Breed records were matched and broken by two entries from Kevin Watret’s Solway View herd at the Border British Blue Club’s Spring Show and Sale at Harrison and Hetherington’s Borderway Centre on Friday and Saturday, 12 and 13 May, but what made the feat even more remarkable was the fact that the leading duo were full brother and sister from the same flush.
Bulls met a particularly strong trade throughout with no fewer than 10 breaking the five-figure barrier as the average increased by more than £1400 compared to the 2022 sale but it was undoubtably Kevin’s Solway View herd from near Annan, Dumfries and Galloway than proved to be the star attraction, winning many of the top prizes in the show and leading the way in the price list.
Breaking the previous breed record of 30,000gns set just two years previously and to set the new record of 32,000gns was Solway View Rafa, which first stood Junior Male and Male Champion before going on to stand Reserve Supreme. This November, 2021-born black and white bull brought out by stockman, Ali Jackson, and his able team, is bred from one of the best breeding cows in the herd, Solway View Milly, an Empire D’Ochain daughter that was Champion at both the Royal Highland and Royal Welsh shows in 2019. Sired by one of the bulls of the moment, Dodou De St Remacle, Rafa himself was Senior Male Champion at the Stars of the Future Show in November.
He most certainly caught the eye of the judge, Nigel Pennie, who runs some 180 cows alongside his brother Chris near Montgomery, Powys, breeding both commercial show calves and pedigree Limousins and forked out the 32,000gns to take him home to work breeding show calves.
“Rafa showed exceptional width, shape and style but was also very correct and walked well,” commented Mr Pennie.
In a good day’s trading for Kevin, who sold 24 animals to average a whopping £9078 and once again took home the Border Club Special Trophy for the highest priced animal sold by a member of the Club, he also matched the female record of 30,000gns with what was considered to be one of the best Blue heifers ever offered for sale, Solway View Ria, which stood Senior Female Champion before going on to take the Female and Supreme Championships.
“The heifer classes were full of quality but the Champion was in a class of her own – she had width, shape, power and style and I don’t think we’ll see a heifer like her again for a long time,” said Mr Pennie.
A full sister to the 32,000gns Rafa, and also Solway View Pearl which was Champion at the Highland and Great Yorkshire in 2021, Ria celebrated a good show season herself by standing Inter-breed Champion at the Stars of the Future and English Winter Fair, as well as Reserve Female Champion to a herd mate at the Borderway Agri-Expo. She joins the Coul Herd of Kevin and Sonya Fletcher, near Laggan, who bought several of the top females last May as well as the 27,000gns Solway View Odin.
A bit lost for words, Kevin later commented: “What a day. A huge thanks to all the team who helped over the last few days and Connor for looking after things at home.
“A special thanks to my wing man Ali who spends countless hours and dedication to the Solway View herd. He’s been after that record from the day he started so today was extra special to get the breed record and match the female, and amazingly we did it with a brother and sister.”
Sticking with the male offering and another full brother from the Dodou x Milly flush, Solway View Randy, realised 13,000gns when knocked down to JC and J White, Lunedale, Middleton-In-Teesdale.
At 10,000gns when sold to JA Wood and Sons, Ratlinghope, Shrewsbury, was the similarly aged Solway View Restar which offers some different breeding being by Tweeddale Ironman and out of the Solway View Firecracker-sired Solway View Katie, making him a full brother to the 16,000gns Solway View Rosie sold last year.
At 8500gns was another bred from Solway View Katie in the shape of the September, 2021-born Solway View Rob Roy which this time is by Empire D’Ochain. He sold to TM Hill, Riding Mill, Hexham, having stood first in his class at the pre-sale show which was sponsored by David Allen Agriculture, Alan Gill Agricultural Contractors and Temon Farm Milk Barn.
With the top prices following the top prizes, it was the Reserve Male Champion named Dragon Blues Rocky that sold for the second highest bull price of 20,000gns for Geraint and Kim Williams, from Llanwnnen, Lampeter. This black lad born in June, 2021, out of the Empire daughter, Dragon Blues Kate, offered real show calf producing potential and sold to Lloyd Fowlie, from near Alford, Aberdeenshire. His sire is Nox D L’Orgelot.
It was a good trip across from the Isle of Tiree for Alistair and Iain MacInnes when their first prize winner, Ruaig Power House, sold to William Fleming, Kelso, for 12,000gns. This upstanding, November 2020-born blue and white lad’s pedigree features Stonebyres Ninja on to Stonebyres Maya, a Kersey Geronimo daughter.
