford's Langrigg pen.
Ewe lambs peaked twice at 380gns from James Brown's Monkstone flock at Tenby, Pembrokeshire. The first, by Monkstone Barney, went to Tom Elliott, Northampton, followed by a Barley Park Ulysses daughter which sold at the same price to young Oxford breeder Caitlin Langford for her Springfield flock at Spalding, Lincolnshire.
Improved quality and excellent demand resulted in the 2023 sale achieving a record average for the Worcester Oxford Down sale, which was first held in 2000.
30 shearling ewes sold to 800gns and averaged £363.30
4 ewe lambs sold to 380gns.(twice) and averaged £283.50
15 shearling rams sold to 1200gns and averaged £656.25
3 ram lambs sold to 500gns and averaged £364
Overall, 52 head sold to 1200gns and averaged £435.14.
New house shearling ram sold for 1200gns
(Photo copyright D Searle)