An overall average of £999.97
The Brightwells 53rd annual Autumn sale of Welsh Cobs, Welsh Ponies of Cob Type and Welsh Part Breds saw an overall average of £999.97, up 4.3% on last year, the highest average since 2008. 91 animals were sold to export including Germany (37), Holland (20), Sweden (10), France (8), Ireland (6), Japan (5), Denmark (3), Austria (1) and Norway (1). Out of the 555 lots catalogued, 78.5% of the entries forward exchanged hands.
This sale was different to the usual as it was the last for Brightwells auctioneer and Equine Director, Mr Terry Court, after 61 years of selling Welsh ponies and cobs. The bell rang with an eerie tone, denoting the end of an era. At 2pm precisely on the Sunday a shortlisted selection of 30 lots known as "Courty's Last stand" were offered in recognition of Mr Terry Court's contribution to the Sales of Welsh Ponies and Cobs.
From this galaxy of elite animals emerged the top priced animal of the Sale. The black seven-year-old stallion Thorneyside The Highflyer owned by John Gray fulfilled his name, reaching £20,000. He has already won at the in-hand class at the Royal Welsh show twice (2011 and 2012), but could now be destined for the driven world, as have many others from the Thorneyside Stud, with his high stepping, extensive, impressive, unbroken action. His breeding has that look of familiarity: sired by The Flyer, grandfathered by The Boss, he is line bred to highly influential Brynymor Welsh Magic. He now joins another great mover, Avonvalley Great Briton with Mr Mickey Morris from Brynmawr, Gwent.
Coming in joint second highest price at £10,000 apiece were another two from Courty's Last Stand - the ten-year-old black section C stallion Coathamdene Just-Dennis, Male Champion at the 2015 Royal Welsh Show, owned by J & A Gray. The eight-year-old chestnut Welsh Cob stallion Drogeda Valentino consigned by Sarah Hamer had four lengthy white socks which he knew how to use to full advantage. Valentino has previously been reserve overall section D Champion at Lampeter Stallion Show (2011), and second at the Royal Welsh Show as a junior stallion amongst other major wins; he went to the Waller family for riding.
Cacob bred animals, the stud based in Hereford, got the music going on several occasions as their stock reached good prices. The first was the eight-year-old dun stallion Cascob Golden Warrior by Danaway Flashjack, bred by Sarah Hamer (who also consigned Drogeda Valentino), but consigned by Steve Patch from North Somerset, being knocked down for £6,500. Next was Philippa Owens' bay filly, Cascob Red Ribbons, the first foal by the 2016 Royal Welsh Champion Welsh Cob, Cascob Brenin Dafydd. Although born on the 31st July, this was no setback.
Overall, animals with a purpose proved in demand. Those bred without struggled, particularly the Friday colts. This reminds us as breeders to consider the job we intend for the animal to fulfil when covering the mares, and only covering the very best to maintain this breed on high ground. Newly established connections with Japan offers an exciting future, with the hope of filtrating further afield, and across the world.