SKIPTON mart enjoyed its most successful working sheep dogs sale ever attracting 120 dogs from all over the UK and Ireland.

The top price of 9,500gns (£9,975) was paid for a 20-month-old black-and-white bitch, Flo, from top Irish triallist Michael Gallagher, of County Antrim.

Flo is by Littledale-based Ricky Hutchinson’s celebrated International reserve supreme champion Sweep, out of County Antrim handler Chris McNaughton’s Mist.

Trained to nursery standard, Flo will appear in trials with new owner, Jock Sutherland, who made a 1,000-mile round trip to Skipton from Durness.

He said: “Michael is one of the top handlers and always produces good-quality dogs. I’d seen Flo on YouTube and was very impressed, so came down in the hope of getting her.”

The sale saw a second top price of 6,000gns for another Irish-bred bitch, three sales topping 5,000gns, four above 4,000gns, five exceeding 3,000gns and a further 18 at 2,000gns-plus.

It achieved a Skipton record turnover and all-time record average for broken registered dogs and bitches of £2,694. The overall average of £3,294 for 26 broken registered bitches sold was the first time an individual section had averaged more than £3,000.

The second top price 6,000gns was achieved by Floss, a three-year-old black-and-white bitch from Colm Doherty, Londonderry, who joined a North Yorkshire sheep farmer.

One of three 5,400gns sales fell to Jet, a 20-month-old black-and-white bitch, from North County Dublin’s Brian White and Aoife Smith. She sold to Weardale farmer Glyn Gascoigne to work on his Swaledale and Mule sheep flocks, and Limousin cattle herd.

Jean Howes, of Wolsingham, sold her three-year-old home-bred black-and-white bitch, Herdmans Sally, out of her own Redgate Nell, for 4,200gns to BM Baker, Bolton.

She then made 3,200gns with a two-year-old home-bred black-and-white bitch, Redgate Dot, by her father Bill Skidmore’s Star. She sold to MD&E Campbell, Argyllshire.

Mrs Howes then made a joint top price of 900gns in the unbroken pen with Redgate Joy, a tri-coloured pup not yet five months old out of Redgate Becky. She sold to Draughton’s Joe Throup.

Shaun Richards, of Pen-y-Borough Sheep Dogs, Eldroth, Settle, achieved the day’s top call for a dog under 12 months when selling Jess, his November 2016-born black-and-white bitch, for 4,100gns.

She found a new home with Austrian Robert Eder, who runs a small flock of mountain sheep at Kohlschnait, near the ski resort of Zel am See. He flew over specially to make his first Skipton purchase.

Other field-run dogs selling at between 3,000 and 4,000gns included 3,200gns Burndale Jet, an 11-month-old black and white bitch from John Bell, Frosterley.

From 58 sold in the broken dog field, six made less than 1,000gns; 18 made 1,001-2,000gns; and 18 2,001-3,000gns.

Sale prices and averages. – Broken section: 29 registered dogs from 800gns to 5,400gns (av £2,157); 26 registered bitches from 775gns to 9,500gn (av £3,294); 1 unregistered dog 1,000gns; 2 unregistered bitches from 950gns to 1,050gns (av £1,050).

Unbroken section: 15 registered dogs from 150gns to 650gns (av £439); 10 registered bitches from 500gns to 950gns (av £736); 4 unregistered dogs from 100gns to 300gns (av £205); 1 unregistered bitch 280gns.