Commercial records were smashed at Leyburn Auction Marts' annual Spring Spectacular of show potential cattle, last weekend, when a heifer sold for £9200.

Superceding the previous best of £8000 paid here at the same sale last year, was the overall champion from John and Mandy Smith-Jackson, who run the 20-cow pedigree Hightown Limousin herd alongside a further 70 commercial cows just outside Haltwhistle, Hexham.

Their show stopper, a home-bred 20-month-old Limousin cross heifer is one of the second crop of calves bred from the herd's own stock bull, Hightown Jacko – a son of the 1985 purchase, Shire Apollo bred from Hightown Fantasy, a former commercial champion at both the Great Yorkshire and the Royal Highland.

"Apollo was a real star, but Jacko is breeding as well as, if not better than his father, producing some really top quality, high price, multi award-winning progeny,” said a delighted Mr Smith-Jackson, after the sale.

The heifer, which was also first lightweight heifer at Agri Expo last year, and was later christened Kitsons Jewel, by the purchaser, Anthony Kitson of B and T Kitson Butchers, is to be shown at the summer shows in Yorkshire and beyond before being made available to Mr Kitson’s customers at his four retail outlets at Northallerton, Stockton on Tees, Hutton Rudby and the Five Houses Farm Shop at Crathorne near Yarm.

Mr Kitson is also considering taking the naturally-born heifer out of a British Blue cross Limousin cross Angus cow, over to The Netherlands for the country's premier Easter prime cattle highlight, Paasvee 2019, next month.

“She is one of the best beasts I have ever set eyes on – at the leading edge of show cattle," said Mr Kitson.

“Kitsons Jewel is fully halter-trained thanks to the hard work and dedication of Mr Smith-Jackson and his team. We have great expectations for her in the show arena this year."

The couple were back in the tickets and the money, when they also scooped the reserve overall with the champion British Blue, a six-month-old heifer from the baby beef class which went on to sell for £2600 to Geoff Tunstall, Eden Farm Supplies, Brough. She is by the stock bull Tweeddale Guinness and out of a Limousin cross dam that also bred the £7800 show winning She's a Diamond calf.

Garrowby Estates, Bugthorpe near York, who supplied last years champion, sold their best, a yearling Limousin cross heifer at £3000 to Jimmy Fawcett, Pondhouse Farm, Wigton, Cumbria.

Matching that price was a similarly aged British Blue heifer from JR and A Blades, Muker, Richmond, bought by James May, Worcester.

By the end of the day 15 heifers averaged £2377, (+£550 on the year) with eight steers cashing in at £1290 (-£93).

Auctioneers: Leyburn Livestock Auction Mart