For the first time in its history, the beef inter-breed title at Balmoral Show has been taken by the British Blue breed.
Taking the top honours was father and son team, James and Sam Martin of Newtownards, Co Down, with a five-year-old home-bred cow and calf at foot.
The cow, Springhill Golden Girl, is by Gitan Du P’Tit Mayeur and out of Springhill Country Girl. She was shown with her naturally born four-month-old bull calf at foot. The calf was by a home-bred bull, Springhill Geronimo.
The victory for James Martin comes after around 30 years showing at Balmoral, which has seen him take 10 breed titles, but never the allusive champion of champions.
Father and son keep 20 British Blues, having been one of the pioneers of the breed, along with herds of Limousins, Shorthorns, and Texel flock.
They will next travel to the Royal Highland with Springhill Golden Girl.
The inter-breed judge, Arwel Owen from Powys, said his champion was a ’testament to the breed’. "This five-year-old cow calved naturally in January and is at her peak. She’s a demonstration of what the breed has achieved so far."
Runner-up in the inter-breed judging was the commercial champion, J-Lo, a Limousin cross heifer from Gareth Corrae, Johnny Neal and Charles Bever, who make up JCB Commercials based at Newtownards, Co Down. It was the first time out for this December 2014-born heifer, which was bought by the group for £1,100 at last year’s Hilltown Christmas show and sale.
She is out of a pedigree Limousin sire and out of Limousin cross British Blue bull.
She’ll also head to next month’s Royal Highland show.
Third in the inter-breed judging was the Charolais champion, Strangagone Jones, from Robert McWilliams of, Co Londonderry. This January 2014-born bull was shown at Balmoral last year and picked up the male and reserve breed titles. Mr McWilliams has 10 Charolais cows and this was the first time he had collected the breed title at Balmoral.