by Drew Callan, Press Officer

NFC Saintes 2016

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, I hope you are keeping well. Last week end saw the penultimate race in the old bird race programme for the NFC when the birds were at Saintes which is just shy of that magic 500 miles to the middle of the club radius. This race is a good Derby Race distance and each year it sees some magical performances being put up across the width and breadth of the club by fanciers and birds that are at the top of their game. This race saw another good shout from ‘Crow and the team’, the weather around the lib point and a few miles along the route delayed liberation until 9.00am when they were libbed in to no wind. The wind remained light, and west/south westerly along much of the route but as the day progressed we saw it swinging round to a more westerly direction and certainly when the birds were working up through England to their home lofts the strength picked up and was gusty at times. This later liberation obviously ruled out any day birds to the farther flying members, but that is the nature of competing at a national level, and the second morning saw a lot of very early birds who could not have been far away on the night.

The race itself was a nippy affair and the lead pack certainly did not hang around this allowed a good spread of section winners in and amongst the first cavalry charge. As with the Saintes race each year there are the usual suspects vying for the bragging rights and this provided another occasion for lights to be brought out from underneath bushels?something most fanciers are reluctant to do!!

Taking the top spot, claiming 1ST Open NFC and topping Section B on this occasion we have the Gosport lofts of Mr W Edwards. There is a bit of a story to this as Bill had planned a short break away as a birthday present to his wife, and they were schedules to leave home at 7.30 on the Sunday morning. This meant a bit of a scramble to get some details and explains the absence of the usual high quality photo from Chris Sutton but this will follow.  However, via a series of emails and the assistance of Paul Ayling we managed to get a photo of Bill and some details before he went to relax and unwind. The winning pigeon is a yearling cock raced on widowhood and is described by Bill as very consistent, and was the lofts first timer from the NFC Fougeres race earlier in the season. He is bred from Bill’s well established family of Haeltermans bred around the famous Film Star of Frank Tasker, with a touch of the ever present Vandenabeele blood in there. The cock was bred from two racers, and Bill has both of them still in the team in fact his dad was the third of his three entries home that night. When it comes to naming the national winner, Bill has not yet decided on whether to call him ‘Oakdene Dream’, or ‘Oakdene Expected’?he is letting Chris Sutton decide, although he feels that ‘Dream’ is more appropriate as it is a dream come true. Bill has had a lot of success with these birds and says that alongside his Paul Stobbs Soontjens birds they have excelled this year racing both cocks and hens on widowhood. Bill admits to being very bad at waiting for birds so decided to tidy up the young bird aviary. Whilst he was doing this he heard a flutter of wings and turned to see the cock on the trap, and he is convinced that the cock winked as he went over the pad  -  which I wouldn’t be surprised at as he was 5 minutes earlier than Bill thought would be a very good time!!

Bill says that when he looks at the achievement of the game yearling cock and the household names that are behind in on the result he feels a bit like Chris Coleman and the Welsh football team.  Speaking to a few fanciers during the course of the race we were all of the opinion that given the early velocities and the wind, the provisional race leader would not hold on for long. But not only did the cock hold on to retain top spot, but Bill clocked a second of his 3 entries not too far behind the first. Bill usually gives away the young birds from his race team each year, and this year a club member was moving and Bill gifted him 12 or so young birds , and you guessed it in that batch were the 2 of the national winner. Bill started in partnership with his dad, and in total has been 55 + years working towards this, so now he knows how to do it we all expect him to it again soon. He would like to thank his wife Jan for being the loft manager during all the years he had to work away she has been the one racing the team and very successfully as well especially in the marathon international events where they have been twice 2nd open so Saturday was nail biting for him as he has been leading a national before only to be pipped at the post.

Bill Edwards -1st Open NFC Saintes.