The very first bull on offer, the rising four-year-old Auchenlay Oor Wullie, was only offered for sale by Jason and Sarah Wareham, Broadoak, Heathfield, due to a change in breeding policy but returned more than his initial 9000gns purchase price when he was knocked down to RH Mason, Wold Newton, East Yorkshire, for 10,000gns. Sired by Sandyvale Jagerbomb, his dam is the Serieux De Fooz-bred Guilliland Clarinda.
From a catalogued entry of 21 males and females, Graham Morgon and his team from Tillington, Herefordshire, saw their best two males sell for 10,000gns apiece, including the Senior Male Champion, Almeley Raphael. This 25-month-old is the result of a flush between the 15,000gns Bedgebury Kent and Almeley Nelly, a Drybarrows Cawdale daughter. He heads to a new home in Jeff and Margaret Walker’s Brennand Herd near Dunsop Bridge, Clitheroe.
Matching that 10,000gns was the eye-catching red bull, the aptly named Almeley Red-Bull, which sold to Gary Hughes, Middleton St George, Darlington. Sired by Bosco Du Falgi, this 22-month-old is out of Almeley New Look, an Almeley Arlequin daughter.
Another by the homebred Arlequin bull that sold for 10,000gns in 2007, Almeley Rolex, sold to DJ Lloyd and Co, Trefeglwys, Caerslis, for 8000gns. This first prize winning lad is out of Rosemouth Faith, herself by Giga De Bois De Remont.
A further two sold for 10,000gns apiece including Mark and Elain Hartley’s 23-month-old Pendle Rolex, which heads to near Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, with Robert Neill. This Junior Male Champion at last year’s Great Yorkshire Show is out of the Newton Blues Chico-sired former show winner from the Roughlee, Nelson-based herd, Pendle Heather, and by Drybarrows Cawdale.
Also breaking the five-figure barrier was Alexander Cook’s Almadan Reggie, a son of the Auchenlay stock bull and former Royal Highland Show Champion, Sandyvale Jagerbomb. Bred from the Mountjoy Utopia-sired Almadan Knotty from the herd near Linlithgown, he was chapped down to Michael Read, Hemingby, Horncastle.
The all-white 25-month-old Greystone Rugby from Graham Coates, Stainforth, Settle, realised 8500gns when sold to RS Harker and Son, Grayrigg, Kendal. His pedigree features Baigneur De Tohogne on Greystone Happy, a daughter of Eclatant.
Ross and Elaine Pattinson saw their Top Side Ronnie from the herd near Low Row, Brampton, sell to D Hood, Glenclova, Kirriemuir, Angus, for 7500gns. Bred from the Heros Du Peroy daughter, Rathlyon Dinah, and born in August, 2021, his sire is Gitan Du Pti’t Mayeur.
With Kevin Watret’s Solway View Ria leading the pre-sale show and matching the female record at 30,000gns, it was further entries from the same stable that secured the majority of the top female prices including the next best at 18,000gns for Solway View Rainbow.
This second prize winner is also bred from the proven cow, Solway View Milly, and this time sired by the 27,000gns Solway View Odin sold in 2021, making her a full sister to last year’s Inter-breed Champion at the Borderway AgriExpo, Solway View Rhubarb. Forking out the cash for this September, 2021-born blue and white heifer were Craig and Jack Hendry who take her north to near Keith, Aberdeenshire.
Next best at 9000gns was Solway View Raelyn, a daughter of the 2022 Triple Crown winner, the Solway View Firecracker-bred Solway View Kesha, and sired by Empire D’Ochain. This 18-month-old sold to an undisclosed buyer.
One of the youngest in the catalogue, Solway View Sassy, offered a rare opportunity to get a direct daughter of Solway View Elegance and it was Andrew Haste of the Stoneleigh Herd, Devon, that paid the 7500gns for the eight-month-old. She is by Engin D Hontoir.
Seamus Branniff paid 7000gns to take Solway View Rachel across the water to near Ballynahinch, County Down. She is another bred from Solway View Katie and this time sired by Empire D’Ochain.
Matching that 7000gns was another by Engin D Hontoir in the shape of the second prize Solway View Rita. Bred from the Bedgebury Kent-sired Solway View Netty, she also heads across the water but this time with Dereck McKinney, Letterkenny, County Donegal.
Two made 6500gns apiece including Solway View Rada, which is by Tweeddale Ironman and out of Solway View Katie, and Solway View Raakel, which is from the Engin x Netty flush. The former sold to Peter Jones and Sons, Talsarn, Lampeter, while the latter which also stood Reserve Female heads to Aston, Runcorn, with T Okell.
