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Top Bombing – J and G Dutton

Tucked away in the West Midlands near to Birmingham airport is the town of Solihull. You might be aware of it if you are a Land Rover fan or liked Ocean Colour Scene back in your youth, but other than that you would probably quite happily go through life with no knowledge of the Town. However, within its leafy streets there lives the father and son partnership of Gary and Jimmy Dutton. These two gentlemen have stealthily moved up through the pigeon racing ranks to the position they find themselves in now – namely one of the top sprint lofts in the Midlands. I first became aware of them when I flew in Warwickshire Federation and their federation – The South Midlands  - was convoyed by our fed. Their name was a constant presence at the top end of the sheet each week and this has remained the case over the intervening 6 or 7 years. In fact their star has remained in the ascent whilst other lofts around them have faded over the same period, and in this time they have consolidated their already impressive results. I first visited the partnership in the Autumn of 2011 to pick up 3 latebred hens off their widowhood cock who had won all before them that season. I was massively impressed then with what I saw on that visit and the team of Lambrechts that they were putting together, and since then they have got stratospheric. One of the problems with specialising in sprinting at federation level is that your sphere of influence is limited – by that I mean that regardless of your success you are often unknown outside of your federation. However, with the case of Dutton boys  many top pigeon men have been whispering their name in dark corners of club houses for quite a few years and have drawn out of their own back yards to check out the rumours and most have come away with something, but we will come back to that later.

So, what has happened over the past 10 years to get the partnership to the point where they are now? The partnership have been decent club racers for a while, and Jimmy will tell you that he benefited from being a charming,  witty and charismatic 16 year old by being gifted young birds off the best racers some local fanciers were racing. They had a knack of getting their hands on a good bird and more importantly knowing how to race it, but what they were missing was a family of birds that would consistently produce the right material for sprint racing with the best. Jimmy decided to do something about this and stuck his head above the garden fence to see who was doing what at the distance they wanted to succeed at. In one of the neighbouring federations there was a guy called Rob Horton who was ripping up trees in Tamworth Fed with his family of sprint birds that originated from the Belgian loft of Carl and Cyril Lambrechts. They contacted Rob and bought 4 pairs from him, these originated from the original Bill Duckworth imports that came in to the country in the 1990’s. As Jimmy continued to do his homework he realised that these birds had found their way in to a few lofts in other federations around him, so they had a look, bought a few to try against their own and straight away magical things started to happen to their race results.

Where the magic happens – the entire set up for Jimmy and Gary.

Now, obviously having the right birds isn’t enough, you need a sound skills set to manage them and get the best out of them. It would therefore be discourteous to have you thinking that it was all down to the birds, what we saw happening was a perfect storm of top quality sprint birds finding their way in to very capable hands of Gary and Jimmy. What elevated the loft results was having a family of birds performance bred over many years to excel at exactly the discipline the Dutton boys were aiming at. When I first visited I noticed that the landing board for the widowhood cocks was effectively a sheet of ply that had been slightly trimmed down – but not much – at the time I wondered why they felt they needed one this size. As it turns out the Lambrechts raced as a team and double figure drops are not uncommon, and this is something they start as young birds.  The partnership are very open about their systems and successes and a part of this is having a few fanciers in the garden on a Saturday to watch the birds racing up the back lane for the loft as a group.  This family trait was exploited well by the partnership and they quickly built a team of widowhood pigeons bred around these initial introductions. Having seen the potential of these birds Jimmy made contact with the Lambrecht team and a visit was arranged, They liked what they saw and over the next few years complete rounds of young birds were bought, brought back to Solihull and sorted out by Mr Basket. Over this time a very close friendship was forged between both partnerships, and this saw the Dutton boys being able to purchase the parents of any of their imports that succeeded. They also bought, and more importantly were gifted some of the top racing cocks from Lambrechts own team. Will won’t surprise you to realise that this approach saw the Duttons  establish a stock loft that is second only to Lambrechts own in terms of the bloodlines available, plus they were now at the point where they were retiring multi federation topping birds to pull back across the next wave of direct lambrechts. With consistent results came increased confidence in what they had on their hands and this saw Gary and Jimmy looking round for open races to test their birds in and they also started to compete across the pond with the MNFC. This move will have silenced a few of their critics who were muttering about sprinting up motorways and corridors, especially as the birds did not let them down at the250 + mile races they were asked to compete in.

