NORTHERN Ireland breeder, Matthew Burleigh of the Matts flock near Co Fermanagh, dominated Craven Cattle Marts' recent show and sale of Beltex females at Skipton, securing both the champion and reserve honours, as well as the top price at 800gns.

Claiming the supreme championship for a second consecutive year for Mr Burleigh from Shanra, Enniskillen, was his gimmer named Matts Candle Light, a daughter of Kingledores Apollo which was purchased for 5580gns in 2015 when he stood reserve champion at Carlisle.

Bred out of a home-bred ewe that goes back to Matts Sparkie and in-lamb to Hackney Corker, she sold for the top price to the judge, Karen Shuttleworth and her husband David, of the Heber Park flock at Gargrave.

Another gimmer in-lamb to Hackey Corker from the Matts flock made 550gns when sold to Ellis Bros of Addingham Moorside, while Mr Burleigh's reserve champion, the first prize ewe lamb realised 450gns to father and daughter duo, Mike and Becki Davis for their Rathbone flock at Ravenshaw, Eldroth. This was Matts Destiny, an ET-bred daughter of Murrays Code, out of a Dean Brow ewe.

Financing that transaction, the Davis family sold the second top price gimmer at 750gns and another at 500gns. Dearest was their Y Bedol A-Team-sired ET-bred gimmer, Rathbone Clara, which sold to Geoff Riby, Bridlington.

Elizabeth and William McAllister's Artnagullion flock from Ballymena, Northern Ireland, sold three gimmers for 500gns including their second prize winner, Artnagullion Calamity Jane. This Corra Rambo daughter scanned due with twins to Tercrosset Blaze, was purchased by Simon Garth, Keasden.

The other two in-lamb gimmers which are both daughters of The Bare Boy, also sold locally to Tom Crosdale from Clapham and Laura Robinson, Barnoldswick.

In all, ewe lambs averaged £273, a rise of £21 on the year, while gimmers cashed in at £465.50, back £255.50.

An offering of pure-bred and continental-sired sheep met a similarly strong trade to average £254.57 and topped at 280gns with a two-crop Beltex ewe scanned due with twins from Frank Joel, Westhouse, North Craven.