Kevin Evans top dog again with two five-figure sales at Skipton
Donal Mullaney sets new world record price with unbroken pup for second time
A brace of leading five-figure calls and yet another new world record price for an unbroken puppy were established at Skipton Auction Mart’s second virtual working sheep dog sale this month – and, like the first online fixture in July, hitting the headlines again were the same vendors.
Top Welsh breeder and triallist, Kevin Evans, from Modrydd, near Brecon in Powys, who sold two bitches for almost £23,000 in July, returned with another two top-notch fully broken dogs and excellent trials prospects.
The grand sire of both was Mr Evans’ dual European Nursery and Royal Welsh Champion, Tanhill Glen, and the duo jointly netted over £22,000 when selling to two different farmers on the remote Faroe Islands, an archipelago in the North Atlantic 200 miles north-northwest of Scotland.
Mr Evans was top dog on price for the second sale in succession when claiming £12,100 with another black and white bitch, the February, 2019, Barcroft Sophie, who, like his top price £12,550 bitch, Eve, at the first sale, is by the handler’s renowned trials dog Derwen Doug, a European Nursery Champion and dual Welsh and International Brace Champion. The dam, also home-bred, is Sophie Holt’s Jet, herself a Welsh Nursery and Reserve European Champion, now with Ross Watson
The second virtual sale’s top price performer was purchased by Levi Joensen, of Klaksvik on Bordoy, the northernmost Faroe Island, while Mr Evans’ other dog, the November, 2018, tri-coloured Wyverne Tan, sold for the next best price of £10,000 to Janus Joensen, of Eysturoy, the easternmost and second largest island on the archipelago.
Tan’s sire, Dan, has won nurseries for Mr Evans, while the dam, David Meek’s Wyverne Meg, is a daughter of fellow Welsh handler, Ross Games’ Roy, twice an International Champion, and from a daughter of Netherlands-based former World Sheep Dog Trials champion Serge van der Sweep's Gary.
Through they worked together online to purchase the top price Skipton dogs, the two buyers are unrelated, both farming Faroese sheep, which are native to the islands. They were first introduced in the 9th century and have long been an integral part of the island traditions.
‘We have lots of mountains and valleys around here, so we need good work dogs. Where we live we have steep mountains with narrow ledges, so the foreign dogs must first adjust and adapt to the Faroese nature and landscape for some time before we can use them here, because we don’t have much flat land,” explained Levi Joensen.
The new world record price of £2,700 for an unbroken pup was again established by Irishman Donal Mullaney, from Letterkenny in Co. Donegal, who bettered the £2,350 record he set at the July sale with his five-month-old Jim.
Mr Mullaney returned with an even younger unbroken online entry, his three-and-a-half-month-old black and white bitch, Kate. Breeding remains all-important in the working sheep dog world and Kate came with first-class credentials, being by the same sire as Jim - fellow Irishman Martin Feeney’s famous trials dog Jack, a multiple Open trials winner, semi-finalist in the both the 2014 and 2017 World Sheep Dog Trials, finalist in two Supreme Trials and placed in the Irish National team on no less than seven occasions. The dam is Mr Mullaney’s own Nell, a litter mate to his Queen, who bred Jim.
Described as another exciting trials prospect, the new world record price pup fell to an online German buyer, Bernd Nöthen, from Bergheim, which lies 20km west of Cologne and is the capital of the Rhein-Erft-Kreis.
A farmer with horses and sheep, Herr Nöthen said he would use Kate for both farm work and as a trials dog, and if successful in the latter would likely breed from her in the future. “I bought Kate because I was fascinated with her pedigree and her natural style to work sheep,” he said.
Mr Mullaney’s wife, Leanne, explained: “”There were others in this litter, one of which is in hands of our good friend Martin Feeney. We have kept the others here with the hope of possibly bringing them on a bit further to sell. They are all showing great prospect and I have no doubt they will make fine dogs.”
