This is quite a story. When I said in April 2012 that I would have Eppie ready for the Summer trials, this was met with disbelief. Eppie was born in November 2011 and so was only 5 months old when I decided she had the talent and temperament to be ready for the summer competition. Her early education passed without a hitch and she really enjoyed the fun of it all. We entered her for the English Setter Club Puppy Stake which was to be held on Eggleston Moor in Co Durham in mid-July when she would be just a fortnight past 8 months old. She was drawn against a big Gordon Setter puppy who absolutely dwarfed her, but she got on with doing her own thing and stayed out of the way when the GSD flushed birds. She was recalled for another run and again put in some nice quartering and was dropped to back when her bracemate pointed. In the second round she was drawn with James Dalton’s Pointer pup and went out and had a beautiful point on the edge of a fire. The Pointer pressurised by coming in quite close behind, but he was taken out of the way and she was asked to produce the covey which she did in singles and pairs quite efficiently. I was delighted. We came third behind Ted Filmer’s PD Hurstead Kebb Cotes – a big pointer dog running in his first Trial, but not far of his second birthday and Morris Getty’s PD Gentle Jim (who would go on to win the 2013 UK Champion Stake). It was a great debut.
Eppie went on to run in the Scottish puppy stakes, but luck eluded her and she began to realise she could take on more ground than I wanted her too, but it was early days. I was more than happy to see her independence developing.
She had a fantastic find in the first round of the Puppy Derby in the Scottish Borders, but met a hare for the first time when I allowed her a longer cast that was necessary in the second round and our challenge ended.
Back home I got the chance to resume basic schooling and when we went to a partridge trial being run on the mountain at Glennoo in Co Tyrone I was confident that she was back in the zone. I was really over the moon when she notched up several good finds and then gave a lovely display of quartering in the second round. She was awarded the stake by judges Declan O’Rourke and Paddy Collins. Her first Open win at just 11 months.
|20.07.12||3rd||Puppy||English Setter Club|
|B Darragh |
|07.10.12||1st||Open||Strabane & District S&P Club|
Early 2013 trials were not kind to her – scenting conditions throughout the circuits were not good due to a persistant cold east wind and she didn’t have the best of chances. At the SGA Open Stake at Lochindorb, she had a very nice find and then decided to head off to find some more by herself! Luckily this seemed to get it out of her system and she came out 2 days later a much more settled lady. Not long off the lead, she had a great find and then put in some nice quartering before drawing out and having a second find. In the second round she had done a few casts when she threw her head up, drew forward and set again. She had some pressure from her bracemate coming in from the left, but she stayed true to the point, moving beautifully freely to produce first the cock grouse and then after a little more work the hen. A very, very mature find. She’d done enough and was awarded the stake, thus giving her her GB FTCh title at a little short of seventeen months.
When it came to naming my E litter of ESs I had to name one after Mrs Eppie Buist. On seeing Gortinreagh Eppie entered in the Northern Counties Pointer and Setter Society’s Trial for the first time, Jim Howden (Mrs Buist’s partner in the famous Fearn kennel of pointers and formerly English Setters) remarked, “If that pup’s only half the character of her namesake, she’ll be some dog!”
Hopefully Gortinreagh Eppie is already some-way along the line of honouring the memory of that unique lady.
As the summer season 2013 progressed Gortinreagh Eppie added to her list of successes. She has become the first puppy to win the UK Derby Stake as a Field Trial Champion. On a very hot day on the lovely Muggleswick Moor in Co Durham, Eppie competed along side her 2 brothers and a younger half-sister as my team of 4 entrants. Other significant entrants included several pups bred from Jon Kean’s Italian import pointer – Lucaniae Charro and a number of Fearn pups bred by Jim Howden near Inverness. The judges were Alan Neill and Fiona Kirk and they gave the pups every chance to prove themselves. Unfortunately few survived and FTCh Gortinreagh Eppie came out on top having some super running and a great find on the left hand side of the beat. Mark Adams from Ballymena, Co Antrim was 2nd with his IRSD Ballydavid Spitfire bred by Joan McGillycuddy.
