IT was a case of Déjà vu at the 2022 Armidale Merino Ram Show on Tuesday as Mudgee stud Grathlyn took out the supreme exhibit for the second consecutive year.
Much like last year, the Rayner family's supreme exhibit-winning ram rose through the ranks of a competitive ultra superfine category to finish atop the 66 rams entered from across the state.
Despite entry numbers being slightly lower than last year, judges Matthew Coddington, Roseville Park Merinos, Dubbo, and Richard Chalker, Lachriver Merinos, Darby's Falls, had the tough task of sorting through the quality rams on display.
However, the March-shorn son of former Bendigo 2018 supreme exhibit Conrayn Thor, out of 2016 grand champion ewe Grathlyn 14-39, was able to hang on for victory ahead of the champion fine wool entry from Harden stud Demondrille, which was named reserve grand champion.
Weighing 130 kilograms on Tuesday, the supreme exhibit had a 15.5 micron fibre diametre, a 15.7 per cent coefficient of variation, a comfort factor of 99.6pc and a 2.6-micron standard deviation.
When announcing the result, judge Matthew Coddington said it was tough deciding between the different category winners.
"Overall, when it came to the Grathlyn ram, it was his balance, his size for his wool type and his structural correctness that got him across the line," Mr Coddington said.
"In the end, he weighed six kilograms heavier than the reserve grand champion and he is 2.5 micron finer, so when you bring it back to a commercial aspect, those sort of traits helped us rank him on top.
"We also loved the functionality of him as well."
Grathlyn stud principal Max Rayner said this year's Armidale Merino Ram Show was this ram's first time on the show circuit.
"Like many of us, he hasn't been able to get out due to COVID, but it was really pleasing to see him do so well here," Mr Rayner said.
"This ram's sire is a Conrayn, which is run by Janie and her father Mort, who have been wonderful friends of ours and have bred great sheep.
"We couldn't beat that ram and no one else could either, so we thought the next best thing was to use him, which means that this supreme exhibit is out of a grand champion and by a grand champion.
"I think he was always destined to be a grand champion and he didn't let us down."
The Davis family, Demondrille stud, Harden, exhibited the champion pen of three rams.
Ultra superfine: Grathlyn. Reserve: Bocoble.
Superfine: Shalimar Park. Reserve: Conrayn.
Fine: Demondrille. Reserve: Alfoxton.
Fine-Medium: Alfoxton. Reserve: Airlie.
August shorn: Arakoon. Reserve: Grathlyn.
Poll: Alfoxton. Reserve: Airlie.
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