Belfast Telegraph

Sunny smiles all round as crowds flock to Saintfield Show

By Richard Halleron

Warm sunshine greeted the many visitors that took in the sights and sounds of this year's Saintfield Show.

This was the fourth year in succession that Co Down's premier food and farming event had been held at Balmoral Park, on the outskirts of Lisburn.

"The venue is perfect," confirmed Show Society chairman Brian Hunter.

"It suits all the attending livestock breeders and there is plenty of space for the trade exhibitors and members of the visiting public to interact. I can confirm that we will be back at Balmoral Park in 2018."

Mr Hunter said a lot of hard work had gone into staging the show.

"Gate receipts are well up, but so are our costs," he added.

"It requires hundreds of man hours to bring an event like the Saintfield Show over the line."

Meanwhile, in the show rings, the various judges had to cope with a tremendous entry of livestock. Sheep numbers were particularly high this year.

The beef inter-breed championship was awarded to the Matchett family with their three year-old Charolais cow Tawny Jasmine. Jasmine had won the supreme beef championship at the Armagh Show seven days earlier. And just for good measure, the Matchetts also won the Aberdeen Angus championship at Saintfield with an eye-catching cow.

The sheep inter-breed championship was awarded to Larne Texel breeder Nigel Ross with a four-year-old ram. He had picked up the reserve inter-breed title with the same animal at Lurgan Show a fortnight earlier.

Sheep inter-breed judge Billy Welsh, from Ayrshire, described his champion as a perfect example of the Texel breed.

"He has great presence and fantastic mobility," he said.

Welsh added the sheep sector is in good heart at present.

"New season lamb prices have held up well," he added.

"But I am not sure if this buoyancy will be maintained as we get closer to Brexit."

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