Gortinreagh Excel is the full litter brother of FTCh Gortinreagh Eppie. They were born on 5 November, 2011 (FTCh Ballyellen Cody x Gortinreagh Daisy). Excel has a different style to his sister but every bit as much game awareness. Excel had his debut in the GB Puppy Derby Stake at the end of July, 2013 but a tucked in bird flushed from an earlier covey put paid to his chances after only a short time. However it was not long before his luck changed. He competed in the Scottish Field Trial Association Puppy Stake at Tollishill estate in the Scottish borders the following week. This stake was characterised by an abundance of birds and an equal abundance of hares! This inevitably proved to be too much temptation for many of the pups. However Excel managed to resist the temptation and put in a couple of very nice runs as his brace-mates succumbed to the various problems. In round 2 he added a very nice find on a covey on the left of the beat to his very nice running from earlier. This secured the win for him under judges Michael Houston and Billy Darragh.
He competed well in the Puppy and Novice Stakes at the Scottish Gundog Association’s Trial at Glenlivet 2 days later, but despite good running had no chance on game.
Moving on to the Pointer Club of Scotland he was extremely unlucky in the Puppy Stake, as he had a really good find in very broken ground in Round 1. Conditions were very difficult as there was very little wind (lots of midges though!) and what little wind there was was swirling. In Round 2 he had completed a couple of casts when he winded game and was dropping to point, but unfortunately had got just a little too close and the birds flushed before I could claim.
At the Novice Stake at Cawdor, he again showed his class and excellent game-finding ability. He had a good run in round 1 with no birds. The day was threatened by fog which lifted and fell throughout the morning. For Round 2 the keeper took us to new ground and Excel, drawn in the first brace, drew onto point on the upward slope of a hill. He worked out a considerable distance producing his covey with great style. It was enough to secure the win for him – his second of the circuit.
Back home Excel has continued to run well. He is becoming much more competitive and is really taking on the ground. I knew he was running well within his capabilities but as his confidence has grown his speed has increased and the width of his beat has significantly stretched.
He’s had good runs in all the Trials, but luck hasn’t smiled on him – at least not until the Ulster IRS Club Trial on Grouse and Pheasant on Murley Mt on the first Sunday in October. There was a strong breeze blowing as this Trial began. Dogs were finding the pheasants but the wind seemed to be hyping the dogs up and steadiness was not always all it should be. Excel was drawn early in the stake and after a couple of casts he set solidly. When asked to work out, he moved right up to where the pheasant could be seen squatting in the heather. The dog virtually had one front leg either side of the bird before it decided to flush. Excel remained motionless, quite a feat for a dog not yet 2 years old on his first pheasant. He ran well when re-released and again in Round 2 and I was delighted to have him declared the winner at the end of the Trial. Excel has joined his sister Eppie in winning Opens before their second birthday.
He ran with gusto again the week following at an Open Stake largely on partridge. His find was again notable, as his partridge had obviously been injured and on trying to take to the air, it immediately dropped back in directly in front of the dog – again he was super steady. His running was a little bit more erratic in this trial than I would have liked as he was definitely getting quite excited with lots of game around and we were rewarded with a Certificate of Merit for our efforts.
2014 started well for Excel as he put in some very nice runs at Glenwherry, Glarryford and Orra, but slight mishaps meant he didn’t figure in the awards. He was to remedy this however in the Ulster Gundog League’s Open Stake at Glenwherry on the 8th March. A good first round and find in rushes added to a decent second round meant that he was declared winner – his 2nd Open win giving him his UK Field Trial Champion title at the age of 29 months – joining his sister Eppie with her title well before their 3rd birthdays.
|07.08.13||1st||Novice||Northern Counties P&S Society|
|06.10.13||1st||Open||Ulster Irish Red Setter Club|
D J O’Neile
|08.03.14||1st||Open||Ulster Gundog League|
|02.08.14||1st||Open||Northern Counties P&S Society|
|11.10.14||3rd||Open||Ulster Gundog League|
Craig’s Moss, Glarryford
|06.09.15||2nd||Open||Irish Red and White Setter Club|
|04.08.16||1st||Open||Pointer Club of Scotland|
|20.08.16||1st||Open||N I Pointer Club|
|08.10.16||1st||Open||Ulster Gundog League|
Craig’s Moss, Glarryford
|09.10.16||1st||Open||Strabane & District S&P Club |
|08.08.17||CoM||Open||Scottish Gundog Association|
|09.09.17||1st||Open||Strabane & District S&P Club|
|Oct 17||1st||Open |
|English Setter Club of Ireland|