IT started with a phone call from Elders Dubbo stock man Bevan Jolly that a ram would be coming to Bendigo that had to be seen to be believed.
"He said he had got Champion Poll Merino at Sydney Royal and he was good," Len Mathews from the newly formed Bulgandra Poll Meirno stud, Bulgandra, NSW said.
"When Bevan says a ram is good he is, but this one was better than expected."
The ram in question is an Alfoxton stud Poll Merino bred by Chris and Cindy Clonon, from Armidale, NSW, that yesterday brought the Australian sheep and wool show Merino ram sale to its peak and sold for $26,000.
Mr Mathews, the delighted buyer, admits the lofty price tag was a "few thousand more than he expected" but well worth the money for the new stud he set up last year after moving away from the succesful Borambil stud and passing it onto his son.
"You rarely see a ram of his class coming through," he said.
The Poll Merino ram, sired by The Grange 01-0924 and from dam Cromarty 01-0108, had a micron fleece of 17.6, standard deviation 2.2, coefficient variation 12.5 and comfort factor 99.8.
But what set the ram a part was his bare breech, whopping frame and bright white fine wool.
"I am definitely looking at bare breech and still further looking at getting some bare breech ewes – whether we like it of or not we've got to face these things," Mr Mathews said.
The sale-topping price rounds out an impressive year for the Clonan family, who also scored the top price of $18,000 at the Armidale ram sale this year.
"The fact that he was a big frame sheep with quality wool, a poll and a bare breech ram to go with it makes him a unique sheep," Mr Clonan said.
In the ram sale break down 70 of 102 stud Merino rams sold to an average price of $2731 and top of $26,000.
Warren McRae, from the Oakbank stud, St Arnaud, scored the second price of the day selling a 19.5 micron ram sired by East Mudalla for $11,000 to Darriwell and Towalba Merino stud through Elders, Dubbo, NSW.
* More reports from the Australian Sheep and Wool Show to appear in Stock & Land, July 23 edition.
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