The Norbreck Genetics consignment of Belgian-bred heifers peaked at 6800gns when Gary Allen, Bainton Road, Hethe, paid that for Lignee D Hontoir. Offering some different bloodlines to the British pool, this September, 2021-born blue and white lass is by Blason Du Chenet and out of Flanelle D Hontoir.
The sole embryo calf on offer, Almeley Tizzy from the Morgans, realised 9000gns when snapped up by Katie Allen of the Woodseat Herd, near Castleton, Hope Valley. This January-born white heifer calf which sold with her recipient dam is by Bedgebury Kent and out of the Drybarrows Cawdale-sired Almeley Nelly.
Averages: 21 senior bulls, £6336; 27 junior bulls, £8707; overall, 48 bulls, £7670 (compared to 63 at £6236 in 2022). 45 maiden heifers, £5734; one embryo calf, £9450 (36 x £5177).
1 lot 3 Ruaig Power House A & I MacInnes
2 11 Red River Rocky C Hunter
3 2 Bedgebury Predator Price & Shelbourne
4 7 Thistle Ranger G Scott
5 9 Moorsley Richie P & K Brennan
1 13 Nochnary Rob Roy D & J McKerrow
2 19 Gass Reggie AR Kay
3 23 Oxcroft Regal J & J Green
4 14 Trencrom Rock On Rory EA & DA Ellis
5 22 Harelaw Rambo J Mackay
1 30 Almeley Raphael GL & KS Morgan
2 29 Dragon Blues Rich GW & K Williams
3 32 Barleyclose Roadrunner MJ Wells & Son
4 24 Homilton Rambo R Carr
5 25 Greystone Rugby J & E Coates
1 46 Almeley Rolex GL & KS Morgan
2 45 Almeley Redknapp GL & KS Morgan
3 44 Ballygrange Robin Hood J & A Sloan
1 49 Dragon Blues Rocky GW & K Williams
2 57 Trent Valley Rascal C Parsons
3 58 Almeley Rasper GL & KS Morgan
4 50 Penske Rolex AM & E Hartley
5 48 Almeley Roberto GL & KS Morgan
1 65 Solway View Rob Roy K Watret
2 62 Greenlaw Roberto G & J Greenlaw
3 63 Top Side Ronnie R & E Pattinson
4 64 Almeley Referee GL & KS Morgan
5 67 Clifftown Randy DS Townend
1 80 Solway View Rafa K Watret
2 78 Solway View Restar K Watret
3 81 Solway View Randy K Watret
4 77 Almadan Reggie AC Cook
5 79 Solway View Rabbie K Watret
(No entries in Class Eight)
1 90 Almeley Rhea GL & KS Morgan
2 92 Almeley Rhianna GL & KS Morgan
3 139 Almeley Rhoda GL & KS Morgan
4 89 Almeley Rebecca GL & KS Morgan
5 93 Bordley Raspberry JS Stephenson
1 105 Solway View Raakel K Watret
2 97 Solway View Rainbow K Watret
3 98 Solway View Rachel K Watret
4 103 Solway View Raelyn K Watret
5 101 Lignee D’Hontoir Norbreck Genetics
1 107 Solway View Ria K Watret
2 109 Solway View Rita K Watret
3 106 Solway View Rilly K Watret
4 117 Solway View Scarlet K Watret
5 110 Maidenlands Red Rose D Saunders
1 128 Dragon Blues Smartie GW & K Williams
2 127 Almeley Scarlet GL & KS Morgan
3 118 Solway View Shadow K Watret
4 119 Solway View Stardust K Watret
5 124 Netherwood Skye A Woodburn & Son
1 130 Solway View Secret K Watret
2 133 Netherwood Sunrise A Woodburn & Son
3 137 Solway View Summer K Watret
4 135 Almeley Sassy Pants GL & KS Morgan
5 138 Solway View Spice K Watret
Senior Male Champion Almeley Raphael GL & KS Morgan
Reserve Senior Male Dragon Blues Rich GW & K Williams
Junior Male Champion Solway View Rafa K Watret
Reserve Junior Male Dragon Blues Rocky GW & K Williams
Overall Male Champion Solway View Rafa K Watret
Reserve Overall Male Dragon Blues Rocky GW & K Williams
Senior Female Champion Solway View Ria K Watret
Reserve Senior Female Solway View Raakel K Watret
Junior Female Champion Dragon Blues Smartie GW & K Williams
Reserve Junior Female Almeley Scarlet GL & KS Morgan
Overall Female Champion Solway View Ria K Watret
Overall Reserve Female Solway View Raakel K Watret
Supreme Champion Solway View Ria K Watret
Reserve Supreme Solway View Rafa K Watret