A glamour shearing record, once the domain of New Zealand's best, has been broken in the UK for the second time in five years by a shearer averaging one lamb every 37.16 seconds over nine hours.
Oxfordshire shearer Stu Connor completed the record attempt early today (NZST) with a new record of 872, five more than the previous record of 867 set by Irish shearer Ivan Scott in July 2016.
Both records were set at Trefrank Farm, St Clether, Cornwall, managed by Trefrank farmer, ewe-shearing record holder and former Northland and Hawke's Bay shearer Matt Smith.
It was the fourth world record attempted and set on a Romney flock established on the property by Smith and wife Pippa for shearing record purposes.
The flock was established on the recommendation of Smith's brother, former world champion Hawke's Bay shearer Rowland Smith, who set an eight-hours ewe-shearing record on the property in 2017.
Starting at 5am in the UK (Wednesday 4pm NZST), Connor got the start he wanted when he matched Scott's opening run to breakfast with 193 in 2 hours.
He then shore successive 1hr 45min runs of 168, 171, and 172, twice breaking a record for the most lambs in the standard 105-minutes run, and with the target well in sight came home with 168 in the last run to 5pm.
He thus averaged the lambs at 37.156 seconds each - caught, shorn and dispatched - or almost 97 an hour, in a big-step-up from an attempt in 2019, in which Connor fell more than 80 short, but settled for an England record of 785.
It was an emotional end, with Connor dedicated to breaking the record in memory of daughter Grace who died from mitochondrial disease at the age of 3.
He and wife Kira also committing themselves to fundraising for research and the support of families impacted by the disorder.
At a pre-record wool-weigh on Tuesday, a shear of 20 lambs from the flock averaged 1.037kg of wool each, comfortably above the World Sheep Shearing Records Society's minimum requirement of 0.9kg for the record to be allowed to go ahead.
The record was overseen by three judges at the venue, and chief referee Paul Harris linked in via Zoom technology from his home near Amberley in North Canterbury.
The record was last set by in New Zealand by Dion King who shore 866 in 2007, in what was then the third new record in the new millennium.
Rodney Sutton shore 839 in 2000, and Justin Bell shore 851 in 2004.