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Royal Show 2006 Summary

Melody hits the high note

 

In the hottest conditions seen at Stoneleigh for many years, Shanael Gelpro Melody overcame the sternest of tests to emerge as Supreme Champion. Simon Gee was there to see Tom and Andy Cope’s perennial winner claim her biggest prize yet

 

The sun was hot, but the competition was hotter! Judge Harri Evans of the Ceinwen herd on Anglesey certainly felt the heat as he worked his way through an absorbing day’s classes, placing each with skill and consistency as many of the biggest names in the Holstein world were presented before him in top form.

However, there could only be one winner and this year’s top honours went to Tom and Andy Cope’s Shanael Gelpro Melody, a popular choice who has continued to develop since she first came to The Royal in 2003. In fact, Melody has become something of a Royal specialist, having won her class in each of her four annual outings and she took the Honourable Mention title in 2004.

Standing as Reserve Champion was reigning National Holstein Show Champion Avenham Jolt Companion 2, just failing by a whisker to achieve the illusive double claimed by Copywood Integrity Sara Red in 2003. Brian and Leanora Whitfield’s outstanding fifth calver exhibited her usual balance, style and bloom in winning the fourth calver class ahead of Simon and Sian  Davies’ Saxelby Aaron Rosina, but couldn’t quite find a way past Melody in the judge’s eyes.

The Honourable Mention title was the second-placed third calver behind Shanael Gelpro Melody, Steve Bell’s Indianhead Durham Roxan, who was making her show debut. Coming second to the eventual Champion is never a disgrace and Roxan was in quite exceptional form. “These are two outstanding animals, but the winner has more length, strength through the spine and height and width of rear udder than the tremendous cow in second”, the judge said when he judged them in their class.

The highlight of the day came in the middle of the afternoon when the judge lined up his Championship contenders across the ring. “What I’ve been looking for is the cow that comes closest to the Model Cow, exhibiting balance, dairy strength, strong udder attachments and good locomotion”, Harri Evans explained, “and my Champion today fits the bill in every way!”

Melody has an interesting history. She was bred by the Miller family in Worcestershire, where her EX92-2E Rudolph dam is still alive and well, and her pedigree stretches back through just 14 generations to Volume 1 of the herdbook and Knebworth Ada, born in 1905. The family thrived for many generations in Tim Harding’s Crichel herd, and Melody’s fourth dam, Crichel Melody 99 EX by Winton Citation was a successful show cow in the late 1970s.

The Miller’s consigned Melody to the 2002 Genetic Elite Sale, incidentally making her the fourth consecutive Royal Show Champion to sell through the Society sale, where she sold for 3,700 guineas to the Booth’s of Feizor, who also bought 2005 Royal Show Champion Cleevale Storm Meggie the same day. Melody calved a Leader heifer at Feizor, scored VG86 as a two-year-old and looking good fresh with her second, but the Booth’s decided to concentrate on Meggie and Melody was once again consigned to the Genetic Elite Sale, this time topping the 2003 event when she sold for 20,000gns to the Cope’s in partnership with the Lancaster’s of Lickber. Now solely owned by Tom and Andy, the EX93-2E Melody has natural daughters by Outside and Mr Sam at Huddlesford while a flush to Storm resulted in sons and daughters at both Huddlesford and Feizor.

As a heifer, when she scored VG89-2yr, Melody produced over 10,000 kg and she has continued to develop as a producer. A second record of 14,059 kg in 305 days at 4.32% fat and 3.56% protein has been followed by her current lactation of 11,585 kg in 224 days at 5.22% fat and 3.24% protein and she’s still giving 43 kg/day. These constituent levels are produced from the herd’s TMR and the fat looks even more impressive when set against the herd average of 4.27%.

 

Champions

The Heifer in milk Championship went to Mark and Sue Nutford’s senior heifer Riverdane Stormatic Beauty, a VG89-2yr great grand daughter of Rainyridge Tony Beauty EX. “My Champion is probably the best heifer I’ve ever had the pleasure of judging”, enthused the judge, describing Beauty as “quite outstanding”. She stood ahead of the intermediate and junior class winners, Arcadia Holsteins’ Wiltor Charles Ebony and Smiddiehill Holsteins’ Ridgefield Morty Erle respectively.

