A record entry graced Aberdeen and Northern Marts at Thainstone on Friday for the Black Beauty Bonanza. Organised by the North East Aberdeen-Angus Club with Glenrinnes Farms Ltd – owned by oil tycoon, Alasdair Locke – as main sponsor, the show attracted 109 entries from leading herds throughout Scotland, plus another five in a new class for commercial steers and heifers.
Judging was in the hands of Jim Ford who felt the standard in front of him on the day was of a high quality, with females particularly being of note. His first championship honours of the day fell to David Lucas with he help of the Rettie family on the halter of Cheeklaw Polly S540. This January-born Cardona Proud Punch L752 daughter is out of Cheeklaw Portia M430, a daughter of the Irish-bred former Perth Bull Sales champion Bunchy Bilty G202. This heifer has a dam line of successful breeders with the grand dam being a former champion at the Border Union Show and the great grand dam being a winner at the Royal Highland Show.
She will be offered for sale next October in Stirling along with 100-head of cattle as part of the Cheeklaw herd dispersal. “She’s a stylish heifer, great on the move with lovely character. She has length and depth and will no doubt go on to make a great breeder,” commented Jim Ford who is procurement manager with meat processors, A K Stoddart, after his five hour judging sting. Mr Ford sources 250 Aberdeen-Angus cattle a week for the company’s meat plant and also has his own prize winning pedigree herd in the Borders in partnership with Ian Watson.
Standing reserve to her in the heifer calf championship was Hamish and Margaret Sclater with Devon Estorella S553, an April-born daughter of the home bred Deveron Eames P471. Out of Devon Estrella P462, a Deveron Master Banbury L376 daughter, this one was a class winner at the Winter National Show in Carlisle.
In the yearling heifer championships it was another win for Weeton Princess Chartreuse R467 from Donald Rankin. By Retties JFK M195, this one is out of Blelack Princess Chartreuse G793 and was bought as a calf at the Weeton sale last year. She’s had a successful career to date and was recently supreme champion at the Winter National Show in Carlisle. Adding his thoughts to his yearling champion, Jim said: “This heifer is so hard to fault, she has power and presence and is completely the full package. Once calved she’ll make a tremendous outfit.”
Reserve to her was Richard and Carol Rettie with Retties Lady Ruth R329, a Duncanziemere Edwin J311 daughter out of Wall Lady Ruth E397. Born August last year, this one was reserve yearling female champion at Carlisle last month as well.
In the males, it was the Massie family on top form to take the bull calf championship with Blelack Blackadder S640. Born February 2016, this one is by Hallington Principal M367 and is out of the Blelack Egotist K531 daughter, Blelack Blackbird M934. Judge, Jim Ford, said he was particularly taken with this young bull calf expressing that he had a great future ahead of him. “This calf really caught my eye, he has a lot of scope for the future and I look forward to seeing how he will develop as a yearling.”
Reserve to him was Ballindalloch Home Farm with Ballindalloch Black Bear S476, a son of the home bred Ballindalloch Earl N397 out of a home bred daughter of Carlhurlie Great Start C353.
In the yearling male championships it was another winner for Carlisle standing at the top of the line, this time Wyddial Blackbeard R112. This April 2015-born son of Rawburn Lord Ross C216 is out of the Nightingale Ernie B133 daughter, Blelack Blackbird F528. This one was yearling male champion at the Winter National Show last month.
Reserve to him was Messrs Bruce and Partners with Logie Edition R548, a March-born yearling by Rawburn Enoch L309 and out of the Nightingale D’Arcy F316 daughter, Logie Elvira L139.
The coveted McCombie Trophy for the best pair of calves, presented by the McCombie family in memory of the late Charles McCombie, a former chairman of the North-east club, was won by the family themselves with two first prize winners by stock bull, Blelack Master Bugle L634, while the Shand Trophy, presented by Doug and Agnes Shand of Schivas Ythanside, for the best pair of yearlings went to two third prize yearling bulls from John Grant, Middlefield, Forres.
Meanwhile, the junior showmanship section, judged this year by George McFadzean saw Gemma Wark, Forfar, take the top spot in the sector section, while Nicola Howie, Carinton, took the intermediate section and then in the juniors, Andrew Reid, Ellon, took the top spot.