There is life in the old dog yet, is an apt description of Peter and Gina Sutherland’s stunning win in the murray grey section at Royal Melbourne.
The Thologolong breeders clinched the breed supreme exhibit with a very handy cow and outstanding bull calf at foot.
For decades the stud was at the forefront of murray grey breeding; that’s understandable given the breed was established on the Sutherlands’ property in the Upper Murray.
Countless champions have been bred by the stud however Mr Sutherland believes it is at least 15 years since success came their way.
Indeed it is 55 years since he led the first champion (a cow) bred by his family in the fledgling stud at the breed’s first showing at Melbourne.
This year’s success is the result of a hunch by Mr Sutherland who reckoned his cow, Thologolong Doris H1, could click with outstanding bull Balmoral Elation.
Elation was crowned supreme exhibit at a Melbourne Royal some years ago gaining the plaudits of 11 of the 12 participating judges.
“I managed to find some semen from this bull held in storage by a friend,” said Mr Sutherland who added when the bull calf dropped he could see his potential.
“He was a standout.”
The calf’s development was beyond Mr Sutherland’s wildest dreams, which prompted him to have a crack at the Royal.
It took four months to break Doris in to enable her to be led successfully and safely in the showring.
“It was a big ask but I remembered many years ago the Hawkins family, from the now-dispersed Woolamia stud at Finley, pulled an outstanding cow from the paddock, prepared her and she took supreme angus broad ribbon at Sydney Royal,” he recalled.
“Nothing ventured nothing gained.”
Mr Sutherland said family members had taken his team of three down to Melbourne and returned the team back to Thologolong in a large tandem trailer.
He added costs were killing the showing of cattle as if he had relied on stock transport he would have had to cough up around $2000. They intend to keep the outstanding calf and in time market his semen.