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Keith Mott writes about winning fanciers past and present...


of Leamington Spa

Sprint supremo, Keith Arnold, created his perfect pair of pigeons in the 2009 season when his two premier prize winning birds both won RPRA West Midland Region Awards. The two pigeons, now named ‘Mr. Perfect’ and ‘Miss Perfect’, are paired together this season and last year won 1st Warwickshire Federation nine times between them. A fantastic pair of Staf Van Reets! The four year old blue widowhood cock, Champion ‘Mr. Perfect’, topped the Federation six times in the 2009 season and went on to win 1st RPRA UK Sprint Champion.

This fantastic cock’s performances don’t stop there, he won the club eight times and won other premier prizes including: 1st Club, 1stFederation Taunton (2044 birds), 1st Club, 1st Federation Bath (1844 birds), 1st Club, 1st Federation Bath (1179 birds), 1st Club, 1st Federation Newton Abbot (1115 birds), 1st Club, 1st Federation Yelverton (1037 birds), 1st Club, 1st Federation Kingsdown (1018 birds), 1st Club, 3rd Federation Newton Abbot (1523 birds), 1st Club, 9th Federation Newton Abbot (1113 bird), 2nd Club, 9th Federation Newton Abbot (1802 birds) and 2nd Club, 13th Federation Yelverton (1581 birds). When I asked Keith about his latest RPRA UK Sprint Champion he told me, ‘Mr. Perfect’ is a four year old cock who was bred from the early Mardon / Staf Van Reet lines, with his sire being retained for stock and his dam won the Federation as a young bird. His nest mate was put into the Federation breeder/buyer and purchased back, and went on to win the race’. Keith and Sue Arnold have won the RPRA West Midland Region Sprint Award four years on the trot and won 1st RPRA UK Sprint Champion in 2006 / 2007 / 2009 and 2ndRPRA UK Sprint Champion in 2008. Brilliant fanciers with fantastic pigeons! Is their 2009 RPRA winner, Champion ‘Mr. Perfect’, going to be Keith and Sue’s greatest Staf Van Reet yet?


The Arnolds had only four young birds races in the Warwickshire Federation in the 2009 season and won four times 1st Federation, plus 1st, 3rd and 4thGold Ring. They have produced yet another champion Staf Van Reet, in the form of their blue hen, Champion ‘Miss Perfect’ and she flew the four races on the double jealousy system, with two hens being mated to one cock bird. This fantastic hen recorded: 1st Club, 1st Federation Bath (2151 birds), 1stClub, 1 st Federation Taunton (1840 birds), 1st Club, 1st Federation Newton Abbott (1271 birds), 2nd Club, 2nd Federation Yelverton (968 birds) beaten by a loft mate and finished up the season by winning an RPRA West Midland Region Award. When I asked Keith about the breeding of ‘Miss Perfect’ he told me,‘She is bred from Champion "05" our 2007 RPRA UK Sprint Champion when paired to "Gold Again" our 2007 Warwickshire Federation Gold Ring winner, who in turn is a daughter from Champion "39" our 2006 RPRA UK Sprint Champion. A big winner paired to a daughter from a big winner breeds a big winner, it's not rocket science mate is it?’ Champion ‘Mr. Perfect’ is mated to Champion ‘Miss Perfect’ this season; the perfect pair, which I think must be rated as one of the best racing pairs of Staf Van Reets in Europe!

From the last young bird race of the 2009 season from Yelverton ‘Miss Perfect’ was beaten by only 45 seconds, by a loft mate, stopping her recording a tally of four young bird races, winning four times 1st Federation. The pigeon that was on the clock first that day was the game little blue hen, ‘Yelverton Lady’, 1st Club, 1st Sect, 1st Federation Young Bird Championship Yelverton (968 birds) and she is a full sister to ‘Champion 58’. Another top performer that day was the Staf Van Reet blue hen ‘Miss Gold’ and she won 1st Warwickshire Federation Gold Ring Yelverton 2009. Keith and Sue only keep a small select team of young birds to race each season, but are very successful, winning the Federation and ‘Gold Ring’ many times through the years. In the 2008 season they had another outstanding young bird in the form of the blue pied cock ‘Flash’ and he won the Federation twice, including the longest race from Yelverton.

