Greatest Field Trial Upset of All Time?

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posted on March 26, 2014

English setter "Shadow Oak Bo" has made history by besting a field of mostly pointers to win his second straight National Championship Field Trial at Ames Plantation. Why is this a big deal? A setter hasn't won back-to-back nationals in 112 years; in fact, Bo's initial victory was the first win by a setter in 43 years.

Arguably Bo's championship defense is even more impressive than that of a female setter named Sioux, who repeated in 1901-1902. As my buddy Brian Lynn notes, "When she repeated, it was against a field of only 10 other dogs—all of which were setters. Bo squared off against a [75-dog] field overwhelmingly made up of pointers."

Those familiar with the rules of pointing-breed trials will appreciate what a powerful setter is required to defeat the pointers. Are Bo's two championships the greatest field trial upset of all-time?

Only one other comes to mind. In October 2005, English cocker spaniel "Warrener's California Quail" (call name Storm) defeated an 86-dog field of mostly English springer spaniels to win the Canadian National Championship spaniel trial. It's the only time in the event's 47-year history that a cocker spaniel has defeated the springers, which are at a major advantage in terms of size, stamina and strength.

"Some said it would take a miracle for a cocker to defeat a springer in a national," wrote Storm's handler/trainer Paul McGagh. "'Do you believe in miracles?' I asked [owner Vicky Thomas] when I phoned her. Storm had won."

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