Taking 2nd Open and claiming top spot in Section E we have a man who has made this race his own over the past 4 or 5 years Mark Gilbert. This  year is no exception and Mark has plastered his name all over the result with bird close up to claim also 3rd Open, 2nd Section; 7th open, 5th Section, and another 5 birds in the top 20 of the open. I spoke last year and in previous years about the result of the Winkfield loft at this distance and in this competition being an absolute masterclass in middle distance racing at the highest level, and this year is no different. Mark has once more made us catch our breath with the sheer, undeniable quality of craftsmanship displayed Mark from this race. To say that Mark is on fire is an understatement look at his results this year at international and national level competition. You do, of course, need the toys to play with the boys and these birds will represent the absolute cream of middle distance bloodlines incorporated by a master stockman in to a formidable team that competes consistently at the leading edge of the competition. As you would expect these birds were bred right and will be jam packed with performance birds. The first pigeon across the pad to win the section was a yearling cock out of Kanibal Barcelona who himself was 4th  International Barcelona and 26th  International Perpignan.

The second pigeon claiming runner up spot was a hen out of Southfield Star, 2nd  national NFC Saintes when dropping with the national  winner. The mother is out of Southfield Champ the Saintes NFC winner. So this little lady was certainly engineered to succeed from this race point.

Mark Gilbert effortlessly brilliant.

Taking 4th open and topping Section H we have the Saffron Walden loft of Patmore and Rayner. Chris and Keith saw home a 2 year old widowhood cock now named ‘Jane's Boy’ after Keith’s wife Jane who had a lung transplant January 2015 and is doing well. The sire of ‘Jane's Boy’ is a son of Keith Rayner's No1 Stock Pair of Vanhee bloodlines, and the dam a grandaugther of ‘Monty’ who was 1st BICC Montlucon for David Coward Talbott, and she is of Black Giant bloodline the best of the old Van Wanroy blood lines. Chris is as pleased as punch having sent the pigeon to 3 Channel races with the EECC, the last being Pithivers 276 miles where ‘Jane's Boy’ had 10 hours on the wing 2 weeks prior to Saintes. Chris was saying that the unsettled weather this season has seen their birds struggle to come in to any kind of form, and that it is only over the past 10 days or so that the partnership have seen form creep in to the team.

Chris Patmore holding ‘Janes Boy’

5TH Open and 3rd Section E goes to one of the finest middle distance lofts in the country Roger Lowe of Reading. This is another loft that always carries a bit of form and in the past couple of weeks he has been amongst the leaders at national and classic level. Roger sent 25 birds to Saintes 16 widowhood cocks and 9 widowhood hens. His first timer was a hen and  she has won many prizes over the last three seasons inc 29th sect 499b, 213th open 2641b, CSCFC Messac ,19th  fed East Prawle 1999b, 20th  fed Honiton 2200b, 18th sect 359b, 31st open BBC fougeres 1892b,8th  sec 651 b, 34th  open BICC le mans 1936b, 29th  sec 169b, 78th  open BBC Bordeaux 675b, 43rd sec 376b, 132 open BBC Messac 1562b, 76th  sec 848b, 160th  open BICC Poiters 2701b, 2nd  fed Carentan 1494b ETC. she is bred from ‘DIAMOND SUPREME’, a son of  My little Diamond when paired with mark Gilbert's Southfield supreme winner of 1st  international Dax Her  dam  is  ‘DELIGHT’ -  double granddaughter of My little diamond, Delight is a winner of 1st sect, 1st  open CSCFC Carentan , 4th  sec, 33rd  open BBC fougeres, and 2nd  sec, 2nd  open NFC national fougeres.  Roger had 20 home on the day with 2 next morning so turned out to be a good race for him. He would like to pass on congratulations to the winner on a fine performance and says roll on the next NFC national from Tarbes.

Roger Lowe

Taking 6th Open and 4th Section E we have the loft of Garry Inkley. Garry is always one of the lofts to step thigs up a gear once we get to the business end of the season, and has an enviable record from Saintes having put his name on a few bits of silverware for his results from here. Garry timed a 3year old widowhood hen of Koopman bloodlines that was having her fourth channel race of 2016. She has previous channel form having won the Dorset Fed "Mad Hatters" open race from Guernsey as a youngster and other open positions in both the BICC and NFC. Garry would like to take this opportunity to congratulate W.Edwards on his great win and the northern fanciers on some terrific performances when both the conditions and available hours of flying time were against them.

