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Not the record he wanted, but still a good day for Grace

English shearer Stu Conor staged a remarkable recovery from a cold and slower-than-expected start to break a lambshearing record on Saturday.

While he missed out on the ultimate goal of Irish shearer Ivan Scott’s World nine-hour strong wool lambs record of 867- and conceded it was never on already 18 off the target pace after two runs – he did set a British of 785, four more than the previous record 781 set by multiple Welsh champion Gareth Daniel in 2016.

With the temperature outside at just 4deg shortly before the 5am start, the 36-year-old Connor shore 171 in the two hours to breakfast, and followed-up with successive 1hr 45min runs of 150, 155, 156, and 153, which compared with Daniel’s runs of 181, 158, 151, 144 and 147.

Scott’s World record, also in 2016, comprised runs of 193, 170, 169, 169 and 166.

In 2009, Connor had shorn 201 in an opening run of a work-day blowout of 909 near the southern New Zealand township of Nightcaps, but it was not shorn with the judges and other rules set by the World Shearing Records Society which had four judges present for Saturday’s record at Fernhill Farm in England.

The record attempt was part of a fundraising effort supporting research for mitochondrial disease, from which Connor’s three-year-old daughter, Grace, died in April last year.

The Team Grace appeal has now raised about £60,000.

From Banbury, Oxfordshire, Connor said later: “It wasn’t the record I was hoping for but after a very cold start to the day it became apparent very quickly that the World record wasn’t going to be an option and I needed to focus on that British record.”

“After a change in the game plan and the appearance of the sunshine things started to line in place for this being an achievable task,” he said.

Among those he thanked afterwards was New Zealand gear guru Ants Bryant, who had travelled from Te Kuiti.

Bryant remains in the UK for another record attempt tonight(Tuesday), when English shearers Jon Roberts and Martin Howlett will target a two-stand strongwools record for eight hours. The record of 1068 was set by New Zealand shearers Coel L’Huillier and Kelvin Walker in January 2017, with individual tallies of 537 and 531 respectively.


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