Even the new owner admitted it was “an obscene amount of money” to pay after a bidding war at auction on Thursday led to a world record price for a sheep being set at almost £368,000 (dh1,785,450).
Sportsmans Double Diamond was sold by Cheshire breeder Charlie Boden at the market in Lanark, Scotland, to a consortium of three sheep farmers, who wanted the Texel ram lamb's genetics to add to their award-winning flocks.
He will now be shared by Hugh and Alan Blackwood’s Auldhouseburn flock in Muirkirk in Scotland; the Proctors flock in Lancashire, England, and Messrs Teward’s New View flock, in Darlington, England.
Jeff Aiken, stock manager at Proctors, said that the high price paid, which eclipsed the previous record of £230,000, was the result of a handful of top breeders seeing value in the ram's future offspring.
“It was split between three of us, but don’t get me wrong, it is an obscene amount of money to pay for a sheep,” Mr Aiken said on the BBC Today radio programme. “There’s only a small percentage of farmers that can afford to pay this kind of money and in that percentage a lot have other businesses behind them.
“It definitely should not be a reflection on the farming community. In fact, at the moment, the farming community should be congratulated for what they do day in, day out, especially during a pandemic, to provide food to our tables.”
Mr Aiken and his wife, Jen, have won numerous prizes, including the interbreed championship at the Royal Welsh Show in 2015.
He also gave a broad outline of what buyers are looking for when appraising a sheep.
“You start off with the commercial qualities, which is the size of the body of the sheep, the top line, the back side,” Mr Aiken said. “In the pedigree breed, you start looking at the smaller characteristics of the sheep: the hair, the colour, the shape of his head, the ear setting, his all-round characteristic.”
The buyers considered the six-month old lamb an investment that would add value to their flocks for years to come, a spokesman for the Texel Sheep Society told The National.
“This was so expensive because two groups of people wanted to buy it,” he said.
The sheep's official sale price was 350,000 guineas - a guinea being £1.05 with the 5p the auctioneer's commission on each pound.