This past week I received the sad news that the great red setter Champion Chantilly had passed on. Dr. Roger Boser informed me that “Kelly” had recently suffered some health problems and had died on December 20 after a short illness. In my years as a member of the Board and Futurity Chair for the National Red Setter Field Trial Club I have had the pleasure of seeing many red setters, and Chantilly was always guaranteed to put on a show. She never disappointed. Sired by the Red Setter Hall of Famer Champion Desperado out of Come Back Dixie Girl, Kelly garnered a total of 85 career placements during her 8 year career, including 5 championships and 9 runner-ups. She started her career by winning the Red Setter Futurity in 1999 and clinched the Red Setter Derby of the Year. Under the tutelage of her owner, breeder, trainer and handler Dr. Boser, Chantilly was a force to be reckoned with.
Chantilly was always a pleasure to watch. She had a racy and smooth going gait, and she seemed to glide over the ground as she gobbled up the terrain. Her intensity and demeanor around game never ceased to inspire, and she had an uncanny ability to dig up wild bird finds where others had gone birdless. Without question her greatest performance was the 2003 National Amateur Shooting Dog Invitational Championship. Here is what Joyce Taylor, the reporter for the Invitational had to say: “This dog is fast. She can fly, no matter the footing, today on snow. She ran a big race, sometime all-age range, and handled well. She improved each day, better than the day before, just what you look for with an Invitational format. She handled to perfection, ran hard and consistently, always to the front. This little Irish setter is an absolute perfectionist on birds with intensity before, during and after flush. She proudly and deservedly took home the runner-up title.”
I was fortunate to see Chantilly run for several years while she was in her prime, both at trials and in training on the prairies and in the Carolinas. She was devoted to her handler Roger, and it was such a pleasure to see them work together as a team. Though she was a wide shooting dog, Chantilly had a “sixth sense” and always seemed to know where her partner was heading, as she would show to the front as if she knew exactly what direction Roger was moving. Roger once told me that working with Chantilly gave him such pleasure because she had such a “team” approach to bird hunting. She was a true partner in the sport.
Chantilly was bred sparingly during her career, but the get she produced was exceptional. Red setters Breakstone and Aiken are but two examples of the exceptional red setters who have come out of Chantilly. Dr. Boser notes that Breakstone may one of the most exceptional red setters in his 40 plus years of field trialing. Aiken has proven to be an outstanding All Age performer, running the Kansas circuit under the direction of Don Beauchamp.
Kelly was retired in 2007, and for the past three years she had been a constant fixture in the Boser household. She always had a special place in the hearts of the Boser family, and usually was found lying next to Roger or his wife Mary in their summer home in Pennsylvania, or at their winter training farm in North Carolina. She will be sorely missed by her family, and by the members of the National Red Setter Field Trial Club. May she hunt in those places where bird dogs go, joining the legions of great red dogs who have gone before her, running the great hunt with Bearcat, Abra, Desperado, and Askew’s Carolina Lady. Rest in peace, Chantilly.
National Red Setter Field Trial Club