Saturday 24 February, 2024

Welsh Winter Fair win for Phoenix

Familiar names took the top honours in the cattle and pig judging at this years Royal Welsh Winter Fair, but there were first time wins in the sheep lines

clock • 6 min read
Welsh Winter Fair win for Phoenix

Fresh from its reserve championship win at LiveScot just days earlier, the Limousin cross heifer, Phoenix, went one better and took the overall prime cattle championship at the Welsh Winter Fair for owners Stewart and Lynsey Bett, Stirlingshire.

The March 2022-born heifer, which was purchased from breeder Balfour Baillie, Orkney, at Thainstone Spectaluar last year, is by Redriver Powerful and out of a British Blue cross Limousin cow.

Overall cattle champion, Phoenix, from Stewart and Lynsey Bett, Stirlingshire

Phoenix is no stranger to the showring at the Welsh Winter Fair, having taken the reserve baby beef title there last year. Other notable wins last year included commercial calf champion at LiveScot and reserve baby beef at AgriExpo. It has also placed second in its class this year at Agri Expo and the Royal Welsh summer show.

In the post-show sale, the winning heifer was knocked down to a maiden bid of £7,000 from Mark Webster, Rhyl.

Reserve cattle

The reserve overall title went to the steer champion, Jack In The Box, from another Scottish exhibitor - Andrew Ireland, Ayrshire.

This May 2022-born steer is by the British Blue sire, Hallfield Nixon, and out of a Limousin cross dam. It was bred by Michael Allinson, Barnard Castle, and bought by Mr Ireland, who is a farrier by trade, out of Barnard Castle market earlier this year.

Reserve cattle champion, Jack In the Box, from Andrew Ireland, Ayrshire

The steer was no stranger to the Royal Welsh showground having been shown at this year's summer show, where it picked up the reserve steer title in the commercial section. It was also second in its class at the Royal Highland Show, and won its class at LiveScot.

In the sale, the steer made £5,200 and was knocked down to G.R Evans Butchers, Corwen.

Reserve heifer

Runner-up in the heifer judging was Cothi TikTok, a pedigree Limousin from Richard Wright, Somerset. This June 2022-born heifer was bred by J.M. and A.M. Lewis and is by Mereside Oscar and out of Powerhouse Hella. It weighed 689kg and went on to sell for £11.50/kg.

Reserve steer

Reserve steer was the Limousin cross, Johnny Cash, from Tony Ponsonby, Anglesey. This one was bred by the Robertson family, Newton of Logierait. Weighing in at 646kg it went on to sell for £4.30/kg.

Baby beef

In the baby beef judging, the championship title went to Berwyn and Elin Hughes, Ceredigion, with their home-bred heifer, One Off.

Baby beef champion, One Off, from Berwyn and Elin Hughes, Ceredigion

This nine-month-old heifer is by Limousin stock bull, Whitemoss Noble, and out of a British Blue cross Limousin dam. The Hughes family had previously won prime heifer and steer titles at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair, but this was their first overall title in the baby beef section. The heifer went on to make £4,500.

Reserve in the baby beef judging was Super Ted, a home-bred April-born British Blue cross steer from E.H. Pennie and Son, Powys. This one later realised £2,400.

Sheep pairs

There was a new name on the trophy in the sheep judging, with the overall championship award going to a pair of home-bred pedigree Blue Texel lambs from Chris Davies, Powys.

Champion sheep, a pair of Blue Texels, from Chris Davies, Powys

The prize winners, which had earlier topped the continental section, are out of home-bred ewes from Mr Davies' 35-ewe Beaconsview flock.

Reserve sheep

Reserve in the sheep judging went to Tirion Griffiths, Denbighshire, with a pair of pedigree Beltex lambs. These weighed in at 91kg and 97kg and had earlier topped the butcher's weight section.

The pair had previously been shown at the Angelsey Winter Fair, where they had won the overall sheep pairs title, but this marked Mr Griffiths' best result to date at the Welsh Winter Fair.

Reserve sheep champions, a pair of Beltex, from Tirion Griffiths, Denbighshire

The lambs are both by Cromwell Felix, which was bought out of Carlisle five years ago, and are out of ewes from Mr Griffiths' 40-strong Beltex flock, which are run alongside 1,500 commercial ewes.


It was clean sweep for the Beltex in the carcase hall with the breed winning every class and topping the top awards.