 

Through their friendship with Carl Lambrecht they were introduced to another sprint family of birds from the loft of Alex Docx – a neighbour and competitor of the Lambrechts.  Alex had a few young birds available due to a cancelled order and Karl recommended that the Dutton team should buy and try them against their own established team. As they came highly recommended by a fancier they rated the boys called round to see Alex, they liked the man and the birds so bought the young birds, brought them home, raced them and by Jimmys own admission got the shock of their lives. These Docx birds were a real revelation and from the start stood up to their own established team of sprinters. Now, consider that this handful of birds were up against a team of performance selected sprinters that had over the previous 6 years been ripping the trees up to get back to their Solihull lofts. The Duttons realised that they had stumbled on some special, even more so than when they had brought in the Lambrechts. They made the decision to follow the same approach as before – they went straight back had a proper look at the birds and the man and decided to fill their boots so ordered the complete first and second round and raced them to select the best and this is something they have continued each year since and there is no doubt that it works.

Some of the quality birds owned by The Dutton team.

What really impressed them with Alex was that he only raced 12 widowhood cocks and a small team of young birds and kept a few pairs of stock birds - and that was the total set up. This meant that competition for a nest box in the race team was cut throat so only the very, very best young cocks get moved across. This results in a family of super performance birds purpose bred for the sprint racing that prevails in and around Berlaar. The Docx birds are a true family, built on successive generations of performance birds that Alex has raced himself with introductions from top birds he has sourced from local competitors who he raced against on a weekly basis.  He regularly swaps and shares top birds from the Lambrechts so there is a common thread with the Dutton’s existing family and this might explain why the few times the boys have crossed the two families has produced fireworks. These have all been pulled through each other and the offspring tested hard and some might make the grade and be incorporated in to the Docx family.

Jimmy and Gary with Alex Docx

Having handled a lot of the Lambrechts on my visit in 2011, I was expecting the Docx birds to be similar in build. To be fair the cocks are in the same vein but a touch bigger, especially across the back. What blew my socks off were the hens. The Docx hens are little powerhouses that sit in your hand and throb with potential, you get the clear impression that you are handling a coiled spring. Their pectoral muscles sit tight and ampIe and they are constantly looking round them.  If that wasn’t enough a lot of them are powder mealies and I am a sucker for a little mealy hen!! Not only that, but after you have handled one then you have handled them all, peas in a pod as a true family should be. I commented to Jimmy that you would definitely want a few of these little ladies in your arsenal and I have no doubt that they will be up at the front of the pack up to 400 miles, just the job for a big part of any channel programme. It is a pity that work commitments and being a new parent who still has his water wings on has put increasing demands on the time that Jimmy and his dad have with the birds. This has meant that something has had to give and for 2017 it will be the small team of hens that they raced alongside the cocks with devastating effect.

Now, obviously the Docx cocks are the real deal as well as can be seen from their results, but for me the real secret weapon here is the sheer depth of quality in the Docx hens, and when you run your hand and eyes over them they are all a job lot – each one bristles with energy and dances on their tiptoes. I have no doubt that when these get established in a few more lofts you will see the potential of these hens being utilised by those lucky enough to get their hands on them.