Beauty also took the Exhibitor bred Championship, ahead of Brian Yates’ Royal Highland Show Champion and National Reserve Logan Outside Roxy with David and Sheila Tomlinson’s Bilsrow Leduc Olympia as Honourable Mention. The senior Exhibitor bred title went to Copywood KJ Sara 2, the 2005 National Champion who sold the week before the show at the Copywood dispersal for 20,500gns to Ian Williamson of the Wardle herd, although breeder Belinda Fox continued to lead the cow.

The Dry Cow Championship was won by the 2004 Supreme Champion, Dalesend Storm Maude. This remarkable EX97 cow has recently completed a fifth lactation of almost 22,000 kg in 354 days at 5.21% fat and 3.2% protein and is due again to Picston Shottle. The judge said that Maude’s length, power and strength of spine put he ahead of Smiddiehill’s Primo Jed Celeste.

The Shropshire-based Smiddiehill team also started the day well when they took the first Championship, for Junior Heifers. Their Smiddiehill Marbel Mavis had too much strength and power, and superior pin setting, for the Whitaker family’s Knowlesmere Gibson Nell in Reserve.

It was also a good day for Alan and David Swale, who brought out a daughter of their own sire Joylan Specialist to win the Senior Second Calver class. Preepark Specialist Anita 2 VG86-2yr also took the Best by a UK Sire Trophy kindly donated by John and Valerie Barlow of the Painley herd.

The Premier Breeder Trophy went back to Riverdane thanks to Beauty’s success and fourth-placed Junior Heifer Riverdane Dante Maddy, ahead of Almondene and Igleview in second and third. The Premier Sire honours were claimed by Boulet Charles, a bull born 18 years ago, with Storm and Gibson the only other serious contenders.

 

Other winners

The junior in calf class attracted only two entrants, and Hefyn Wilson’s Leachfield Leduc Dark Cocoa was stronger in the loin and pin setting than Andrew Birkle’s Copywood Lee Sahara.

The five junior second calvers exhibited quality down the line. Smiddiehill’s Denmire Gibson Marie 22, who won the Genetic Merit Trophy for the animal with the highest index at the show, showed more balance and body depth than Brian Yates’ Logan Outside Roxy in second. Roxy’s superior locomotion kept her ahead of Robert and Elaine Butterfield’s Ingleview Capri Flo in third.

Riverdane and Alderbarrow’s Applevue Rudy Mattia, “ A cow right on song” according to the judge, took the 50 tonne class with a real bloom to her udder ahead of the dry Dalesend Storm Maude, who remained in the ring to win the Total Performance class ahead of Smiddiehill’s Almondene Rudolph Angel.

 

Extra prize money

This year’s classes benefited from an extra £10,000 in prize money very kindly put up by Sheikha Noora Al Khalifa, who herself was exhibiting under her new Arcadia prefix. With expert showman David Jones on the halter, the Sheikha’s own Wiltor Charles Ebony won the Intermediate Heifer in milk section, and she was on hand to present David with the rosette. As a major sponsor, Sheikha Noora Al Khalifa was asked to present the prestigious Burke Trophy to the winning interbreed dairy pair and, for the seventh year in succession, it was the Holstein UK President who accepted the award. The pairing of Shanael Gelpro Melody with Indianhead Durham Roxan proved unbeatable, but they were given a contest by a smart pair of Jerseys.

Indeed, it was a great show for the breed, as the Holsteins took all the other interbreed titles: Supreme Champion, Heifer in milk, Total Performance and Team of Five. The judge was Ayrshire breeder Alex Kilpatrick of the Barr herd, and he made Melody and Beauty his Supreme and Heifer Champions, Maude took the Total Performance Championship and the triumphant Team of Five saw Melody and Roxan joined by Avenham Jolt Companion 2, Designer Jersey’s Chalkfarm Jed Oranje 20 and Riverdane & Alderbarrow Holsteins’ Applevue Rudy Mattia.

Judge Harri Evans, who farms 700 acres with his wife Margaret and family, with 180 suckler cows and 150 Holsteins averaging over 10,000 kg, commented that the standard was outstanding throughout and that no class contained a real tail ender. “Where else could you go in the world and find any better than this?” Harri said before he tapped out Melody as Champion. “This show has seen tremendous quality throughout and has been a fantastic shop window for UK Holsteins”, he continued. And it is hard to disagree, with the class winners coming from both long-standing British bred families and those of North American origin.

The extreme temperatures may have restricted the overall crowd at the show, and doubts remain amongst the farming community as to the direction in which the Royal is heading, but the 2006 event will be remembered as the day when a quality field had to play second fiddle to Melody.