Garry Inkley

Claiming the next 2 spots in the open for 8th and 9th open and doing the double top in Section A we have the national winning loft of Crammond and Langstaff. Ian and Nigel once more had the team on their toes and they did not disappoint. These two gentlemen once again proved to be the dominant force in section A from Saintes taking provisionally 1st  and 2nd  section, 8th  and 9th  Open with their fabulous team of middle distance widowhood cocks. Nigel and Ian have now won a remarkable 9 times first section A in the last 10 years from Saintes and of course were overall winners of the Saintes NFC in 2015.

Crammond and Langstaff

This year’s winner of 1st section A is from the partnerships fantastic Bosua x Van Osch family, a two year old widowhood cock, their second timer was a three year old grandson of The Machine and the Golden Monar bred by James Parker and Ian Stafford. This year the cocks were motivated for Saintes by being given their hens the night before marking, obviously with great effect as they recorded 27 pigeons on the winning day flying 353 miles. Feeding of the cocks is Vanrobaeys corn via Roger and Greg Sutton - (Racing Exclusive and Non Stop) which has been a change to previous years but with the same devastating results, no doubt 2017 will see Ian and Nigel trying to make it 10 times Section A winners and who would bet against them?

Rounding of the top 10 and topping the very competitive Section F is the Oxfordshire loft of Sherman and Wells. The lads have moved things up a gear over the past few years in national racing and I remember talking to Steve last year after The Saintes race and he was telling me about their 3 year plan for Tarbes which was due to be tested from Tarbes a couple of weeks later and in that race they were only beaten in their section by the national winner himself Mr Eamon Kelly. Their winning bird was flown on widowhood, and he is called ‘The Banker’. As a young bird he was put in the Southern Classic young bird sale where no one wanted him, maybe because Tony Cowan jokingly said ‘here is a bird from two bankers from Oxford’ , that’s why they call him the Banker. He won as a young bird and as a yearling now as a two year old he has won Sec F 10th open Saintes National. He was bred from a gift bird from Curtis Wall & Lunt and a bird from R Evans Gibson and partners top channel men from the North east. The partnership would like to thank everyone who congratulated them on the section and open success.

Steve Wells with Eamon Kelly’s silent partner.

Around the Sections

Section B

Claiming runner up spot, but taking consolation from being beaten for top section honours by the bird that went on to win the national we have the loft of Wearn Brothers and Neilson. These guys fly a tidy pigeon and are jostling for honours in any race they enter, but I am really struggling to get any information on them so I might have to change my tack on this one.

Priscilla Hodges AKA The Boss

Section C

Topping the section we have the partnership of Mr and Mrs Hodges - a loft that I am sure were not out of the top 3 in the section last year, so its good to see them pop up in the run up to Tarbes. They clocked a 2 year old cock that is raced on their version of the Chaos system, and he is a full brother to the bird that topped section C from Ancenis last year. The parents are the best of the Sheldon Leonard blood, being a Vandenaheede x Daniel Aerens, and for the short time they have been breeding in the stock loft they have made an impression on the racing performances.

Runner up is the Shaftesbury loft of B Woods, this is a family with a strong racing pedigree in the area as Bryans brother has had the pleasure of speaking to me on several occasions over the past 2 years. The bird that Bryan clocked is a 2 year old chequer cock called Golden Boy who was 2nd Section and Open in the CSCFC Fougeres race on the last week end in May previous to turning in a good performance from Saintes. After the CSCFC race he was just exercised around the loft twice day and then lifted in to Saintes. His breeding is Soontjens x Vandenabeele, from a pair that were bought at a Squeaker sale in 2011. Golden Boy was not put in the race basket as a young bird, and was lightly raced with the Dorset Fed as a yearling before going to NFC Ancenis to finish his season. This year he went across the channel twice before being sent to Saintes with confidence.

