THE 5,300gns (£5,560) topprice dog at Skipton mart’s 2014 opening sale of working sheepdogs is bound for America.

Sweep, a trials-ready, three-year-old black-andwhite dog from Shaun Richards, of Burnley, was snapped up by hobby sheepdog trialist Michelle Prescott-Guderian, from Minnesota.

A real estate agent, who also breeds and shows American Quarter Horses, Mrs Prescott-Guderian said: “I first viewed him on YouTube and obviously liked what I saw.

“I have been involved with border collies and trialling – strictly as a hobby – since 1999 and have had moderate success in the past.

“I am so busy with work that I have not been able to put the serious time into working my dogs to achieve top success.

“I am hoping that now is the time in my life that I have that extra time and plan to try to achieve higher goals with Sweep.

“I have complete faith in Shaun and his dogs and really look forward to Sweep getting to Minnesota.”

Sweep was bred by Welsh triallist Medwyn Evans from Shep, his all-Wales nursery finalist, out of his own bitch, Jan, who was fifth in the 2012 Welsh National Trials.

The sale attracted 94 dogs with 63 sold on the day, a 68 per cent clearance rate.

The second top price of 4,000gns (£4,200) fell to Don, a 30-month-old tri-coloured dog from Belgian handler Jo de Meyst. The Welsh-bred dog, by John Griffith’s Bob, out of M Jones’ June, is already a five-times nursery trial winner in England and Belgium.

Don found a new home in Holmrook, Cumbria, with Arthur Temple, who was eighth in the 2011 World Sheepdog Trials.

Mr de Meyst was reducing stocks on behalf of himself and his 22-year-old daughter, Heidi, and brought 12 dogs from Belgium. He was accompanied by Nick Couwelier, of East Flanders, who was making his debut at Skipton with a number of entries.

The trio are among the country’s best-known handlers.

Mr de Meyst has represented his country many times, and last year, headed the organising committee for the Continental Sheepdog Championship in Antwerp.

Selling well at 3,800gns (£3,990) was a 16-month-old black-and-white bitch, Groesfaen Nan, from Skipton regular John Bell, of Howden, Selby, who also headed the young dog prices at 2,400gns (£2,520) with a promising nine-month-old tri-coloured bitch, Kate.

Michael Longton, from the famed sheep dog trialling family of Quernmore, Lancaster, achieved his highest price at Skipton when selling his July 2010-born blackand- white dog Harry, an inter-club nursery winner, for 2,750gns (£2,887.50).

Local handler Richard Atkins, of Oakworth, achieved 2,700gns (£2,835) with his April 2011-born black-and-white dog Scott, who was bred in nearby Oxenhope by trialist, sheepdog display presenter and journalist Elaine Hill.

Nidderdale sheep farmer Richard Harker, of Ramsgill, bought Scott as a work dog.

Leading prices and averages were: broken registered dogs to 5,300gns (av £2,286); part-broken registered dogs to 1,200gns (av £664); unbroken registered dogs to 550gns (av £299); unregistered broken dogs to 1,050gns (av £1,102); unbroken unregistered dogs to 200gns.

The next working sheepdog sale at Skipton is the spring fixture on May 16, for which entries close on May 2.