Premier Breeding Stud – Patrington
The month of September saw me take up the invitation to spend two days in Patrington, near Hull, to view the new super Premier Breeding Stud and I had three friends with me, in the form of Peter Taylor, Brian Goodwin and Peter ‘Fat Wallet’ Mercer, who joined me for the 250 miles drive up to Yorkshire. Brian’s Sat Nav was a bit out of salts and it took us near eight hours to complete the five hour journey, but we did enjoy going on the scenic route, and we had a good laugh with the two Peters sitting in the back seat. I was looking forward to meeting up with my friends Brian Bolton and John Williamson, who I had not seen for a while and meeting Brian Goodwin’s friend for the first time, London exile Tony Seery. The Stud is owned by Graham Sparkes and it is sites on his Patrington Haven Leisure Park, which is very nice caravan site with 550 plots. The site is very high quality, with each plot having its own garden and car parking space, and it has a big range of activities including its own fishing lake, swimming pool and club house. We arrived at Patrington in late afternoon and were met by Tony Seery, who took us to his big plush caravan, where we were going to stay for the night. I must say, Tony only moved up to the north to join the Stud work force in June and is really enjoying his new life working with the pigeons! The head of the working team at the Premier Stud is Brian Bolton, half the Bolton & Williamson partnership and his racing record over the last 40 years in the sport speak for it’s self. Brian is one of the best fancier in the North East of England today and is a master at breeding and racing pigeons! He told me on my visit , ‘We believe it is important to have a good experienced staff to look after the birds at Patrington and are happy to have two outstanding fanciers as out loft managers in the form of David Walker of Bridlington and Tony Seery of London. David raced in the Sellers & Walker partnership and won many top prizes including 1st open Midland National Flying Club and Tony won 1st open London & South East Classic Club and 1st open Combine when he raced in the Marriott & Seery partnership in West Drayton’. I found out on this trip to the North East that Brian Bolton was a racing jockey when he was a youngster! Although Brian is very busy running Premier these days, he has raced a few young birds to his loft at Bridlington and raced in two clubs on the weekend of our visit, winning 1st, 11th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 18th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th open Combine Huntington and 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th 14th, 15th Federation (805 birds) Peterborough.
The second day saw us awake early and as we sat in the local café eating our home cooked full English breakfast there was an atmosphere of great anticipation of the great day in front of us, looking at the Premier Stud’s quality stock birds. The Stud has carried out an intensive research of the top fanciers and the best up and coming fanciers in Europe before purchasing any of their stock birds. They were not just looking to see what these fanciers were winning themselves, but also what top birds they were producing for others. The Premier Stud has spent a small fortune on obtaining their stock from some of these fanciers and is now proud to state they have some of the finest stock birds in Europe. One of the top stock hens at the Premier Stud is the champion racing blue chequer hen, ‘Racilis’, and she was purchased for five figured sum from the Dutch ace, Gerard Koopman. They have 90 direct birds from C. & G. Koopman including six from ‘Kleine Dirk’, three from ‘Golden Lady’ and four from ‘Annelies’. Another champion racer at Patrington is the blue cock, ‘Blue Diamond’, and he was purchased from Van Boxmeer of Holland. The Boxmeer Conimix family that are Wal Soontijen / Janssen based pigeons are winning in the highest competition in the Netherlands. The Stud houses 40 direct Van Boxmeer stock birds from all the top lines. The Premier Stud also owns 60 direct Dirk Van Dyke pigeons, nine direct from his ace pigeon ‘De Kannibaal’ and 40 direct from A. & H. Reynaert, including ten breeders off Champion ‘Figo’, winner of 1st open National (12,266 birds) and is responsible for many winners with up to 99,000 birds. Other families housed at the Patrington stud are: Heremans – Ceuster, Hubert Schroyns – Houbens, Marina Van Der Velde, Anne Van Meerkerk, Lucien Geerts, Jan Van Der Pasch, Reinerink – Janssen / Van Loon, Kees Bosua and Roland Janssen. All the Bolton & Williamson of Bridlington / Van Loon stock birds are housed at the Premier and I must these wonderful blue pigeons were my favourites when viewing the birds on our visit. I had the opportunity to visit the loft of Brian Bolton and John Williamson with the ‘Many Miles with Mott’ video camera in the mid 1990’s and still think to this day that it was one of the best loft visits I have ever had. One of their best racing hens, ‘Oh So Sharp’, is at Patrington and what brilliant racer this little blue has been in recent seasons! She is a beautiful little powder blue pigeon and has won several first prizes in races with up to 5,312 birds competing. A fantastic hen!
