It was a case of lightning striking twice for Minta stud, Mount Cooper, at the Adelaide ram sale on Friday, where there was an identical elite Poll Merino to the sale-topping Moorundie ram they bought from the Davidson family two years ago.
It had the same tag number and was bred from the same ewe in different years.
In 2018, the Hulls' sale-topping ram was found dead in the paddock only a fortnight after being bought. It, along with four ewes, had been struck by lightning.
So when he found out Geoff and Bernadette Davidson were offering a heavy-cutting half-brother - NE73 008 - at the Adelaide sale, Minta stud's Jesse Hull bid strongly to the sale's second-highest price of $70,000.
Mr Davidson said the 21.8-micron ram, which they had named 'Lightning' was the best ram that they had ever offered. But with two AI programs undertaken and lambs on the ground, they were willing to part with the 135-kilogram ram.
"It is fault-free and a great pure poll. A lot of top rams don't carry the double poll genes that he does" he said.
"The hardest part when you have a plainer type sheep is to make sure you don't lose wool cut - you can have both with this type of sheep. It has a good eye muscle and fat, which adds up to a pretty impressive package."
The sale-topper was ET-bred by pre-potent sire Moorundie NE73, which topped the 2017 Hamilton Sheepvention sale at $30,000, selling to Glenlea Park stud, Pinnaroo, and Boorana stud, Woorndoo, Vic.
NE73 left its mark on the sale, with seven sons or grandsons averaging $27,500.
The $70,000 ram's dam, a daughter of $50,000 PB1, was an eight-year-old ewe which raised twins in 2020 and had previously produced many top rams, including one sold to Argentina.
We saw it as a ram lamb - it was 70kg this time last year and we have been following its progress ever since.
Mr Hull and his wife Courtney bought 'Lightning', which had an eye muscle depth scan of 45 millimetres, in partnership with WA stud Wiringa Park, Nyabing.
"We saw it as a ram lamb - it was 70kg this time last year and we have been following its progress ever since," he said.
"It is a good type, long, stretchy with good nourishment, and structurally very good with a great topline."
Semen shares in 'Lightning' were secured by SA studs Brimanna, Bunyara and Jaburee studs, as well as Woodyarup stud in WA.
Among the other NE73 progeny in the 2020 Adelaide sale was the next highest price ram at $46,000, offered by Peter and Marianne Wallis, Pinnaroo.
The ET-bred Glenlea Park 190216, which weighed 119kg, sold to Ravecchia Poll Merino stud, Orange, NSW.
Mr Wallis said GP190216 had proven performance on both sides of its pedigree, being out of the first flush from a maiden ewe which had also bred naturally a stud reserve in the same year.
"Structurally it is as good a ram as we have ever bred and the wool quality was exceptional being so soft and free growing," he said. "It has gone into 36-inch rainfall, but it is a sheep that can handle those conditions."
Another NE73 son from Glenlea Park at lot 10 made $27,000 to Ridgway Advance stud, Bordertown.
Three of the four rams in Moorundie's sale team, which averaged $28,750, were NE73 sons.
Lot 20 sold for $18,000 to BR&KA Klowss, Arapiles Plains stud, Natimuk, Vic, while lot 21 - a 19.2M ram - was knocked down for $12,000 to the Vandeleur family, Rices Creek stud, Saddleworth and Tintinara.
Mr Davidson was pleased to see NE73 breeding consistently well.
"Used correctly, NE73 is breeding a modern type of sheep," he said.
"People are finding good early growth rates and with the mulesing debate, we have to breed sheep with a lack of breech wrinkle, but we also need to be producing wool."