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Keith Mott reports on...

ALAN & GARY YOUNG

OF CROYDON

1st, 2nd, 3rd Open L&SECC Guernsey (2) 2007

Alan and Gary Young had three pigeons come together from the second young bird Guernsey Classic race (2,000 birds) and produced a fantastic result by recording 1st, 2nd. and 3rd open. The first pigeon to hand and to win the Classic was the blue chequer cock, ‘Anto’, and he had previously won 4th open Federation (1,495 birds) Portland. His sire was bred from the T.B.O. Partnership’s champion racer, ‘Mack-One’, winner of four times 1st Federation, when mated to, ‘Shore Bet’, also winner of four times 1st Federation. The dam of ‘Anto’ is a M. & D. Evans hen bred down from their champion ‘Hillcroft Fantasy’. This game cock was a ‘darkness’ youngster, flying his fourth race when he won the Guernsey Classic and was sent sitting seven day old eggs. In fact he was mated to the 3rd open Guernsey Classic winner, ‘Amelia’, which had previously won 3rd Federation (1,495 birds) Portland, 13th Federation (1,667 birds) Blandford.

When Gary came around to my house after the event to have his birds photographed, we had a good chat about the race and he said the three birds were in the loft together and it was just a matter of which one came to hand first would be the Classic winner.

The 2nd open blue chequer cock, ‘Danny Boy’, was bred from a Geoff Kirkland pigeon, the same one that bred the Young’s 2006 N.F.C. Chale winner, Champion ‘Louisa’, making them half brother, half sister. Gary says it was a shame he didn’t clock ‘Danny Boy’ first from Guernsey, as it would have meant the Kirkland pigeon would have bred a National winner in 2006 and a Classic winner in 2007. Mind boggling! ‘Danny Boy’ was the Young’s first bird clocked from the first Guernsey Classic two weeks previous, to record 33rd open and I think he must be a good contender to win the ‘Wally Dann Memorial Cup’ for best young bird of the year. This young racing machine was sent to Guernsey sitting eggs and had previously won 5th. Federation (1,696 birds) Blandford.

The weekend before the Guernsey Classic, Alan and Gary sent a team of 17 youngsters to the N.F.C. Guernsey National (5,408 birds) and recorded 5th, 7th, 11th, 23rd, 99th, 176th open, lifting 2nd Gold Ring National. The partners got two pigeons together from the National and first one on the clock to record 5th open, was the Belgian-rung blue chequer cock ‘Willy’, and he was obtained from a fancier up country named Steve Hole. This cock was raced to the perch and previously recorded 3rd Federation (1,692 birds) Blandford.

The 2007 young bird team were set up for the London & South East Classic Club and National Flying Club races and were trained off the south coast, from Bognor and Portsmouth. Gary told me that they were trained on the Winchester line for a while with the ‘foot and mouth’ ban, but once this was lifted he turned them back to the coast. They also got additional ‘four up’ tosses from 10 miles in the evenings and came home from the Federation races in batches. The youngsters were fed on ‘Gerry Plus’ and were given regular exercise around the loft. The young birds were split in to two teams because of the ‘bird flu’ seven day rule and both performed brilliantly. The youngsters were put on the ‘darkness’ system on weaning and taken off  two week earlier than usual, in early June, because Alan went on holiday. They were darkened from 5pm until 8am and the sexes were kept separated for the first three races, then they were allowed to run together for the rest of the racing season, with fantastic success. In the 2007 season training started about six weeks before the first race, with short tosses then went in big jumps down to the south coast. My good friend, Bobby Besant, has been giving the partners one or two pointers with their pigeon management this season and Gary says he would like to thank him for his advice.