Golden Boy 2nd Section C

Section D

Taking top honours is a loft that races a handy pigeon at national and classic level Richard Goodier and sons from sunny Devon. Their section D topper was a Chequer Cock which has been raced on roundabout all season, then being paired up especially for Saintes, where  he was sent sitting 10 day eggs. He is a reliable performer with a couple of first club and was 3rd section D last year. He was bred by Richards good friend Malcolm May from Epsom , his grandparents include "just a kid" 1st UNC Sootjen and "Bosco cock" 6th National Tours , 9th National Chateroux , sold to China for 22,000Euros.

All birds where paired up at the beginning of February rearing two youngsters with the hen being removed when youngster is 15 days old. Birds are fed on a mixture of Versela Laga corns depending on the forth coming race , energy corn was added to feed 3 days before basketing. The Goodier birds are raced and trained with the Devon South road Federation , convoyed by Chris Stevens who Richard says has turned out some faultless liberations this year. All birds were slow to show form this year after a lot of loft moving and new lofts being erected, they seem to have found form at the right time, with the loft topping the fed in the last 2 races and now 1st  section D. The team performance was fantastic with 7 birds home on the day and 4 more early next morning in which was a testing wind for all in section D members. All birds returned in good condition, and the team would like to say thanks to all at the Kingsteignton marking station and also thanks to David Coward -Talbot and team at Belgica Deweerdt who provide a first class service look after the health of their birds.

Runner up in Section D is the loft of Mark Beer. Unfortunately I was unable to get in contact with Mark before the report had to be completed.

The Section winner for R Goodier and Sons

Section F.

Taking the runner up spot is the loft of Lloyd and Kelly. Eamon clocked a yearling cock that he has high hopes for in the future. He was bred by Maurice O’Donnell in Ireland and is bred from the best of the Jos Joosens birds - Chris has sourced these directly from the fountainhead in Belgium. Eamon had 11 on the night and the remaining 3 early next morning, so has to be pleased with that. He would like to congratulate Bill Edwards the winner and Mark Gilbert on another top drawer team performance. Mark, Eamon says he is truly devastated that you were second national again but says you are probably used to it by now!!

Eamon Kelly on a rare night out.

Section G

Winning 1st Section G were the West country partnership of John & Dave Staddon of Evercreech in Somerset. This is what Dave had to tell me. "Firstly well done to Bill Edwards and all the section winners.

We are absolutely over the moon to win Section G for fifth time in the last two years, especially from this Saintes race as the wind was pushing gale force from a westerly direction all day. We were not in a good position for the section never mind the open. However our team of birds mainly held their line and battled against the wind to arrive at the loft at consistent intervals from a southerly direction, which was very pleasing. Our winning yearling hen which we have now named Shapway Galaxy, came dead straight and was really going for it. She is a widowhood hen flown on our version of the chaos system which we are continually tweaking. She has already been a good hen this year winning 2nd Club 4th WOESRC from Bedhampton with over 5,000 birds, then 10th West section 42nd Open Falaise BICC 3695 birds. She will now be prepared for the Tarbes National which is our main focus of the year.

A special thank you should be offered to Mr Graham Poyner of Newport, South Wales. Graham kindly reported one of our yearling cocks flown out from the previous Ancenis race. He cared for the cock for a week, nursing him back to fitness before dad drove up the motorway and met Graham at Magor services to collect the young cock. Graham asked why dad wanted the yearling cock back so badly................the answer being he was paired to Galaxy and we needed him back to give her motivation to race from Saintes. So thank you Graham, without your kindness we may never have won the section with Galaxy.

We like to name all our Section G winners with a name beginning the G. Galaxy is bred from a Geoff & Cath Cooper Cock which is a son of JW. This line can be traced back by Geoff to pigeons he bought from August Tavierne & Andre Vermote. The dam of Galaxy is a daughter of Mark Gilbert's Southfield Pau. We have been enjoying a good season of races with the NFC this year and look forward greatly to the Tarbes Blue Riband event and the young bird/OH nationals.

Once again the convoyer, race advisor and weather advisor did an excellent job for the members on yet another tricky weekend of weather. Good pigeons being timed in all sections. At the time of writing we have 28 from 32 entered and the birds were in great condition. Thank you to everyone of our friends in the sport who have rung us, text or used the internet to pass on their congratulations. We really appreciate it."

