Cattle of all shapes and sizes competed for a jackpot prize pool worth more than $1300 on the first day of the Royal Canberra Show.
The second annual event attracted 16 bulls and 19 heifers with a mix of small and large breeds displayed for judges Tim Reid of Roslyn, Sam Hunter of Yass, Tony Starr of Starrs Limousins, Fiona Sanderson of Boonah, Qld, and associate judge Michelle Fairall.
Kurmond Simmental breeders Shannon Lawlor and Eliza Babazogli proved quality was better than quantity when their 18-month-old heifer, Ausbred Caribbean Peal, secured the $665 heifer jackpot title off the back of an interbreed reserve champion junior heifer win at the Melbourne Royal.
It wasn't the only big win for the couple on the day. Their racehorse defied 40:1 odds to sprint home to victory at the same time their cattle judging was taking place.
Running a herd of six cows, Mr Lawlor established his Simmental herd in 2009 when he purchased a female in CorindaDowns Blackstump and hasn't bought in since.
His entire herd dates back to the rising 14-year-old foundation female who just last year had twins, which were on sold for a showing career with St Catherine's Catholic College, Singleton.
Ausbred Caribbean Peal was a granddaughter to the matriarch and was by SVS Captain Morgan and out of Ausbred Bambi.
She was in calf to 2019 Sydney Royal senior champion Simmental bull, Elite Nitrous, with plans to flush her.
"We had five calves last year from four cows and three of the four heifers got first, second, third and fifth in their class at Hawkesbury as nine-month-old heifers," he said.
All of the judges agreed the young female would grow into an impressive breeder.
"The extra length in this heifer is quite extraordinary, she has just got beautiful length right through and femininity; loads of it," judge Fiona Sanderson said.
Bungendore Angus breeder Danny Hill believed he had something special in his 11-month-old bull, Hillview Quigley.
He wasn't the only one to think it.
The LD Capitalist 316 son secured the $665 bull jackpot after catching the judges attention for his sire appeal, neck extension and length of body.
Mr Hill exhibited the bull with his wife Debbie who together run about 100 cows and utilise artificial insemination and flush programs to develop their herd.
Having received a reserve championship at Melbourne, the bull was bound for Sydney Royal.
"I thought he had something special and I think he proved it today," Mr Hill said.
"We have got a good lot of calves by Capitalist...he is the flavour of the month."
Brothers Edward and Hamish Maclure are fast establishing themselves as top led steer exhibitors after winning the grand champion hoof and hook steer or heifer at the Royal Canberra Show.
Exhibiting steers together since 2016, their latest win was even more significant as the first year showing their own home bred animals.
The evenness of their breeding was on show in the open export steer class where the Keajura Park steers stood side by side in the top three placings.
It was the winner of that class, Keajura Park Diesel, who went on to win the champion open hoof and hook steer and eventual grand champion title.
The 11-month-old Lim-Flex steer weighed 550 kilograms after 120 days on feed and was previously named champion at Crookwell show.
Judge Sam Hunter was impressed by the steer's versatility, stating he could have been pushed to 700 kilograms and still done the same impressive job.
"He is the type of steer we need in our industry," he said.
Hamish, 15, was shaking with nerves while watching Edward, 13, parade their steer to victory and said the win was even sweeter being their own animal.
Reserve champion open hoof and hook steer or heifer was awarded to St Johns College Dubbo in partnership with JAD Speckle Park with 390 kilogram heifer, Winnie.
It was the first of many accolades for the school that went on to win champion and reserve champion purebred non-kill led steer or heifer and champion and reserve champion trade non-kill led steer or heifer.
The champion school hoof and hook steer or heifer title was awarded to Macarthur Anglican School, Cobbitty, with a home bred steer named Scar.
The school exhibit about 25 steers each year at Royal Canberra Show and Sydney Royal Show and Upper Hunter Beef Bonanza in Scone with the majority of those animals sourced from other breeders.
While they only have two commercial Angus cows of their own, it was one of those consistent performers that mothered the winning steer, which was by a St Gregory's College bull.
The commercial cow, that was donated to the school by a parent about six years ago, has gone on to have three calves including last year's reserve champion carcase at Canberra.
"For a donated heifer she doesn't owe us any money," show team coordinator David Baker said.
"She is breeding on quite well. It's quite satisfying (to win with a homebred animal)."
The 10-month-old steer had been on a Bowral Coop ration since October.
"He had been to Kangaroo Valley show two weeks ago and he placed third in his class there but obviously with the extra weeks on feed, he has bloomed," he said.
The reserve champion hoof and hook school steer was won by Tumut High School with the 625 kilogram steer, Prince.
The school and open steer exhibits left the grounds after judging to be killed and judged on the hook.
In other results from the first day of judging, Emily Bate, Narooma, was awarded champion school parader while reserve was Mick Colley, Yanco.
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