THURSDAY at Balmoral Show was a day of smiles for Nutt’s Corner sheep breeder, Mark Patterson, when he won the Texel championship with a ram with a bit of a story behind it.

The competition among the Texel classes was strong but in the end Mark’s home-bred shearling ram, Alderview Barrister, walked away with the top honours.

Mark, who runs a flock of 200 commercial and pedigree sheep, bred this ram and presented it at Balmoral Show last year where it was the reserve champion Texel.

And that’s where the story gets interesting. After taking reserve spot last year, Barrister proved a popular ram attracting a lot of attention, so Mark decided to ride on that fame and sell the ram at the popular Lanark sheep sales where it sold to a Scottish breeder for 17,000gns.

However, for various reasons, the purchaser decided to return the ram to Mark. When the tup came back to Nutt’s Corner, Mark had a vet check him over thoroughly and all was OK.

“The ram was in good health and in perfect working order,” said Mark. “I decided to keep him and enter this year’s Balmoral Show where he won the overall championship and I was delighted.

“He was looking really well in the ring,” said Mark. “I started getting phone calls on Wednesday afternoon following the judging from breeders in Northern Ireland and England wanting to buy semen from him. I sold thousands of pounds worth of semen from him so I am very happy he was returned to me from Scotland.

“I also have nine full sisters of this ram at home and customers were also offering to buy them as well. It really was a win:win situation for me at Balmoral Show this year,” he said.

As Mark used Alderview Barrister last year in his flock he already has a crop of lambs on the ground and is well impressed with them. They included the first prize ram lamb at Balmoral.