J and D Staddon

Second Section G goes to the partnership of Howse and Parsons. The bird they timed was a dark chequer widowhood cock on his fifth channel race of the year including all NFC races.
He is a pigeon who Chris had to persevere with as a young bird  it failed to return on the day from the majority of races and as a yearling it was reported and brought back by courier from last year's NFC fougeres, but this year he has been really consistent being in the first three to the loft in all channel races. He has clearly learnt something when he has been away and is rewarding the partnership for their patience.
His sire is a grandson of the partnerships cock ‘Merit Man’ - NFC merit winner and grandson of Joe Raeburn’s NFC winner Gwen.  The dam is a daughter of the 58 cock, an NFC section winner and sire of section winners. After experimenting with new feeding system last season, the team have reverted back to their original feeding system as they felt the pigeons were lacking stamina for the hard races, and it seems to have paid off. Finally they would like to thank Eamon Kelly on the splendid job he is doing in such difficult weather conditions, also the convoyer for the excellent condition the birds return in.

Section H

Taking 2nd spot is a Jamie Mitchell, a name that is new to me. Jamie clocked a yearling grizzle hen who has a bit of form and channel experience to her name already despite her age. Previous to Saintes the hen has been 5th and 9th Section and 385th and 27th open from 2 BICC races and 5th club, 25th Open UBI CombineCarentan. She is a Brockamp based bird with the bloodlines coming via Jutla brothers of London. Jamie would like to thank Jack, Shakey and Vic for all the help they have given to him with the pigeons.

Jamie Mitchell

Section I

Topping my own section we have the national winning loft of Clive Yates. This is what he had to say about his latest section topper:

My section winner is my champion cock in my eyes anyway. Last season he won the West Midlands RPRA Rose Bowl for the best performances over 450mls, and he also won 3rd section Fougeres with the NFC this year.

Last season he had 5 channel races on the result in all, he won 1st section Saintes NFC 480mls, and  a couple of weeks later I sent him to MNFC Bordeaux and  I timed him in at 9 .03 at night after 14 half hours on the wing north wind 540mls only 16 birds on the day. When he lands he all ways spins, I have never seen him tired. His sire is bred by Mark Gilbert x My Battenburg hen. The coal mine I worked at was closing so I was made redundant, I thought I would treat myself, so I went to the Battenburg sale. I picked the 2 I liked and managed to buy them both, I would say 80% bred off them have won.

In April I had 5 taken off the loft by a BOP, so when I started to train the old birds, all the others would race out of the crate, but he would walk on to the flap have a good look around for 10 seconds before flying off. Most days he will just be lying in his nest bowl for most of the day, he is a real character.

The wind while waiting for the Saintes birds was bending the trees very strong west, but he all ways come on the same line, wings back dives in like a dart.

I timed 4 in on the night and had 11 out of 12 on Sunday morning, they started dropping in at 5 am. This was another good call by the men in charge, well done.’

Clive with his g/daughter and new puppy Rusty.

Taking runner up spot is the loft of Rob Rome, no stranger to top honours at national level. Many readers will know that Rob had two removal sales at Blackpool and Ireland last year which attracted a lot of buyers including those from top lofts in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.  The reason for the sales was to allow Rob and his family to move home.  This was due to a change in work location (from Gloucester office to the London/Croydon office).   Everything seemed set, the house sale was agreed in October 2015 last year and after finding a new property in East Sussex the combined sale and purchase was agreed for completion on the 9th December last year.  All arrangements had been made with the removals company, a lorry and arctic trailer had been organised to remove the loft and many local fancier friends had agreed to help Rob disassemble the loft prior to removal.  Then disaster struck, Rob’s buyers walked away and the whole deal fell apart.  Rob’s home was put back up for sale in the Spring, however, to date a buyer has yet to be found.