The old sporting saying of, ‘when it’s your day, it really is your day’, applied very strongly to Alan and Gary Young when they sent to the 2006 N.F.C. Chale young bird race and didn’t just have one pigeon come to win 1st. open, but had two come together. The first pigeon on the clock to win 1st. open National was the partners little blue pied hen, Champion ‘Louisa’, and she was bred from Geoff Kirkland and Dave Hunt bloodlines. She had four club races on her build up to her National win and the L.&S.E.C.C. race from Yelverton, when she recorded 35th open. In my opinion, ‘Louisa’, is a perfect pigeon, small, apple bodied, wonderful feathering and eye, with a brilliant racing record to finish it off! My type of racing pigeon! The second pigeon on the clock from the Chale National was the blue chequer cock, ‘The Huntsman’, and he was a bit slow on the trap but still recorded 5th. open National. This game pigeon had previously won 54th open L.&S.E.C.C. Exeter, a couple of weekends before.

Alan flew pigeons in the 1960s and Gary became a pigeon partner about ten years ago. They race in the Surrey Valley Club (Surrey Federation). Alan and Gary have been racing from the present Croydon address for four years and their two section 24ft.x 6ft. racing loft has sputnik trapping. The partners race 20 cocks on the widowhood system and these are paired up on their return from the Blackpool Show in late January. The racers are fed on light mixtures and Gary told me the partners like National and Classic channel racing best. The racers rear a pair of youngsters, with the hens being taken away with the young ones at about 17 days old and the cocks are given about six 30 mile training tosses when they are repaired just before the racing season starts. Gary says his racers are a bit fat at the start of the season, but the first few inland races knock them into shape. Although firsts have been recorded in the Saturday club, Gary says, most of their best positions have been won in the National and Classic clubs, including 8th open L.&S.E.C.C. Bergerac (450 miles). One of the premier racers at the Croydon loft is ‘The Mosaic Hen’ and she has an outstanding racing record, including 1st open Federation (1,328 birds) from Lyndhurst.

The Youngs keep ten pairs of stock birds, which are housed in a 7ft.x 5ft loft, with aviary and are mated the same time as the racers so the eggs can be floated. During the breeding season a wood shavings and sand litter is used on the stock loft floor These birds are fed a first class ‘breeding’ mixture and a lot of the stock birds have come from Gary’s good friend, Dave Hunt of Dagenham, in the east end of London. The partners told me Dave has been a very good friend, giving them some first class stock birds and excellent advice. One of the main stock birds is the blue pied cock, Champion ‘Mack One’, which was bred and raced by the T.B.O. Partnership and he has sired several good winners, but Gary says his grand children are outstanding. This wonderful cock was champion young bird of Europe in 1999 and won 1st Open Bosmolen Gold Ring Classic, 1st open Amalgamation (by 30 ypm), four times 1st Federation and was undefeated at Federation level. What pigeon to have in your stock loft! Other bloodlines at the Croydon loft are Geoff Kirkland and M. & D. Evans. The Young’s breed 70 young birds for racing each season and Gary says he likes to go training with them at 4am., and sometimes they go down the road twice a day. Alan and Gary really enjoy young bird racing and start training about five weeks before the first race, working them up to Petersfield (45 miles). During the racing season the babies get a couple of 12 mile tosses each week and the hens race the programme, with a few cock being stopped after a few races and saved for the widowhood system. The young cocks and hens are kept in separate sections during the racing season and run together on the marking day.

When picking out new stock birds, Gary says he is only interested in good winning bloodlines and not type. He maintains that if a fancier lives in a club radius and is of good character, he should not be refused entry in a club, regardless if he is a good racer or not. The partners like to show their birds in the winter months, but only at club level and not at National events.

Well there you have it, the 2007 L.& S.E.C.C. young bird Guernsey (2) winners, Alan and Gary Young. Well done lads, on a brilliant performance! I will be doing one or two articles for the Classic in the next couple of weeks, so we have brought back the old L.& S.E.C.C. ‘Forum’, so they will be presented under that banner. Fanciers can relay any comment on telephone number: 01372 463480.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT

17/10/07

B.I.F.S.

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