Quality line-up forward for Aberdeen Christmas Classic

Christmas Classic 2018 overall champion from Wilson Peters
Christmas Classic 2018 overall champion from Wilson Peters

Almost 500 entries are destined for the annual Aberdeen Christmas Classic show and sale at Thainstone next week.

The two-day event, organised by Aberdeen and Northern Marts (ANM) in conjunction with the Aberdeen Fatstock Association and sponsored by Rapid Project Development (RPD), will be held on Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 November.

A packed programme of events over both days will see shows and sales of prime and pedigree livestock from noted breeders across Scotland, as well as the Rising Stars Exhibition Calf show, which will be held on the Monday evening in the Thainstone Exchange, when judged by Michael Durno, Auchorachan, Glenlivet.

“We are delighted to be offering another terrific show of prime and pedigree livestock at this year’s Aberdeen Christmas Classic,” said ANM prime and cull cattle manager Tim McDonald.

“Over the two days, spectators will have the chance to see some of the best-bred cattle in the country, with the opportunity of also buying top-quality in-lamb pedigree sheep and pedigree bulls.”

Last year’s event saw the overall championship in the prime cattle section awarded to a three-quarter home-bred Limousin heifer named Cheeky Kiss from Wilson Peters, Monzie Farms, Crieff. Weighing 610kg, she later sold for the day’s top price of £4600 or 754p per kg to the judges - Hugh Black, Lanark, and Murray Lauchlan, Comrie.

The overall sheep championship went to a pair of 56kg Suffolk cross lambs from Willie and John Brown, Hilton of Culsh. They made the top price of £200 per head to Louise Forsyth of WTS Forsyth Butchers, Peebles, who judged the prime sheep alongside Ben Wight, Midlock, Biggar.

Proceedings kick off on Monday morning at 11.30am with the cast sow competition which will be judged by a member of the Cheale family of Cheale Meats, Essex.

This year's prime cattle section has attracted 55 entries and will be judged by Jamie Chapman of James Chapman Butchers, Wishaw, and Frank Yorke, Yorkes of Dundee, Dundee, while the unhaltered cattle entries will be headed up by Stewart Mackie of SA Mackie Butchers, Aberlour.

A total of 160 prime sheep or 80 pairs of prime lambs will be judged by Tom Hutcheon of JB Penman Butchers, Crail, Anstruther, while Anna Forsyth, WTS Forsyth and Sons Butchers, Peebles, will be tasked with judging strong entries of Young Farmers’ cattle and sheep.

Among the pedigree sheep, 230 head of well-bred females from noted breeders will be up for sale on the Monday evening to include 94 Suffolks; 82 Texels; 10 Bluefaced Leicesters; 30 Beltex; four Charollais; four Blue Texels; and six Dutch Texels.

They will be judged in the afternoon by a number of breed judges.

These include: Mark Priestley, Northern Ireland, for Suffolks; Keith Parker, Wyrebeck, Longlane, Scorton, Preston, for Texels; and Alan Miller, Mid Lurg, Midmar, Inverurie, for Beltex.

Meanwhile, 30 pedigree bulls to include seven Limousins; six Aberdeen-Angus; five Simmentals; three Charolais; two Salers; one Beef Shorthorn; one Hereford; and one British Blue, will be judged by Allen Drysdale of the Glenericht Charolais herd at Middle Drimmie, Blairgowrie, before being sold on the Tuesday afternoon.

A reduction sale of 11 Aberdeen-Angus spring-calving females from AC Grant and Son, Middlefield, Forres, will also be sold alongside the pedigree bulls.

For those unable to attend on the day and who wish to purchase animals, this year’s sale will benefit from ANM’s online auction system, allowing bidders to view the sale in real-time and bid against ringside buyers for entries. The event will be streamed live on ANM Group’s Facebook channel, with live photo updates throughout the day.