AFTER only eight years of on-property sales, Rathmona Merino stud hit the jackpot last week, reaching a top price of $1150 to record its best sale to date. With an extra 22 rams on offer this year, including six 1999 drop Poll Merinos, the average price rose by $106 at the well-attended sale, which ended with a 91 per cent clearance under the hammer and the remaining nine rams sold after the sale resulting in a total clearance. Rathmona principal Peter Ackland was extremely pleased with the result, particularly as it was the stud's "best result so far". "We've had a higher clearance this year and, along with our regular clients returning, we've also got a lot more new ones this year," he said. The quality fine-wool bloodlines, which have descended from Merryville and Cranmore Merinos, were an obvious drawcard for buyers with Wesfarmers Dalgety Moora Billdean, Gilbert & Griffiths agent Steve Gilbert saying "it was obvious buyers were chasing the finer end of the wool market". The $1150 top was paid by regular clients EH & BH Cocking & Son, Wannamal, who were drawn to the ram for its quality of wool, boasting a 15.7 micron and 100 per cent comfort factor. Along with son Greg, Ted Cocking, who has been breeding fine wool sheep since buying from Rathmona for the first time around five years ago, said "the ram was just what we wanted" to put over the 1500 breeding ewes they farm at Wannamal. They also bought another four low micron rams at $750, $950, $1050, and $1000. Regular Rathmona clients RL & AF Joyce put together the largest team on the day, buying 10 rams to a top of $900 with an average of $570. DL Hooton also put together a handy team of nine Merino sires, buying one 17 micron, 100pc CF sire at $500 with the remaining rams all bought for $400. DV & JE Broun also put together a strong team of eight Merino rams, paying a top of $900 for a 16.8 micron ram with an impressive 99.9pc CF. RK & AM Mather, Moora, were strong buyers again this year, buying seven rams at $900, $800, $600, $500, $450, $400 and $300. With local buyers out in force, BR & BJ Smith, Moora, also bought well, taking home five Merino sires at $900, $800, $700 and $500 (2). Six 4-tooth Poll Merino sires were also offered at the sale, and, while four were passed in during the sale, one sold for $450 to GD & SA Johnson, Piawaning, with another selling to H Renk & Son for $400.