Marvellous Mo wins backing of judge Alford as Winter Fair prime live cattle champion

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ONE of the top commercial cattle exhibitors in the country, Michael Alford, had his work cut out yesterday as judge at the Royal Highland Winter Fair prime live cattle competition at Ingliston.

His choice as champion was a 13-month-old Limousin cross heavyweight heifer shown by Stewart Bett and Lynsey McKay, of Casteleton, Airth. Named Marvellous Mo and turning the scales at 590kg, the heifer was commercial champion at Kinross Show for its breeder Alistair McLaren, of Classlochie, Kinross, back in August.

Bett is stud manager for the Ronick Limousin herd at Mains of Throsk and McKay, a veterinary nurse with Loch Leven Equine at Milnathort, bought the champion from McLaren that day.

Marvellous Mo is by the Callion-bred Lodge Danny Boy and out of a Limousin cross British Blue cow.

Alford, who along with his wife Melanie won the Winter Fair championship in 2009 and have won championships all over the UK – although their main business is in their three butchers shops and an abattoir in Devon – said there was little to choose between Marvellous Mo and the steer champion, Jack Flash, from Jennifer Hyslop, of Balluskie, Girvan. This one was bred by John Robertson, of Newton of Logieriat, Ballinluig, and is by the Northern Ireland bred sire Fedneyhouse Dapper and out of a British Blue cross cow

However, when it came to picking his reserve overall, Alford called forward the reserve heifer, Willough Booby, from first-time exhibitor 18-year-old Grant Morrison, of Newtack, Crossroads, Keith. Already standing lightweight heifer champion, Willough Booby is home-bred by Morrison’s father James and is by the Limousin sire Haltcliffe Donny and out of a Limousin cross cow. The Aberdeen-Angus calf show was won by Ballathie Estate, Perth, with the March-born heifer Ballathie Kira by Rawburn Emblem. The reserve was from Willie and William McLaren with the April-born heifer Netherton Karama.

The sheep championship, judged by Stephen Kirkup, of Lavendar House, Rothbury, was won for the fourth time by father and daughter John and Joanne Hall, of Inglewood Edge, Carlisle. Their winners yesterday were a pair of April-born Texel heavyweight crosses by Texel Turbo and out of Beltex cross ewes. They sold by auction for £250 each to the judge.

The reserve lamb pair came from Andrew Morton, of Lochend, Denny – winner of the 2010 Winter Fair championship – with a pair of lightweight seven-eighth Beltex cross lambs by the 3,200gns Beechy Norman. The lambs sold for £170 each to John Scott Meats, Paisley.

The mountain and moorland sheep championship was won by Brian MacTaggart, of Douganhill Farms, Castle Douglas, with a pair of Cheviot lambs which later sold to Kirkup for £170 each.