Jim O'Connell, of Winton, and Camara Queen after a score of 97 in the State Championships.
Jim O'Connell, of Winton, and Camara Queen after a score of 97 in the State Championships. Gerard Walsh

Dogs do their owners proud

WINTON handler Jim O'Connell reckons "not often enough" when asked about a score of 97 by his dog Camara Queen in the Queensland championships at Allora this week.

O'Connell said the trial sheep suited Queen.

"They were Merinos just off shears and a bit touchy to work," he said.

"Sheep are like a bubble waiting to burst, if you put too much pressure on, it will burst and it is the same with sheep trialling."

The score of 97 is in a sport where points are deduced for mistakes.

O'Connell believes he lost one point with Queen in the cast (start), one when she was bringing the sheep to him early on and one when the sheep went inside a marker.

"My best is 99, there have been scores of 100 but I have never seen one or given one as a judge," he said.

O'Connell is working seven dogs at Allora and his wife Rhonda six.

"She beat me in the open at Dubbo with an equal second."

Even though Queen was equal fourth last week in Warwick and scored 97 out of a possible 100 at Allora, O'Connell said she was far from his best dog on the property at Winton, where they currently run 8000 sheep and 800 cattle.

He has won one state championship in Queensland and one in South Australia.

While he took the early lead this week, O'Connell said he expected a three-round score of 275 to 280 would be needed to win.

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Top scores

Jim O'Connell (Winton) and dog Camara Queen 97

Malcolm Taylor (Tasmania) and Mocara Ed 96

Keith Reid (NSW) and Kiora Mishka 91

Dale Formosa (Greenbank) and Gunna Ruby 89



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