HE may have won the overall title at the Christmas Classic on two previous occasions, but Harry Brown finally scooped his first championship with a home-bred beast – and it went on to top the sale at £4600. 

With Alan Hutcheon at the gavel in what would be his last time selling cattle at the Classic ahead of his retirement, prices at this year’s Thainstone event followed the prize winners, with all six champions and reserves leading the way when sold per head. 

With 48 of 51 cattle selling to new homes, 11 fewer than last year, heifers met the best of the trade and an improved average on the year while bullocks were back slightly.

Making her show debut one to remember, Harry’s leader was the April, 2016-born Spicy, which rounded off a good few days for Harry, who judged the prime cattle at LiveScot a couple days earlier. His winner this year is among the first crop of prime calves sired by the new stock bull, a Garyvaughan Limousin bull, while the dam is a Limousin cross British Blue, one of 170 such breeding females at Auchmaliddie Mains, Maud. Spicy crossed the weighbridge at 620kg and was snapped up for £4600, or £7.42 per kg, by the judges, father and son butcher team, James and Ross Allan, of Malcolm Allan, Larbert, Stirling, with James having described her as ‘tremendous all round with a great top and gigot, very showy and flashy, and that’s what the Christmas Classic is all about’.

The prizes kept coming for Harry as he also secured the reserve bullock title with Fraz, a Limousin cross bullock bought in the spring from Frazer Leslie, Odinstone, which went on to realise £1629.75 or 265p. 

The butchers’ champion from young brothers, Andrew and Reece Simmers, was next in the trade stakes when knocked down to Huntly butchers, Charles and Gary Raeburn, for £3800. Their Ruby Red, which was bought at a calf as foot with her Limousin cross mother from R Allison, was another on her first outing. This 17-month-old, by a Limmy cross stock bull, realised £6.96 per kg at 546kg. 

Following on at £3300 when sold to Bruce of the Broch, Fraserburgh, was Murray Rainnie’s reserve overall, Pick ‘n’ Mix, from Logie Coldstone, Aboyne. This Limmy-sired heifer was bought in a pen of three from the McMillans, Ardbeg, at the spring sale on Islay, and this buyer-purchaser combination proved successful for Murray as her half sister was reserve heifer here last year. She tipped the scales at 586kg to also realise £5.63 per kg. 

Three then sold for £3000 apiece with the first of these being the reserve butchers’ champion from Wilson Peters, who was fresh from his supreme title at LiveScot. His 518kg entry, named Tricky Treacle and sired by the privately purchased Anside Hawkeye, from Monzie, Crieff, was reserve to that home's LiveScot winner, Miss Tees, at Doune and Dunblane, Kirriemuir and Braco shows, and was best calf on most outings. She was snapped up by Louise Forsyth, buying for the family’s butchers shop in Peebles, having got her hands on the heifer when she judged the Housewife’s Choice class at LiveScot. 

Both the Young Farmers’ champions and reserves matched that £3000, with the former from Mark Robertson, Easter Fodderletter, selling to the judge of the YF section, Jamie Scott, for John Scott Meat, Paisley. Mia was bought at Huntly, in April, from Gordon Carrol, Edendiach, at less than half the price and did well on the summer circuit. She is by a Limousin sire and out of a Limmy cross cow. 

The reserve YF champion was an unnamed heifer from the Keith Commercials team – Richard Davidson, Craig and Jack Hendry, Darren Davidson, and Kyle Cooper. Selling to fellow Keith Young Farmer, Bradley Robertson, who bought a farm in his own right last year and is building up a commercial unit, this Huntershall Troy daughter was bought from Andrew Weir at the Clyde and Central calf rally, in the spring, but was bred by Brian Harper, Greenwells. 

Outwith these show leaders, two more passed the £2000 mark with the first of these being Our Girl from the Paton and Hunter team at West Cairnhill, Culsalmond, Insch. Originally bred by the Robertson family at Newton of Logierait, this Limmy cross was knocked down to Scott Watson, of Old Repeater Station, Muirdrum, for £2188, or 350p per kg. 

Selling for £2062, or 310p per kg to Ian Mathers, Wardes, Kintore, was a Limousin cross heifer from the Fraser family – brothers James and Donald, together with respective sons Grant and Ally, and Scott – from Easter Clune, Lethen.

Other placings saw Darren Irvine, of Braehead, Drummuir, collect the bullock title with Lightyear, a son of the Anside stock bull, Powerful Irish, out of the Limousin cross mother bought from the McConachies, Lethendry. He tipped the scales at 688kg and sold to Malcolm Allan Butchers for £1713 or 250p.

See the December 2 issue of The Scottish Farmer for all the leading awards and photos of the other section champions.