Rob had only kept the dozen or so birds that had scored well at NFC Tarbes, BICC Agen and BBC Bordeaux in 2015 along with some mates and these were meant to be the 2016 stock birds at the new location in East Sussex.  When an early house sale wasn’t looking likely, Rob decided to couple these birds as normal and prepare them with the later NFC races in mind, until such time as the house was sold.

So back to the Saintes race, the winner of 2nd Section for Rob is a hen of pure class, beautiful in the hand with a shine like an oil painting.  She is a hen that proved as a yearling she could put many hours on the wing and home in bad weather.  However, when returning to the loft she looks like she hasn’t seen a basket.  In 2015, she had one 90 mile race prior to entering NFC Ancenis where she scored 6th Section 259th Open.  Unfortunately, she then injured herself and was stopped for the year.  In 2016, and noting her strong endurance, Rob has prepared this hen in an attempt to compete for the Mark Gilbert Trophy (Best Average with an individual pigeon in all NFC races).  In 2016, to date, racing every 2 weeks, she has scored: Fougeres (250 miles) 61st Section 1358th Open, Messac (283 miles) 21st Section 452nd Open , Ancenis (317 miles) 8th Section 145th Open and now Saintes (430 miles) 2nd Section 109th Open.

As you will be aware, Rob searches for bloodlines that can win in big competition from the start to the end of the programme (60 to 600 miles) and in particular those lines that can win in head winds.  The breeding of this hen comes from the lofts three main lines as follows:

SIRE:  “Ace Fideel 415”, bred by Patrick & Dimitri Houfflijn of Belgium.  An amazing breeder in the Rome lofts of 1st Club, 1st Fed, 1st National Section from 181 to 606 miles.  He’s also responsible for a terrific line in the UNC for Freddy Gray winning 2nd Fed Bourges 580 miles 2014 and 1st Fed Reims 500 miles 2015.  Another son was 15th Open BBC National Bordeaux 487 miles in 2015.  This cock was a yearling and only had 7 ½ flights in one wing.

“Ace Fideel 415” comes from the same Houfflijn Fideel and Geronimo lines that bred “Fabia” 1st National Section and Car Winner from Tarbes 606 miles for Rob in 2015.  He is a direct son of 122/08 that was a terrific racer in the Houfflijn lofts, winner of 14th National Brive 16,815 birds and 29th National Tulle 7,467 birds.

DAM:  Dam is home-bred from the lofts best lines (Carteus, Houfflijn and Kings-Cup winner Champion Reimus).  Her sire is “Zatopek Junior”, a Fed winner as a latebred carrying nest-flights.  He is direct from an inbred Son of “Zatopek” winner of 1st National Ace Pigeon Long Distance Entente Belge and 2nd National Ace Pigeon KBDB for Silvere ToyeRob would like to thank Alen Gibb, Graham Clift and Paul Hyatt for helping Rob get the birds to the National marking stations.  He’d also like to sincerely thank his good lady, Faith, for managing the birds during the week and his father Robert SR Rome for looking after the stock birds and breeding the racers.  Rob would like to make a dedication to his mum, Eileen, who is very poorly in hospital at the moment.

Rob Rome the t shirt is available in a range of colours!!

Section J

Taking the bragging rights from Saintes is the Stourbridge loft of Arthur Jones. The bird doing the honours this week is a 3yo dark cock always flown on widowhood. Previous performances of note are -  2015 24th  Sect, 176th  Open NFC Fourgeres, 17th  Sect, 92nd  Open NFC Messac, timed 3rd  bird Ancenis, timed 3rd bird from Saintes  for 29th  Sect 364th Open. 2016 1st bird  Messac NFC and will have a good position, 1st bird Ancenis NFC provisional 8th  Sect, 28th  Open. As you would expect this tidy racing machine is bred right. His sire is a son of ‘Canberra Prince’ -  1st Sect, 34th  Open NFC Tarbes when mated to a home bred De Keyser hen. His dam was a gift from Arthur’s late good friend Billy Tregonning of South Wales from his outstanding long distance family.

