The Press

Alpaca breeders celebrate

- Tim Cronshaw

Ohoka breeders Chris and Liz Strack believe the feat of their prized alpaca sire Stoneleigh Valentino to win a fourth national supreme title is unmatched around the world.

The white male huacaya bred and owned by the Stracks was the last alpaca standing when the ribbons went out for the supreme champion title at the final of the third day of the Alpaca Associatio­n New Zealand’s national show last weekend at Hamilton.

With nothing left to prove the Stracks are putting the nearly six-year-old Valentino not quite out to pasture, but assigning it to breeding duties.

Chris Strack said the reason they were so thrilled by Valentino’s victory was that they understood that the winning of four supreme championsh­ips at a national level was a world first.

‘‘As far as we can ascertain Valentino is the only alpaca to have won four national supreme championsh­ips in the breed/halter [classes] in the world. We are also unaware of any other alpaca in the world that has won its age group championsh­ip in every age group at a national level.’’

Valentino continued to grow a top quality, fine fleece at its age which strongly influenced judges as show results were mainly based on fleece quality with the animal’s body structure another important criteria.

As well as winning the supreme title the male had won its age group championsh­ip at every national show entered – as a junior in 2010, intermedia­te in 2011, adult and senior in both 2013 and 2014 and finally as the mature champion this year.

‘‘We never thought he would get another supreme ribbon,’’ said Strack. ‘‘We had hoped that he might be able to win his age group championsh­ip as a mature alpaca which would mean he had won every age group championsh­ip and we are unaware of any alpaca in New Zealand or Australia which has done that at a national level.’’

The Stracks had more to celebrate after internatio­nal judges Peter Kennedy and Lyn Dickson rewarded Valentino’s progeny.

Among other titles collected by the small Stoneleigh stud, four of its junior males won first, second and third in the junior male white class and collected first in the junior male light fawn class, champion and reserve champion junior male and champion light fawn.

Valentino and its son Stoneleigh Icon, seven months old, were brought forward from the line up of champions with another two alpacas for the final considerat­ion of the supreme champion award.

Strack said the performanc­e of Valentino’s sons in the competitiv­e white and fawn classes had made his year and showed their breeding programme was on track.

‘‘Now we are confident his progeny can take up the mantle and continue his good work ... In a few year’s time if something else comes up on the horizon that is cleaning up the shows then we might bring Val out and put him to the test, but in the meantime we will put him out to stud duties.’’

The stud has about 12 top class breeding females among a herd of about 70 alpacas. Valentino’s dam had previously won national senior champion female and mature champion female titles and its sire Bellisimo was an Australian supreme champion.

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 ??  ?? Stoneleigh Valentino’s feats in the show ring are unmatched in the alpaca world.
Stoneleigh Valentino’s feats in the show ring are unmatched in the alpaca world.

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