As I mentioned earlier, these Docx birds have hit the ground running and have already run amok in The Warwick, Tamworth and South Birmingham Federations. They have also muscled in on a few of the Open races that are popular around their neck of the woods and tested their birds and skills against the very best and as the few results I have used will show they let their competitors know they had come to party. This year the Docx birds have been responsible for winning the Warwickshire federation Gold Ring Race, and remember when I talked about multiple drops earlier – well the Duttons had the first 25 positions in this race and believe me the Docx birds were well represented. What makes this result all the more impressive is that they are one of the most westerly competing lofts in the fed and also in the Tamworth Federation, so leave any ideas of being on a ‘Golden Mile’ aside. They also mopped up 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Breeder Buyer in the same federation for good measures. These birds have to graft hard for their federation successes, and when you consider the position they are flying to then you begin to realise that these birds must get to the front and break early to hold a wining line – in other words sprinting just like it should be done. Spending any time in the loft with Jimmy makes you realise the bond he has with the birds, they are jockeying for prime position on his head and shoulders and will rush to the front of their box to fight him to the death. I think that this is a big part of their secret if I’m being honest and helps create a loft environment that the birds want to be in and this will go some way to explaining why they race home mob handed on a race day. A big part of the makeup of the family that the Dutton boys have put together is the temperament and character of the birds, and I think this works in unison with the temperament and character of the two men in the partnership – a case of fancier and birds clicking.

Jimmy in his ‘happy place’ showing the bond he has with the birds.

 

The success being achieved by Gary and Jimmy is also being shared by people lucky enough to have sourced birds from them. Many top sprint/middle distance lofts are reaping the rewards of investing in blood from the partnership including Rod Sparkes, Alan Dungworth, Steve Foster, Tidbury and Garrett and Steve Maylett. In fact Steve has been so impressed he has come back to dip his bread again with an order of 2017 Alex Docx young birds. The partnership have also bred the parents of birds to score beyond the restraints of federation sprint racing for many fanciers including  Mr and Mrs Hargreaves of Stoke –on-Trent and Rob Jarrat from Northamptonshire. Rob bought 6 young birds from the partnership and these are directly responsible for birds to win 14 x 1st clubs and 6x x1st Federation. They have also bred birds to score 1st, 2 x2nd , 5th and 8TH Section in the MNFC and also Ace Middle Distance award in the South East Section  in 2015, managing to clock up the lowest winning co –efficiency of any of the section winners. What makes this more impressive is that Rob clocked up these with a small team raced on the natural system.

I don’t normally list a load of results  but given the statement I made earlier about the prowess and ability of the birds the Dutton boys have put together I would like to run a few past you. In 2016 alone they clocked up 7x 1st , 3 x 2nd and 2 x 3rd Federation and this is only counting the first bird on the result – remember these birds come mob handed on a race day and they were competing against up to 2,072 birds. The young bird team this year consisted of a significant percentage of direct and first generation Docx birds and they did not disappoint including 1-2-3-4 in the South Birmingham Federation, 1-2-3-4-5-6 in Warwick Federation and 2-3-4-5-6-7 in the Tamworth Federation. Three different feds, but the same results so no advantage from drag, wind or loft location. In the few open races that the Dutton’s competed in they were 1st and 2nd in The Birch Coppice and beaten on a decimal in The Bromford open, having to be happy with 2nd,3rd , 5th and 6th . This past season has seen them win £7,000 in prize money – not an amount to be sneezed at.

Having had the pleasure of seeing the team of stock and racers housed by Gary and Jimmy, it only serves to reinforce why they are stringing together the sets of results that have made a lot of people sit up and take notice. They are that lethal combination of top fanciers with the knowledge and know how to get the best out of their birds. They have taken this skills set and applied it a team of birds that were specifically sourced to do a job and the end results are deadly. Let me finish with a bit of advice, if you get the chance to bring in some blood from this loft don’t hesitate. The Cyril and Carl Lambrechts have been phenomenal birds that have lit up the British racing scene, but believe you me the Alex Docx birds will move things up a gear. I think these hens alone will be making a few people glad they got on board at the start. Like I said, if you get a chance at these birds fill yer boots!!

Bogtrotter

 

 

 

B.I.F.S.

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