Eppie resumed her winning ways at the N I Pointer Club’s partridge Trial at Glennoo, Co Tyrone. This is the ground where she had her first Open Stake win at 11 months of age and she clearly hasn’t lost her touch as she began with some very nice running culminating in a find on a partridge which ran in front of her providing considerable temptation before she produced it. A couple of casts further on she had another find, this time on a tucked in bird – again produced it with ease. In her second round she had only had a first cast and then returned to the middle of the beat when she had a find on top of a turf bank. She was asked to wait for some time as her brace mate had a long workout on the right hand side of the beat. By the time she was asked to move forward the partridge had popped its head up on the ground 6 feet below the bank, presenting still more temptation, but she dropped down off the bank and took a step, sufficient to produce the bird – remaining totally steady. It was enough to clinch the victory. It was also satisfying that her aunt FTCh Ballyellen Cara secured second place as well.
|29.03.13||1st||Open||Scottish Field Trial Association|
|27.07.13||1st||Derby||IGL 2013 Kennel Club Derby|
|22.09.13||1st||Open||NI Pointer Club|
|20.10.13||3rd||Open||Strabane & District S&P Club|
Moorlough, Co Tyrone
2014 was a relatively quiet year for Eppie. Her Kennel mates Excel and Flyer with her dad Cody did more of the winning, but she was gaining in experience with every outing. She was awarded a CoM in a high quality stake on Slieveanorra in February when there was a great showing of grouse. A Diploma of honour recognised her efforts in the 2014 Champion Stake. she was pipped at the spot for 1st place at Craigs Moss by her Kennel mate Gortinreagh Flyer – whose game opportunity was just a little more tricky. She then was back to her imperious best on the pheasants at Murley Mt to take the win.
|22.02.14||CoM||Open||N I Pointer Club|
|01.03.14||4th||Open||Strabane & District S&P Club|
|10-11 Aug||DoH||Champs||SFTA 2014 K C Champion Stake|
|27.09.14||2nd||Open||N I Pointer Club|
Craig’s Moss, Glarryford
|05.10.14||1st||Open||Ulster Irish Red Setter Club|
|12.10.14||2nd||Open||Strabane & District S&P Club|
2015 would finish with Eppie being awarded the Tower Bird Trophy for best young pointer or setter aged 4 and under, such was her consistency throughout the year.
|28.02.15||2nd||Open||N I Pointer Club|
|07.03.15||1st||Open||Strabane & District S&P Club|
|04.08.15||1st||Open||Pointer Club of Scotland|
|06.08.15||1st||Open||Northern Counties P&S Society|
|26.09.15||3rd||Open||N I Pointer Club|
Craig’s Moss, Glarryford
|03.10.15||1st||Open||Strabane & District S&P Club|
|11.10.15||CoM||Open||Strabane & District S&P Club|
|18.10.15||1st||Open||Strabane & District S&P Club|
2016 saw Eppie launch the season with a winning start at Glarryford on a cold frosty day.
|20.02.16||1st||Open||N I Pointer Club|
Craig’s Moss, Glarryford
|04.08.16||CoM||Open||Pointer Club of Scotland|
|06.08.16||4th||Open||North of Scotland Gundog Assoc|
2017 saw Eppie continue with her winning ways.
|29.03.17||1st||Open||Scottish Gundog Association|
|English Setter Club|
|03.08.17||CoM||Open||Pointer Club of Scotland|
|10.08.17||4th||Open||North of Scotland Gundog Association|
2018 saw Eppie only appear at a few trials. I felt she had performed really well in the Breed Stake at Eggleston, running well and recording several clever finds – producing freely and immaculately steady, but she was awarded 4th. She then spent the rest of the summer at home and I brought her out to a pheasant/partridge stake in the Autumn to see if I could renew her qualification for the Champion Stake. She was definitely not match-fit but quartered immaculately and produced a great find on a running pheasant on a heavy turf bank – one which was determined to escape her, but given her wealth of experience, the pheasant didn’t have a chance and had to take wing, to which Eppie, of course, was totally steady. She gained 2nd spot enough to renew her Championship qualification for the next two years – job done!
|English Setter Club|
|23.09.18||2nd||Open||Strabane & District S&P Club|