Arthur Jones Section J Topper

Runner up spot goes to Graham Clift. His timer from Saintes is a two year old cock, a late bred in 2014, he is very well bred. The sire being a son of Southfield Supreme when paired to a daughter of Mark Gilbert's "Melissa" 1st International Yearling.  The dam is from a son of Farmer George, 1st International Bordeaux when paired to another daughter of Melissa.  Graham would like to offer Congratulations to all the winners, and the race team as the birds returned in excellent condition.

Graham Clift

Section K

Topping the section in style with the only bird on the night is a man who is no stranger to national winning success Eric Higginbottom. Since moving back up to God’s own Country Eric has made his presence felt and continues to do so with yet another section win. The winning bird is a 2 year old Red Chequer cock who
has  had only two races this year and was the first bird to the loft from Ancenis on 18th June before winning Section K at Saintes on 2nd July. His sire and dam were purchased from Taylor Bros, New Biggin,
Newcastle.  His sire is a full brother to Moonlight Express, 1st UNC Bourges 595mls from King and Queen, and his dam is a tidy pencil hen , her sire is from Titus when paired to his own  sister. Her dam is the Red Rising Sun hen, dam of many winners up to Bourges 595mls.

Eric Higginbottom

Runner up is the Bradford loft of S Harrison and Son. The loft clocked in a 3 year old widowhood cock of Ponderosa bloodlines being a Delbar x Muller cross, so definitely bred for the job that was asked of him. He was away to Saintes last year but was just outside the cards having flown it on the day. The cock had all the NFC races this year leading up to Saintes and then in the last couple of days all the other cocks in his section were removed and he spent some quality time with his hen from the day before basketing. The race team are fed to appetite on Garvo corn, with both the Sprint and Marathon mixes being utilised, depending on the distances being flown, and as is normally the way now with distance widowhood the birds are never broken down. Steve would like to give special recognition to the late Billy Goddard who was a top Bradford fancier. Billy passed away in 1992, and was the mentor and very special friend to Steve as he was learning the ropes as a fancier. Steve still puts in to practice each day the skills that Billy shared with him.

Section L

Doing the double top in the section at 500+ miles takes a certain set of skills and a team that has depth and quality but that is what Roger Sutton has achieved from Saintes flying up in to his farm on the outskirts of Congleton. Roger is no stranger to topping the section at this level, and is an ever present threat especially when we tip over in to ‘proper racing’. Unfortunately I have received no further information in time for the report.

Section N

The late liberation due to the weather left these far flying  birds with a compulsory night on the tiles and an early start on the second morning to make their home lofts. Looking at the early times and the bundle of early risers peppering the result it was clear that these birds were sent ready for the task at, and I think its fair to say that if they had been given a clear, early morning run at it we will have seen some magical 600+ miles on the day stuff last Saturday. Top of the heap in the section we have the loft of Bob Mckie, one of the growing band of passionate long distance national flyers who ply their craft in that corner of the world. Bob is, of course, well known as the secretary of the Sportsman FC which was created to encourage greater participation in National racing across the North East.

Section N winner

Flying 636 miles Bob timed a 2 year old Cheq w/f  hen named “Philippa” at 8.51 am on the second morning. Sent sitting a small baby she came unexpectedly out of the North and quickly entered the loft and although a lot lighter her general condition was excellent. This was only her second ever competitive race, her first was the Fougeres National (456 miles) in May when she arrived early second morning to take 5th Sportsman FC, 7th Section N, 1750th Open from 8756 birds.

Philippa is predominantly Jan Arden. Her sire is of Brian Denney bloodlines Tuff Nut/Dark Jan x Maxi/ Dark Jan. The Dam is an outstanding stock hen from Peter Virtue of Cockburnspath and is heavily influenced by the Invincible Spirit bloodlines and Peter Thorpe lines. Peter Thorpe being one of his best ever performers which unfortunately fell foul of the Peregrines that plague the area.

Runner up is the partnership of Mc Sween and Sexton, but I was unable to contact them before the report was completed.

