Sheep-shearing world record smashed

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Media captionRecord-breaking farmer shears sheep every 44 seconds

A sheep-shearing world record has been broken with thousands of people watching around the world.

Matt Smith, 32, sheared 731 ewes in nine hours at a farm in Cornwall to beat the previous record of 721.

The event has made headlines around the world and was live streamed to audiences in New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Iceland and Ireland.

It was the first sheep-shearing world record attempt in the northern hemisphere.

At one point Mr Smith, originally from New Zealand, was tackling the sheep at a rate of one every 36 seconds - well ahead of the 45 second target.

Image caption This was the first world record sheep shearing attempt in the northern hemisphere

A team of masseurs were on hand to ease the strain on Mr Smith's back during breaks at the event at St Clether, Launceston.

Steve Matthew, a judge from the World Shearing Council, said the attempt required huge "physical and mental strength".

"This is the Everest of the sheep-shearing world," he said.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption The New Zealand High Commission tweeted about the world record attempt

Farm security firm Agricamera have provided live online coverage, with between 300 and 500 people watching at any one time.

Agricamera's Jake Withecombe said: "We didn't quite anticipate it being as popular as it has turned out to be."

Mr Smith began his attempt at 05:00 BST, took four breaks and finished at around 17:00.

The previous record of 721 sheep in nine hours was set by Rodney Sutton in 2007.

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