HEXHAM Mart achieved a new centre record when it knocked down a home-bred heifer calf for £5,600 on Friday.

The Limousin cross that broke the bounds for a commercial beef animal was consigned by local breeder and nationally-renowned showman John Smith-Jackson, of High Town, Melkridge.

The seven-month-old had first appeared in the ring the evening before, during the mart’s highly regarded Special March Prize Show that drew potential bidders from all over the UK.

The 34-strong show calves category has been praised as the best ever entry of top quality calves in the show’s history.

Ultimately the John Davison Perpetual Millennium Trophy and accompanying £1,000 cash prize for overall champion went to an eight-month-old, steely blue Limousin cross bullock from Malcolm Telfer and Helen Claxton, of Newton High House, Stocksfield.

John Smith-Jackson took the reserve championship with a sharp and stylish red Limousin cross heifer that was just under a year old.

In contrast to the two calf winners, which were impeccably behaved in the show ring, the record-breaking beast of the sales ring wasn’t placed due to a slight upset at the halter.

Bidders were undeterred the next day, however, amid a collective recognition that they were looking at something special.

There was enthusiasm from the outset and the price quickly travelled past the mart’s previous record of £4,300 set in 2015.

The hammer finally fell in favour of Messrs Wilkinson and Marwood, of Leyburn, North Yorkshire.