Archive for Classification Results

Riverdane Ex Rosabel – Bred to Be Great

Riverdane Ex Rosabel recently scored EX97 points for her UK breeders and owners, Riverdane Holsteins. Photos: Jane Steel.

Riverdane Holsteins have now been involved in four EX97 classifications – including their latest and first homebred individual – a great granddaughter of global household name Thrulane James Rose EX97-2E-CAN 3*.

The classification result comes as her UK breeders, Mark and Susan Nutsford, along with their daughter, Jodie, start turning their attention towards their “Theatre of Dreams” sale in northwest England on Saturday, August 19.

Riverdane milk 200-head (and run 650 in total, including young stock), in addition to Celltech Embryo Transfer in the heart of Cheshire, 20 miles out of Manchester. They milk 100 of their high-production Holsteins through two robots, with the balance being milked through a 20/20 herringbone parlour. They farm 182 hectares (450 acres, mostly grass, maize and whole crop wheat). They have also been a part of a fourth EX97, who now calls Willsbro Holsteins home.

Riverdane Holsteins will sell 150 lots along with select embryo packages at their farm on August 19. This is the first time a public offering of this size has been offered from Riverdane and it has been packaged in a two-day event that promises to bring the European industry together. Graphic design: Hayley Boyd, Signature Graphics.

EX ROSABEL is nine years old with seven calvings and nine calves (courtesy of two sets of twins) behind her. She has a continuing lifetime production of 95,446kg of milk with a 4.5% fat percentage (May 2023). Nominated as an All-Britain finalist as a two-year-old, EX ROSABEL has been a popular addition in Riverdane’s show team her entire career. Several of her descendants will sell on August 19 in an offering that will catalogue 150-head – the biggest offering Riverdane has ever put forward.


US cowman Mike Deaver (pictured) was the judge who first elevated Thrulane James Rose to Grand Champion Holstein at the RWF in 2006. Photo: Dianna Malcolm.

Mark Nutsford said he had chased the family since first seeing James Rose storm the biggest shows in North America between 2006 and 2009.

= In 2008 Thrulane James Rose continued on to be Supreme Champion at both the World Dairy Expo (pictured) and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The popular entry was also All-Canadian and All-American Mature Cow in 2008 and 2009. Photo: Dianna Malcolm.

Mark said James Rose’s udder was the first thing that drew him to her in 2006 when US cowman and judge Mike Deaver first pulled the trigger on her career despite rich company at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (RWF) in Toronto.

At the time, Mike commented as he juggled the five-year-old’s promise against the reigning back-to-back champion, Quality BC Frantisco (who was 14 months fresh) and some other high profile expensive exponents of the breed that did not lighten the responsibility, nor the public pressure.

“Well…the trick to this job is finding how to get along with new friends and how to keep your old ones,” he told the crowd at the time.

“There is a lot of great cows out here and a lot of famous cows. It’s not easy, but I like pretty girls that look like they’re ready to work and don’t want to complain about it.”

Thrulane James Rose EX97-2E-CAN 3* (pictured at WDE in 2008) now has a great granddaughter who shares the same classification score. Photo: Dianna Malcolm.

With that, he put James Rose through to her first Grand Champion. At the time, she had passed from her Mennonite breeder (who was going to beef her because she wasn’t in calf) through Scott Brethet and Beni Faulmner (Mt Elgin Dairy Farms, Guelph) to Pierre Boulet, who took the chance on her being short-bred. A true rag to riches story.

In 2008 James Rose continued on to be Supreme Champion at both the World Dairy Expo (WDE) and the RWF (she was also Grand Champion Holstein at the RWF in 2006, 2008, and 2009). The year she took WDE’s Supreme title in 2008 she had to beat Quality-Ridge Stormi Hazel in a show which also included a record number of more than 2600 animals under judge Brian Carscadden (who walked 23km that day judging them).


By the time Mark saw Rose again at the WDE in 2008, she had become his healthy obsession.