The Mullaneys also sold a second young up-and-coming eight-month-old black and white bitch, Maid, this one fully broken, for £3,600. She is by top Irish triallist James McGee’s Glencregg Silver, among many other trials successes the 2014 Supreme Champion, out of another solid home-bred bitch, Bell. She fell to a Scottish buyer, K Donald, of Dalrymple in East Ayrshire.
Making up the Mullaney family are the couple’s four children, Jack (10), Daniel (6), Michael (4) Emma (3). “While they all love the dogs, it is Daniel who shows the most interest and loves to help out in the training process,” said Mrs Mullaney. She added: “We are delighted to have broken this record twice in a row and are looking forward to the next Skipton sale.”
Again leading the way on price for the Welsh with a third top £8,800 sale was Dewi Jenkins, of Tynygraig Farm, Tal-y-bont, near Aberystwyth in Ceredigion, with his sole entry, a fully broken 12-month-old black and white dog, Roy, bred in Northern Ireland by Hugh O’Kane, by his Malta Spot, out of Bet, another first-rate dog sold by Mr Jenkins at Skipton for £8,400 in February last year.
The renowned Welsh handler, who at the previous Skipton sale established a new world record price of £12,000 for a dog under a year of age with his ten-months-old Tynygraig Jet, saw his latest high price achiever, also related to top trials dogs, rejoin the breeder’s family when acquired by Hugh’s uncle, James O’Kane, who runs a large cattle and sheep farm in Ballymena, Co. Antrim. Roy will be used for both work and trial, possibly breeding too.
Heading the English prices with a £7,300 sale was another former world record price holder, Northumberland shepherdess Emma Gray, with her November, 2018, bitch, Hottbank Karla, by her own Tweedale Jamie, out of Jonjo Pattinson’s Jen, who was twice National Brace Champion with Peter Martin.
Emma, who farms North of England Mule sheep and commercial suckler cattle on the remote National Trust-owned 150 acre Fallowlees Farm at Harwood Forest, Morpeth, hit the headlines at Skipton’s opening sheep dog sale in February this year – the last ‘live’ sale before lockdown – when establishing a new world price of £18,900 with her bitch, Megan. Her latest high price performer, another exciting nursery prospect, joined Logie Durno Farm, big sheep breeders in the north of Scotland near Inverurie in Aberdeenshire.
Skipton’s second timed online working sheep dog sale – it spanned three days (Mon, Aug 31-Wed, Sept 2) – attracted a much increased 81-strong entry, comprising 59 broken, 18 part-broken and four unbroken dogs – well over half from Ireland, which were sold on the opening two days.
Heading the Irish selling prices at £6,200 was regular vendor Padraig Doherty, of Ardagh Sheepdogs in Co. Donegal, with his fully broken13-month-old black and white bitch, Lass, by G McLaughlin’s Mac, out of J McFael Jnr’s Flo. She, too, has impeccable breeding behind her, being related to many top-notch dogs with multiple top level trials successes.
Mr Doherty is himself a former world record price holder, having sold a dog at Skipton in 2016 for £14,805, though that price has since been well beaten. Lass found a new home in Scotland with an anonymous buyer. The same vendor also made £1,600 with an unbroken six-month-old black and white pup, Rock.
An older three-year-old broken dog from Cumbrian vendor Gavin Fearon, of Grange, near Keswick, also caught the eye with a £5,400 price tag. Jet, an almost all-black bitch by Llangwm Cap, Aled Owen’s Welsh National and International Supreme Champion, out of Thornbury Tan, was purchased by regular Welsh buyer and another leading triallist Nigel Watkins, of Panthowell in Carmarthenshire.
Eight dogs made £4,000 and more, with another familiar face at Skipton, Willie Torrens, from Killen, Castlederg, in Co Tyrone, hitting £4,800 with his March, 2019, black and white bitch, Tess, by W Cook’s Jimmy, out of RI Lamb’s Glen y Gors Midge. The dog returned to Ireland and Co. Donegal with Daniel Cannon, again from Letterkenny.
