A superfine Merino ewe which lost to her arch-enemy at Ballarat and Horsham has reclaimed ground after winning the superfine grand ewe title at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show in Bendigo.
Melrose Merino stud principal Warren Russell, Nurrabiel, said he was "over the moon" with the two-year-old stud ewe.
"She was beaten twice before by the Wurrook superfine ewe at Ballarat and Horsham, and we somewhat expected that to happen again here in Bendigo," Mr Russell said.
"It's very rewarding and to win any championship at Bendigo is very fulfilling."
It was the only Merino wool class at Bendigo to have grand ewe and ram titles awarded to Victorian studs, with the suprefine ram title secured by the Crawford family of Rock-Bank Merino and Poll Merino stud, Victoria Valley.
Mr Russell said his goal was to grow as much superfine wool as he could.
"The mother of this ewe was a Melrose ewe and she was sired by Nerstane 910," he said.
"The father of this ewe is a Melrose ram 044124 who has been a very good ram for us over the last three years."
The Melrose stud sells about 60 rams a year each October and managed to secure reserve superfine poll ewe during the stud.
"The stud was started by my grandfather in 1934," Mr Russell said.
"The superfine wool market goes up and down, but I think it has the greatest room for lift among all the micron categories."
Meanwhile, the award-winning Rock-Bank ram was the only sheep the Crawfords brought to the show.
"We had a few more in the shed but they were never going to beat this one and if they can't beat my best one, there was no point bringing them," Rock-Bank Merino and Poll Merino stud principal John Crawford said.
The ram's bloodlines go back to the "very dominant" and influential Walter family.
Its measurements were 16 micron, 2.1 standard deviation and 12.9 coefficient of variation, with a 120 millimetre staple length.
"It's a very low micron but he'll cut 14 or 15 kilograms easily," Mr Crawford said.
Superfine Merino judge John Freeman, The Fringe, Briagolong, said the class featured excellent sheep throughout all the classes.
"Some of these sheep were absolutely cracking and I was splitting hairs at the top end because of the quality of them," Mr Freeman said.
"I believe there is still a very good future in the superfine and ultrafine classes with the promise of finer and softer clothing through the market."
Mr Freeman said the champion ram and ewe were true reflections of the micron class.
"The ewe was a younger ewe but stood very proudly and had good, luscious wool on it, while the ram was an outstanding sheep in his class and stood out from the rest," he said.