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Summary 2006



John Gribbon reports from the Royal Ulster Winter Fair


Kings Hall in Belfast the venue of the last major show in the calendar had the added attraction of cattle from the South of Ireland being able to compete for the first time since the export ban in Europe was lifted. With numbers slightly down on last year the quality, which was very high in the Holstein section, gave the judge for the day some tough decisions.

This year this task was in the hands of Keld Cristensen, a leading man from Denmark and very well known on the European circuit. This was his first judging appointment in the UK and the ringside was standing room only with the entire grandstand full waiting for his decisions.

First class of the day was for maiden heifers and it the Johnson and Shannon entry which took the first red card with Ernevale Sept Rosina praised by our judge for her balance, strength of top line and locomotion. These gave her the advantage over Moyrah Gondula from Louis Lilburn and bred in Germany. She had more front rib and strength than third placed Loughdale Gibson Rosie from the Robinsons from Newtownards.

Dry cows were next in the ring and one from the strong team of William Crawford Ardmore Lee Jill led the way from Printshop PJ Jingle 7th from Gaston Wallace. Judge Christensen said his first place was an easy winner having an excellent body and walking on great legs and feet. Second place Jingle had more dairy character than another from the Crawford’s Ardmore Lee Vixen.

Junior heifer in milk winner came from the McCormick family big time winners here on numerous occasions. This time it was Hilltara Champion Echo praised by our judge for clean bone, openness of rib and also best udder in class. Her udder gave her the advantage over Roy Cromies up from the south Dalevalley Astronomical Janina who the judge admired her depth of rib front and back. Third place went to Seamus Gunn with Ernevale SS Rosina a daughter of his great brood cow.

Intermediate heifer in milk went the way of the Clandeboye prefix great supporters of this show with the homebred Toms Granit. Balance, dairy character and excellent legs and feet gave her a slight advantage over another from the McCormick’s Hilltara Jordan Tury. Judge Christensen made this heifer best udder in class and it was this, which gave her a close placing over son Johns Hilltara Triumphant Reannz a lovely black heifer admired by the ringside.

Last heifer in milk class saw the southern contingent win their first class with a great heifer from the Whelan’s from Co/Meath in which judge Christensen described the first four as top class. Leading the way winning best udder, having great style and ring presence was Lumville Danoise 2nd.and it was her rear udder which gave her the advantage over second place Hilltara Champion Maude. No Ulster Winter Fair can go by without the legend Supreme Maude having something to do with the prizewinners. Third place went to Beattie Lilburn with Pinebreck Roy Melody admired for her height of udder and teat placement.

Junior Champion was the next class and the ring was full of top class heifers for Keld Christensen to pick his winner. Which way would this first championship go North or South was looked forward to by the packed ringside. After a long deliberation our judge described Lumville Danoise2nd from the Whelan’s a good winner with an excellent rear udder and great style taking the winners rosette to the South. Reserve went to Hilltara Champion Echo again preferred for her udder conformation in very strong opposition.

Junior second calf cows in milk were next in the ring and last years winner as a heifer led the way from the Haffey family from Lurgan. Bricknell Rubens Ethel 3rd won best udder and judge Christensen gave her the advantage for this and her locomotion over the O Hagan’s Inch Besne Model. Her height of udder and fore udder attachment just gave her the second position over another from the Crawford’s Ardmore B/Ruben Jill.

Senior second calf cows saw one of the favourites of the ringside at the show lead the way. Again from the Crawford’s great Jill family it was Ardmore AJC Cousteau who showed great balance, style and height of udder to stand ahead of the Robinsons Glaslough Charles Fancy. She won a close placing between second and third having good locomotion and a slightly better fore udder than third placed Pearmound Duc Dainty from Martin O Sullivan. Our judge gave credit to cows further down the line in an excellent class.

Third calf cows saw one of the best classes seen at this show give judge Christensen plenty to think about before he chose his winner. With champion cows from both North and South he finally chose Dalevalley Reuben’s Astro Lulu Red led by her breeder and owned by Lockhart family from Co Donegal. Our judge gave her best udder and admired her for her overall length and balance right through. Second place went to the McCormick’s Hilltara Gibson Maude yet another descendent from the legionary cow. Preferred for her high wide attached rear udder she edged out Desmond Leduc Carnbrae the Millstreet champion one of a great team from Martin O Sullivan. With some great cows down the line this was an excellent advert for the Irish breeders.

Last class senior cows saw probably the closest placing of the day with entries from two of the great breeders and supporters of this show trying to take the red rosette. Finely it was Ardmore Lee Satin with in our judge’s reasons having a slightly better front end and fore udder attachment than Hilltara Storm Maud.

Championship time saw the many visitors from all over the world witness a ring full of animals which were great credit to all their breeders and stockmen and with the outcome in the hands of Keld Christensen the winner was eagerly waited for. Giving reasons in English a foreign tongue is no easy task and to this our judge did a good job. With the roles reversed how many judges could do this?

After a long deliberation he finally tapped forward Roy Cromie at the halter with Trevor Lockhart’s winner of the great third calf class Dalevalley Reuben’s Astro Lulu Red saying she was his type of cow being balanced right through with excellent legs and feet. Reserve went to Ardmore Lee Satin from the Crawford team preferred for number of calves over Hon-Mention the second calver from the Haffey entry Bricknell Rubens Ethel 3rd.

The organisers of the Royal Ulster Fair did a great job of what is a fitting finale to the show season.

With both heifer and cow champion going over the border their owners and supporters went back home happy but we can be sure the breeders from the home counties cannot wait till NORTH MEETS SOUTH again when on a different day things may change.