“For sure, she’s the best cow I’ve ever seen in my life,” Mark said. “And, I haven’t missed many Madisons in the last 25 years, I can promise you.

“I was literally blown away by her frame that year. You could have got a wheelbarrow between her front legs, you really could. I couldn’t believe a cow could develop so much in the two years since I first saw her. In 2006 I couldn’t believe how good her udder was, but once she came together with her frame, she was incredible.”

He told Pierre Boulet that year that he “had to have embryos from her”. Although, the contract was signed, Rose never made those embryos.


However, Riverdane did secure eggs from James Rose’s Dundee daughter through Jamie Wood (Hays Genetics International, Ontario).

Mark and Susan Nutsford with their Grand Champion of the 2021 UK Dairy Day, Riverdane Absolute Springsteen and (left) Holstein UK’s Chairman Elect Wallace Gregg. Photograph: Richard Hodgson.

When Riverdane got an exciting Goldwyn daughter on the ground in the UK their “Rosabel” family was on the way. RIVERDANE GOLDEN ROSABEL-ET VG87 was only two points off being a max-scored two-year-old, and Mark remembers her as “a goodun”. However, after complications from a twisted caecum, they lost her on her second calf.

She did leave the chance of a legacy though – in her Explode daughter, RIVERDANE EX ROSABEL-ET.


It includes a double-up of Goldwyn, thanks to Goldwyn siring Shoremar James in addition to EX ROSEABEL’S dam.

Mark says what he loves about EX ROSABEL is her pedigree, and how that translates.

“ROSABEL has got very, very few faults, she’s so naturally open, dairy, clean-boned and she’s got that unusual combination of strength and silk. It starts at her muzzle, and it goes right the way through her,” he said.

Mark Nutsford (Riverdane Holsteins) appeared to absorb the pressure with ease when he judged the 2019 All-European Championship in Belgium. Photo: Zosia Hunt, The Bullvine.


He says James Rose was born in a herd that classified only their two-year-olds. It explains the fifth and six dams’ GP classification scores, and James Rose’s ability to shine.

“I remember back in the day when the All-American and All-Canadian two-year-old was Dupasquier Starb Winnie,” Mark said. “She was 83 points when she won those titles. If you had a GP two-year-old then, it was a helluva good heifer. It puts those scores into perspective.”

Mark says knowing that, meant there were no surprises for him in this family’s achievement.

“I know greatness doesn’t come from nowhere. It’s always got to be in that pedigree. If you look at the sire stack, they were all geat sires every one of them, and all from good cow families.

“James Rose wasn’t an accident. She was bred to be great. And, if you add Dundee x Goldwyn – a magic cross – and Explode, who was the No. 1 GTPI sire in America at the time (and who stayed up there for a long, long time), it brought us to this point where we’ve been able to breed an EX 97-point family matriarch at our farm with great milk and fertility.”

The rest of Riverdane’s classification results will follow this story…

Stay with Riverdane’s FB page as it starts to drill down into the sale offerings, and the events that promise to be well worth the trip to Cheshire on August 19.


Maternal Lineage



D2: PIERSTEIN DUNDEE ROSABEL-ET VG88 (x Regancrest Dundee)

D3: THRULANE JAMES ROSE BRC EX97 (x Shoremar James)

D4: THRULANE ROXY LEE BRC VG87 (x Comestar Lee)

D5: THRULANE LEADER ROSENA GP81 (x Comestar Leader)

D6: THRULANE PRELUDE ROSE GP81 (x Ronnybrook Prelude)


The EX97 cows that have called Riverdane home:

  1. Bassingthorpe Leader Dilys 10 EX97 – sold as an eight-year-old to Willsbro Holsteins
  2. Applevue Rudy Mattia EX97
  3. Bressingham Raider Pansy 2 EX97

Written by Dianna Malcolm, Mud Media

Sale logo – Hayley Boyd, Signature Graphics

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