UNDERLYING commercial demand generated a record sale average ‹ $4881 for 155 registered bulls sold in an 87 per cent auction clearance ‹ at the Shorthorn National Show and Sale, Dubbo Showgrounds, last week. It was the breed's highest average since 1994 (when 136 bulls averaged $4824) and a hefty $548 up on last year's result when 169 bulls sold to a $28,000 ceiling. Three "top shelf" stud sires sold for more than $20,000, topping at $24,000, and seven unjoined stud heifers sold the previous evening to a $10,500 ceiling and $4365 average. While Dubbo remained the venue for the breed to exchange its top seedstock, it was the strength of the commercial sector which pitched the record average ‹ a contrast to the Dubbo National Poll Hereford bull sale the week before. The first and last bulls in the ring were knocked down to commercial buyers with bids at $4250 and $4000, respectively, with as many as 15 buyers taking home three bulls or more ‹ not to mention the 13 bulls at a $4365 average knocked down to the South Australian operation, T and R Pastoral, Wertaloona Station, via Yunta. In the price breakdown, 51 bulls sold at $3000 and less; 68 bulls between $3001 and $5000; 26 bulls in the $5001-$10,000 range; and 10 bulls were knocked down with bids of more than $10,000. Topping the sale was Highrange Irresistable T2 ‹ the third last bull sold ‹ presented by the Mittagong-based Matthew Walker, Highrange stud. Weighing a mammoth 1100kg, the 26-month-old Highrange Fascination Q11 (by Spry's World Class) son was knocked down by Elders auctioneer Paul Dooley to the $24,000 bid of Chas Hawkins, Lone Pine stud, Morundah. Mr Hawkins was bidding on the three-way syndicate of JD McLarty Pty Ltd's Lone Pine stud; Ron and Peter Falls and family, Malton stud, Finley, and former New Zealand-based Pakaraka stud of David Holmes, now situated near Wagga Wagga. Losing bidder was Gillian and David Leeds, Broome stud, Jerilderie. Placed second in his class to the grand champion, Fascination Q11 had scanned a 137sq cm eye muscle area (EMA) and 17/10mm of fat at the rump/rib sites respectively. Earlier in the sale, new Shorthorn breeders Richard and Julie Anderson, Inverary stud, Millmerran, Qld, outlaid $33,000 on two foundation stud sires. First the bid to $21,000 to secure Moombi Warlord T56, weighing 885kg at 21 months, offered by Lester Job and family, Moombi stud, Cumnock. Not shown (because Lester Job was the judge), the Marrellan Wallet son (by Royalla Ultra), from a Waukaru Prime Minister (ImpUS) female, had scanned a 119sq cm EMA with 16/9mm of fat. He also had the figures of +2.7 for EMA (breed average +1.5); +4.3 for birthweight (+2.3); +7, milk (+3); +23, 200-day growth (+14); and +41, 600-day growth (+26), on Group Breedplan. The second Inverary purchase, at $12,000, was the Moombi Nonstop N63 son, Nombi Park Yenta, weighing 940kg at 25 months (14/10 fat), offered by Owen Jerry, Nombi Park stud, Mullaley. The team leader from the draft of five bulls (which averaged $7800) from Wentworth studmaster Steve Withers, Springwood stud, sold for $20,000 to northern NSW breeders, David and Ian McDouall, Dunbeacon stud, Upper Horton. The powerful roan, Springwood Station Brutus, weighed 975kg at just two years (122sq cm EMA, 18/11mm fat), and was sired by the multi-trait leader, Broughton Park Baron 3, from the Moombi Beef Baron L55 daughter, S. Heidi 14. Placed third in his class, the 8.2 frame score bull had the figures: +4.1, birthweight; +2, milk; +19, 200-day, and +41, 600-day growth. Gordon and Pip Wynn, Wenoona stud, Dubbo, sold their dual Sydney Royal Show (junior in 1999, grand in 2000) champion, Wenoona Enigma T1, with the $18,000 bid of SA commercial cattleman, Adrian Goode, Wangolina Props, Kingston. The 26mo Moombi Star Baron Q16 son, weighing 1055kg (132sq cm EMA,16/9mm fat) was not shown. Broughton Park stud, of Glen Trengrove and family, Spalding, SA, attracted $18,000 for its second-placed Broughton Park Attraction T57, a Royalla Universal Attraction (ET) (AI) son weighing 1030kg at 26 months. Boasting figures in the top 5pc of 1998-drop calves for milk (+9), growth, EMA (+7.3), scrotal (+1.3) and retail beef yield (rib fat, -2.8/rump fat -3.2), the red bull sold to Nicolle family, Shamak stud, Milang, SA. Victorian breeder, Ray Brook and family, Eloora stud, Cavendish, sold their two Marellan Vagabond sons to return $27,000. Goff and Mary Morgan and family, The Grove stud, Condamine, Qld, paid $14,000 for the second-placed Eloora Jurassic (AI) (ET), from a Byland Instant Spotlight (ImpUS) female. The growthy two-year-old had figures: +6.2, birth; +4, milk; 600-day, +52; and +3.2, EMA. SA commercial operation AJ and PA McBride, "Nepowie", Naracoorte, outlaid $13,000 for Eloora Juggernaut (AI), the class winner bred from a Kelso Hot Shot L22 daughter. The junior champion bull, Glengyron Dun R Replay (P), exhibited by the Ken Tippett and family, Glengyron stud, Creswick, Vic., sold for $13,000 to Kim and Liz Williams' Polldale stud, Dubbo. Selling agents were Elders Ltd and Wesfarmers Dalgety with Andy McGeogh, Paul Dooley, Mike Wilson, Garth Hughes and Kevin Norris as auctioneers.