COUNTY Antrim’s Michael Gallagher, from Armoy, was top dog on price with a 6,200 guineas sale for another impeccably bred dog rising two-years-old at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual summer sale of working sheep dogs.

The eminent Irish breeder and trialist led the way with his August, 2016, black and white bitch, Vera, fully bred in Co Antrim, being by Allistair Lyttle’s Jim, last year’s Irish National Reserve Champion, out of Chris McNaughton’s prolific Mist.

Vera is a granddaughter of Littledale-based Ricky Hutchinson’s much celebrated International Reserve Supreme Champion, Sweep, while her dam is also mother to Flo, sold at Skipton last year for 9,500gns, the leading price in 2017. Mist is also mother to two other top-notch Michael Gallagher dogs – his 2017 World finalist, Val, and 2018 Reserve Nursery Champion, Bud.

Vera could become a mother herself, having been mated mid-June to Blake, from Welsh breeder Sophie Holt, whose partner is the renowned handler and trialist Kevin Evans. The Skipton top price performer returned to Ireland with Tony Kearins, another well-known handler from Dromard in Co Sligo, who has been trialling dogs for some 30 years and has twice represented both the Irish National and World teams. In Vera, Mr Kearins has another exciting trials prospect on his hands.

She will also work on his Mayo Blackface sheep flock.

In addition, Mr Kearins was in action in the unbroken pen when selling a brace of 2017 youngsters by Llangwm Targaret.

First up was his August-born tri-coloured bitch Fly, which made 520gns, bettered at 1,000gns by his July-born black and white dog, Bud, which travelled down to Derbyshire with Buxton’s D Sharratt.

The day’s second top price of 6,000gns fell soon after the start of the sale to Welshman Dewi Jenkins, of Tynygraig Farm, Tal-y-bont, Aberystwyth, with his 13-month-old black and white bitch, Bella, another first-rate Irish-bred bred dog by James McLaughlin’s 2016 Reserve Supreme Champion, Dan, out of Robert Hardman’s Morag, a full sister to Ricky Hutchinson’s 2017 International Supreme Champion, Jock. Bella found a new home north of the border with regular Skipton buyer Jock Sutherland, who again made the 1,000-mile round trip from his home at Sangormore, Durness, about as far north as you can get on the mainland.

Mr Sutherland also went to 2,800gns to claim Peg, a 30-month-old black and white bitch from Irish breeder Colm Doherty, of Quigley’s Point in Co Donegal. By Glencregg Silver, the 2014 International Supreme Champion from County Donegal’s James McGee, out of Co Derry-based Brian Quigley’s solid work bitch, Cindy, Peg already had four nursery wins and two open places under her belt.

Skipton’s final working sheep dog this year is on Friday, October 12.