Section P

Top of the heap from Saintes we have the loft of Bruce McAllister. Bruce saw home a well fancied, reliable and successful 5 year old hen. Her sire was bred by his good friend Terry Robinson and is of Tuff Nut and Snydale Express bloodlines. Her dam is home bred and is heavily inbred to Jos Thone ‘Emperor’ lines. This little lady was raced natural, and has been on the system all season. She was sent covering a pair of eggs and Bruce was delighted to see that she went back on to them  and is now pencilled in for Tarbes all being well. The race team are currently being fed Gem Super widowhood mix and it certainly seems to be doing the job. Bruce had a great race with 2 more only a few minutes behind the section topper, so they won’t be too far away when the dust settles.

Bruce Mc Allister and grandchildren.

Runner up is a loft that has been in the top few in the section each race this year in the NFC programme Steve Coxall. The pigeon that Steve timed first today is a 2013 blue w/f cock that has been a very consistent racer across the channel all his life, being the first back to the loft on many occasions. He's scored multiple positions at National level and Steve is now weighing up if he's going to Tarbes grand national or not - a tough call. His breeding is of good friend Dave Paine of St Neots houben blood lines crossed with Steves own family. He is raced full widow hood and hopper fed on the Versela laga IQ Range of food. Steve would like to congratulate the winner and  also Arthur Jones on winning section J, Chris Patmore on  winning section H and of course Bruce for section P.

Steve Coxall

Section W

The Welsh convoy had it all to do against the wind on Saturday but this did not deter some gallant performances. Doing a double top and convincingly winning the section is the partnership of Graham and Stuart Treharne. These guys are having a phenomenal season at all levels and are ever present in the shake up at national level. The first bird over the pad to win the section is a yearling cock Eijerkamp van loon whose nest mate topped the fed as a young bird , his sire is a double grandson of silver shadow and his dam was 1st  section J Saintes NFC and 1st  welsh south road national in 2014. These two were the first young birds bred from her, she is bred from their son of Kain. The second bird is also a yearling cock a full brother to our recent ancenis national winner and NFC section winner he is bred from ‘Alans lad’ their  2012 Saintes national and Gold Cup winner when he was paired to a daughter of ‘Nadira- the  double international winner for Lothar Leissmeister. Both birds were raced on roundabout and this was their fourth channel race of the season.

G and S Treharne

Taking 3RD Section and continuing their run of form is the loft of Padfield brothers. Vince and Dave saw home a 2 year old chequer pied cock. As with all their race team, this Cock was raced on the roundabout system all the year after rearing a pair of young birds, he was put on the roundabout after sitting his second round of eggs for 10 days.

He was lifted straight off the loft to Maidstone, 166 miles then he had two overseas races. From his last race prior to Saintes he was returned on the Monday with the Welsh North Road Fed when they were unable to liberate. He was then sent to Saintes two weeks later, he was left to run a day and half with his hen before he was put in the basket and taken for marking.

He was one of the fancied pigeons and was a Car bird in the NFC where he finished 3rd section in this race. He is a Full sister to Patsy 1st Pau National and Claire 1st pigeon into Wales and 17th Pau International 2015. This Cock is bred in the purple full of distance champions her Dam was bred by the House of Aarden the sire is the Famous Padfields Invincible and the Dam a Daughter Of Invincible Spirit ( Lady Invincible) This hen was presented back to the Padfields by Steve Wright and is proving her worth at stock. The Sire was purchased from Dave Impett of Blackpool from the best of his Bruggermans, his  sire is the no 1 stock cock 239 when paired to ‘Christine’s Star’ 13th Open NFC Tarbes 747 miles. This cock was also sire to the Padfields first pigeon in the BICC Pau international last year.

3rd section W for Padfield Brothers

Right folks, that will have to do for now. We are within touching distance of ‘the’ race of the season for many from Tarbes and I wish you all the luck in the world if you are dipping your toe in. Don’t forget to take part in the Hartwells Car nom run in conjunction with Mark Gilbert and Eamon Kelly, remember it is   unlimited so don’t be shy. We are also only on race away from seeing who will win the Champions of Champions League and claim the Hartwells car. As it stands we have 5 sections represented in the leading 5 places, including Section N and W. I will do a bit more on this for next week.

As always, I am on 01926 817796 or if you are shy .

Drew Callan,