Saturday 25 October 2014

Sahara continues to burn rivals with Virginia win

Published 28/08/2013 | 05:00

Neil Pepper from Dromore, Co Down with his prize winning cow Sahara Goldwyn Ambrosia 4 who won top honours in the Baileys Cow at Virginia Agricultural Show in Virginia, Co. Cavan
Peadar and Roisin Maguire from Ardee, Co Louth prepare to show their sheep in the Young Handler section at the Virginia Show
Shauna McElwaine (11) chats to her pony Voodoo as she prepares to show her in the miniature pony section

Back in May, Balmoral Show judge John Gribbon described her as "one of the best young cows in Europe" and last Wednesday, the Holstein second calver Sahara Goldwyn Ambrosia 4 once again smashed the opposition to become the Diageo Baileys Champion Cow at Virginia Show.

No stranger to plaudits, the daughter of Braedale Goldwyn out of Smiddiehill Toystory Ambrosia, was described by Virginia's judge Lynden Bustard as "the epitome of perfection for Holstein youthfulness".

The champion is owned by Co Down breeder Neal Pepper, who became only the second ever Northern Ireland breeder to win the top title in its 30-year history.

Ridgefield Dundee Portea, owned by well-known breeders Pat and Derek Frawley from Rathkeale, Co Limerick, took reserve champion in the prestigious Baileys competition. An honourable mention went to Dalevalley OTI Lulu, owned by Eugene and Sean Murphy from Waterfall in Co Cork.

The show, which attracted a crowd of 14,000 visitors on the day, included no less than 470 classes, as well as food markets, demonstrations and family entertainment.

There were hundreds of winners across all competitions at the 72nd annual Virginia Show. The Liffey Meats champion bullock went to Mark McGivern from Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. The Carnaross female champion weanling prize went to David Wharton from Birr in Co Offaly and the Carnaross male champion weanling was owned by Saoirse Carry-Lynch from Kells, Co Meath.

Speaking at the show, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said the Baileys Champion Cow competition was a highlight of the show and showcased the unique partnership between Baileys and 1,500 carefully selected milk suppliers.

He added that the government's Food Harvest 2020 ambition of increasing the value of exports from the Irish agri-food sector to €12bn by the end of the decade would directly benefit farm families in regions such as the northeast.

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