Well how can I describe the loft set up at the Premier Stud, except by just saying they are fantastic! They have cost a small fortune, being set out in three compounds and all have tiled roofs for good ventilation, flights so the inmates can get out in the weather and get fresh air, self cleaning nest boxes and wooden slated floors. All the loft have a nice roomy corridor running along the front, so the visitors can look at the stock birds up close and handle them if they wish. All the nest boxes are colour coded and all the sections have signs to indicate what family the inmates are. We spent most of the day walking around the wonderful set up and Tony showed us the latest loft to be erected, and that was very impressive, with it have small compartments to house separate pairs. It is housing all the stock hens this winter, but next season it will house all the main stock pairs and this will guarantee parentage, as each pair will have their own section. The Stud has well over two hundred metres of loft to house the two thousand stock birds, which are made up of eighteen of the worlds best pigeon families, chosen to cover sprint, middle distance and long distance. Roland Janssen and his wife visited the Premier Stud recently, as they wanted to see where their ‘star’ birds were housed and with the help of his interpreter he said me was very impressed with the lofts and the superb condition and quality of the stock birds.
The management raced pigeon at the Premier Stud in the 2007 season and won 56 first prizes in several clubs that year. Some of the positions won were: 1st, 2nd, 3rd section (423 birds), 5th, 6th, 7th Federation (1261 birds) Pier Tower, 1st section (1336 birds), 1st Combine (4497 birds) Melton Mowbray, 1st, 2nd section (439 birds) Whitley Bay, 2nd, 3rd, 4th section (355 birds), 6th, 9th, 10th Federation (1081 birds) Berwick, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th section (1323 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th (4358 birds) Wanstead, 1st section (354 birds) Dunbar, 2nd section (988 birds), 2nd Combine (3194 birds) Eastbourne, 1st section (567 birds), 1st Combine (1844 birds) Arras, 1st, 3rd section (602 birds), 1st, 3rd Combine (2150 birds) Huntington, 4th, 6th section (823), 4th, 6th Combine (2867 birds) Wanstead, 1st section (355 birds), 1st Combine (968 birds) Eastbourne, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th section (577 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Federation (1178 birds) Whitby, 1st, 2nd, 3rd section (491), 1st, 2nd, 3rd Federation (1066 birds) Whitley Bay, 1st, 4th section (1185 birds), 1st, 4th Combine (3999 birds) Reed, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th section (969 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th Combine (3188 birds) Wanstead, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th section (283 birds), 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th Federation (609 birds) Alnwick, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th section (440 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th Combine (2145 birds) Eastbourne, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th section (904 birds), 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th 12th Combine (2872 birds) Sleaford, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th section (856 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th Combine (3163 birds) Huntington. In August 2007 a decision was made to concentrate more on the breeding of the pigeons and less on the racing. It was felt that in order to supply the best possible pigeons and to give the highest level of service to each and every customer of the stud, racing at Premier had to stop.
Graham Sparkes was born in Beverley, East Yorkshire and at the age of fifteen his father gave him a few pigeons, which developed his life time passion for the birds. He started his first business, ‘Atlas Caravans’, which manufactured holiday for leisure parks across Europe and after eleven years of good success he decided to sell the company and try his hand at building a five star holiday home leisure park out of a grass field in Patrington. The leisure park Graham started over twenty years ago is now known as ‘Patrington Haven Leisure Park’ and has won many awards including Yorkshire’s Best Leisure Park three times, Yorkshire in Bloom, plus many other top awards through the years. The Premier Breeding Stud was launched in 2006 which started with the long hard process of the development work with more and more specifically designed lofts being constructed and extensive research began looking at different fanciers and their winning bloodlines. Graham was pleased to announce that Brian Bolton had joined him in his venture and together they set off to develop the breeding stud at Patrington and the rest is history!
We really have looked at one of the best pigeon breeding studs in the sport this week. Thanks to Tony Seery for giving up his day off to show us around the Patrington set up! I can be contacted on telephone: 01372 463480. See yer!