Three dogs made £4,600, the first from another well-known Co. Donegal handler, Creggan’s James McGee, the 2011 World Sheep Dogs Trials Champion, with his one-year-old fully home-bred tri-coloured bitch, Glencregg Lynn, by top trials dog, Glencregg Silver, out of Meg.
Lynn became another Skipton-sold dog to find a new home across the pond in the United States when claimed by Barry ‘Buzz’ Shearon, who with his partner Rene, lives on a cattle and sheep farm near Memphis, Tennessee. Mr Shearon, who currently owns and trials several James McGee-bred and trained dogs, described himself as a “satisfied customer.”
The two other £4,600 selling prices both fell to bitches from the same Welsh vendor, Arran Games, of Talgarth in Powys, and both were by recognised sires from Ross Games, Arran’s brother. They were the June, 2018, tri-coloured bitch Millie, by the highly rated Roy, along with Tess, a two year-old lilac bitch by Caefelin Clem, herself out of a daughter of Roy. The respective buyers were William Barrie, of Castle Douglas in Dumfries & Galloway, and shepherdess Emma Gray.
Back with the Irish and Co. Donegal, Michael McHugh, another vendor from Letterkenny, made £4,400 with his two-year-old tri-coloured bitch Megan, by fellow Irish breeder Pat Byrne’s highly regarded Moss – bought at Skipton several years ago for £9,660 - out of the vendor’s own Jan. Megan, who had recently been mated to James McGee’s Glencregg Silver, found a new home in the Lake District with Angus Freeman, of Troutbeck, Windermere.
A further three dogs sold away at £4,000, the first of which was the sole international entry from a lady handler in Belgium, Weit Van Dongen, of Waterlozestraat, with Dave, purchased as a pup from Ireland’s Con McGarry and now at two-and-a-half-years-old said to have one more nursery season left in him. The buyer was Matthew Day, from Morpeth.
Also making £4,000 was the best of the Scottish dogs on price, the June, 2019, black and white bitch, Groesfaen Ellie, from David Murray, of North Roe in the Shetland Isles. Again by Aled Owen’s Welsh National and International Supreme Champion, Llangwm Cap, Ellie returned north of the border to Inverness with Norman Mackintosh.
Back with the unbroken dogs, Co. Sligo’s Martin Feeney himself made £2,600 – it would itself have been a new world record price if not eclipsed the same day by Donal Mullaney’s Kate – with another well-bred daughter of Mr Feeney’s renowned Jack and full sister to good friend Mr Mullaney’s previous unbroken world record price holder, Jim. Meg found a new home in Wales with Tregaron’s Aled Davies.
Two young part-broken 2020 dogs from the same February-born litter from yet another Letterkenny breeder, Brian Farelly, also sold well. Making £2,700 was Mr Farelly’s own black and white bitch, Killymasney Dime, while near neighbour Noel McDevitt, made £2,000 with his black and white dog, Killymasney Charley. Both were out of Mr Farelly’s Highedge Maid and by ED McDevitt’s Sweep. The former became a second purchase by Dalrymple’s K Donald, the latter returning to Ireland with Jonathan Smyth, of Limavady in Co. Londonderry.
Once again, the Skipton sale offered a good selection of readily affordable dogs, both solid broken entries for work and up-and-coming youngsters to further bring on and run in trials.
Six dogs made from £3,000 to £3,900, with another 13 selling from £2,000 up to £2,900, and another nine from £550 up to £1,800. A total of 20 Irish dogs were successfully sold on days one and two, while an improved clearance was seen in the second part of the sale for all other entries - 18 from England, 11 from Wales, three from Scotland and the single Belgian representative – with 23 of the 33 dogs successfully finding new homes when going under the online hammer. The overall selling average for all 43 dogs sold was a resounding £3,487.
A live pre-sale ‘Meet the Handler’ conference facility was again available by Zoom prior to the sales days. It took the form of a buyer and vendor question and answer forum and proved extremely popular.
Skipton remains the UK’s leading working sheep dog sale venue. The next sale is scheduled for Friday, October 16.