The winning single was a lamb that weighed 38.6kg live and 21.7kg deadweight from Rebecca Armstrong, Herefordshire. It had graded E3L. In the post-show sale, it made £650.

Reserve and taking the ‘best in Wales' title was a E3L carcase from Bryn Davies, Carmarthenshire, which weighed 38.2kg live and 21.1kg dead. This one made £600 in the post-show sale.

Taking the top spot in the pairs competition was Michael Carter, Gloucestershire, with a pair of Beltex cross Dutch Texels which weighed 23.6 and 23.1kg deadweight and both graded at E3L.

Winning lamb carcase pairs from Michael Carter and family, Gloucestershire

Reserve was Bryn Davies with a E3H 40kg to 22.3kg and a E3L 36.8kg to 20.6kg.


The prizes in the pig shed were dominated by H.D. and E.M. Roberts, Gwynedd, who's four Welsh pigs took champion and reserve in the singles and pairs judging.

The family, who have recently reduced numbers to six Welsh sows, have won numerous championship prizes with their home-bred Welsh pigs at the Welsh Winter Fair.

The champion pair went on to sell for £960 a pig to Tom Hughes Butchers, Anglesey, while the runners-up sold at £400 a pig to the show judge, Paul Tucker, Swansea.

For more from all the major Winter Fairs and Christmas sales visit the Shows and Sales hub.

Rib of beef

For the first time, a rib of beef competition was held at the Welsh Winter Fair. It was won by Robin and Jo Ransome, Knighton, Powys, with a four-rib of pedigree Welsh Black beef from their Blackmixen herd.


The 6.8kg rib, which was prepared by Gareth Mills, Llandewi, was taken from a home-bred 29-month-old steer raised on herb rich pastures. It went on to sell to the judges, father and son team; Arwyn and Steve Morgans of Morgans Family Butchers, Builth for £230.

Selling underway in the carcase hall at the Welsh Winter Fair



Overall (Judge, G. Scott, Linlithgow and J. Wareham, Sussex) Supreme and heifer, S. and L. Bett, Phoenix (Limousin cross); reserve, and steer, A. Ireland, Jack in the Box (British Blue cross); res. heifer, R. Wright, Cothi TikTok (Limousin); res. steer, T. Ponsonby (Limousin cross).

Baby beef (J. Davies, Warwickshire) Sup., B. and E. Hughes, One Off (Limousin cross); res., E.H. Pennie, Super Ted (British Blue cross).


Overall (R. Adams, Glamorgan) Sup., C. Davies (Blue Texel); res., T. Griffiths (Beltex).

Pure hill, upland and Welsh Mountain (R. Adams) Sup., C., A. and R. Joseph (Badger Face Welsh Mountain); res., I.T Davies and Son (Brecknock Hill Cheviot).

Native (R. Adams) Sup., D. Jerman (Dorset Horn); res., C., A. and R. Joseph (Badger Face Welsh Mountain).

Cross-bred (G. Roberts, Gwynedd) Sup. and res., D. Jerman.  

Butcher's weight (J. Whiteford, Carlisle) Sup., T. Griffiths (Beltex); res., R. Garth and S. Priestley (Beltex).

Native hill and upland (H. Beavan, Abergavenny) Sup., I.T. Davies and Son (Brecknock Hill Cheviot); res., N. Dillon (Brecknock Hill Cheviot).

Lowland (G. Roberts) Sup., D. Jerman (Dorset Horn); res., Messrs Wakeham-Dawson and Harmer (Coloured Down).

Welsh Mountain (S. Williams, Glamorgan) Sup., C., A. and R. Joseph (Badger Face Welsh Mountain); res., G. Samuel (Tregaron Welsh Mountain).

Continental (J. Whiteford) Sup., C. Davies (Blue Texel); res., E.F. Gittoes and Son (Beltex).

Lamb carcase single (N. James, Monmouthshire) Sup., R. Armstrong (Beltex); res., B. Davies (Beltex).

Lamb carcase pairs (N. James) Sup., M. Carter (Beltex cross Dutch Texel); res., B. Davies (Beltex).


Pairs (P. Tucker, Swansea) Sup. and res., H.D. and E.M. Roberts (Welsh).

Single (P. Tucker) Sup. and res., H.D. and E.M. Roberts (Welsh).

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