Keith and Sue’s 2009 Federation results were: Old Birds: 1st, 9th Federation Bath (1179 birds), 1st, 5th Federation Bath (1884 birds), 1st, 3rd, 11thFederation Taunton (2044 birds), 1st, 4th Federation Kingsdown (1229 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th Federation Yelverton (1037 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, Federation Newton Abbot (1113 birds), 1st, 2nd, 8th, Federation Kingsdown (1018 birds), 1st, 2ndFederation Newton Abbot (1025 birds), 2nd, 6th, 11th, 14th, Federation Yelverton, 3rd, 7th, 11th Federation Newton Abbot (1523 birds), 4th, 9th Federation Newton Abbot (1802 birds), 6th, 12th, 20th Federation Wincanton (2000 birds), 9th Federation Kingsdown (1113 birds), 11th, 13th Federation Yelverton (1581 birds): Young Birds (only competed in last four races and ‘Gold Ring’ Race): 1st, 3rd, 8th Federation Bath (2151 birds), 1st, 2nd, 5th, 15th Federation Taunton (1840 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd Federation Newton Abbot (1271 birds), 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 11th, 13 th Federation Young Bird Championship 1st, 3rd, 5th Federation Gold Ring Yelverton. Keith and Sue won every club race that they competed in sending a maximum of 18 old birds and 14 young birds. Brilliant pigeon racing!

Recently I had the great pleasure of meeting Keith’s mother and father, Ken and Jean, when I visited their home in High Wycombe. Keith’s home in Leamington Spa is about 100 miles up the M40 Motorway from my home in Surrey and quite often Keith and I meet up in High Wycombe, which is half way, when exchanging youngsters. Ken was one of the pigeon racing Arnold Brothers of South London and now has a wonderful big bird room in his back, and specialises in Norwich and Red Canaries. When I met Ken we had a good couple of hours talking pigeons and looking around his wonderful Canary room.

Keith's dad Ken started in pigeons back in 1940 when he looked after his brothers pigeons while he was away in the war. When Fil came out of the army the partnership of Arnold Brothers was formed and they flew in the Clapham and Battersea Club and the Fulham Club in South West London. The Arnolds were a real pigeon family because three other brothers George, Fred and Alec also kept pigeons at various times which is not surprising because there father flew the short distance pigeons, milers, before them, so you could say that it was in their blood. In the early fifties Ken decided to fly on his own and built his loft a few doors away from the old partnerships loft which were in Fils garden. Kens family of pigeons were built around the J. L. Baker, Harry Branch and the Champion ‘L29’ strain and in those days the pigeons were marked on Wandsworth Station. The full race baskets were put on to a train and were sent up to Waterloo where they were then transferred on to the race train, which was bound for the race point for liberation next day. Around the early sixties the homes in Wandsworth were up for demolition and Ken and his wife Jean along with the young Keith moved into a new high rise flat in Wimbledon so the pigeons had to go, but they eventually moved on to Carshalton in Surrey where most of the other brothers were now living and before long a pigeon loft was erected in the garden and the K. Arnold & Son partnership was formed flying with the Mitcham Common flying Club.

Ken was also very much interested in Canaries and at this time built his own bird room and joined the Merton and Morden bird club and when Keith got married and moved all the pigeons to his home, Ken decided that cage birds were is man interest and has kept them ever since. Keith moved up to Leamington Spa and his parents relocated to Princes Risborough in Buckinghamshire where Ken pursued his passion for canaries and has become a very successful breeder and showman with his Norwich and Red canaries. Many major prizes have been won both in the local and region shows including winning at the large Thame Show which are the just rewards for the many hours that Ken spends tending to his birds. Ken has been a member of the Princes Risborough Cage Bird Society for many years and is now the Show Manager and Chairman of the club.

I would like to finish this week’s article by congratulating Keith and Sue on yet another brilliant racing season, which has produced their ‘Perfect Pair’. Well done to you both! I can be contacted with any pigeon comments on telephone number: 01372 453480. See yer!


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