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Keith Mott writes about winning fanciers past and present

DARYLL LUXFORD OF HORLEY

Daryll Luxford was an outstanding fancier in the mid 1990s recording several major positions with young birds in the L&SECC and NFC events, including twice 1st open L&SECC Guernsey, but after a few years had to retire from the sport because of person problems. He returned to pigeon racing in 2004 and took up where he left off, winning major prizes. In spite of recent health prolems Daryll Luxford enjoyed an incredible 2008 old bird racing season, with the highlights being, 1st section, 4th open NFC Alencon (7,067 birds), 9th open L&SECC Tarbes, 93rd and 115th open L&SECC Tours. The 2008 star pigeon for the Horley loft was the handsome blue cock, ‘Oakleigh Belle Bleu’, and he recorded 1st section, 4th open NFC Alencon, 115th open L&SECC Tours, 2nd East Grinstead Tours Nomination and previuosly flew Tarbes (548 miles) with L&SECC in 2007. His sire was bred by Steve Deely from his good pigeon, ‘Young Windsong’, and the dam of ‘Belle Bleu’ was a Camphuis / Sanger Janssen stock hen. Daryll tells me his 2008 Tarbes pigeon wasted a lot of time trapping on his return from the 548 miles L&SECC race, but was recorded on the day of liberation and gave his a lot of pleasure. The pigeon, ‘Oakleigh Corinna’s Courage’, was bred from John Puddephatt blodlines, through Gavin Mitchell and has several good performances to his credit, including 2008: 9th open L&SECC Tarbes (721 birds), 258th open L&SECC Alencon (2466 birds), 2007: 673rd open NFC Alencon (6807 birds).

 

The 2008 season was Daryll’s first on the widowhood system and generally was pleased with his yearlings, concentrating mainly on the Guernsey races with the East Grinstead Midweek Club and won 2nd, 2nd, 2nd and 7th club in four races. In the future seasons Daryll is racing his old birds entily on the widhood system and concentratrate mainly on the Classic and National races. The Horley set up consists of three lofts and he tells me he likes to not over crowd, housing only ten cocks in each section and leaving six nset boxes spare. He has been using deep litter in the lofts, but finds it to dusty, which makes his suffer with coughing and says it’s a priorty this winter to convert to grill floors and clean out regularly. He had health problems in recent months and could not pair up until 15th January, which he thinks is not ideal. Daryll had to have a major operation, so could not train the birds and by early June the widhood cocks were not flying so well. He says he has learnt a lot about the system in the 2008 season and with a lot of advise from his friend Doug Gatland of Reigate, who is a past winner of the Pau Classic with the L&SECC, he will doing things a bit differently in the future. In 2009 the Tarbes and Pau pigeons will be paired up in mid March and the middle distance widhood cocks in early January, with the yearlings only being bred from when they have shown some good form in mid season. He likes a good corn mixture for his birds and produces his own formula by mixing Standard Widhood mixture, Iris mixture and Sporting High Potein mixture, with a few added Peanuts. Because of his recent health problems and his temparry restriced mobility, Daryll has installed the ETS system in his lofts and maintains it is good as long as you can get the birds in. He lost 17 minutes at the L&SECC Tarbes race!

 

The main families kept are direct John Puddephatt from his super cocks, ‘Highdown John II’, ‘Highdown Duke’ and ‘Highdown Supreme’, for the long distance, Roland / Janssens from John Mellor and Louella Pigeon World and several other performance pigeons, including direct children of 1st open National winners. Daryll keeps a maximum of eleven pairs of stock birds and breeds about 35 youngsters for raing each season. He starts his training with several 5 mile tosses and says, ‘look at athletes they don’t just go out and start running matharans, they biuld up to the long events’ and that how he builds his pigeons up to the races from the south of France. They get two channel races from about 150 miles, then into Tours (365 miles) before going to Tarbes (548 miles) and get the usual short training from 20 miles as needed. The young birds get over 50 training tosses up to 55 miles and race through to the NFC and L&SECC races. Daryll tried the darkness system in the 2008 season and maintains young birds need rest as much as quality exercise, getting the balance correct is very important. His current employment is Contract and Insurance manager for for East Sussex Fire Service and is based in Eastbourne, an 85 miles trip to work every day, but says he has never taken his birds to work for training. Darryll has won some outstanding positions with his pigeons through the years, including 1st open L&SECC Guernsey (twice), but inspite of losing time his biggest thrill was clocking ‘Oakleigh Corrina’s Courage’ at 18.51hrs on the day of liberation from the 2008 L&SECC Tarbes classic, to record 7th section, 9th open.

 

Another top performer for the Luxford loft in 2008 was the blue chequer cock, ‘Oakleigh Erin’s Superstar’, and he won 94th open L&SECC Tours (1980 birds), 1st East Grinstead Tours Nomination, 932nd open NFC Alencon (6807 birds). His sire and dam were both bred by Gavin Mitchell from John Puddephatt stock. The loft won a list of prizes, the highlights being: Reigate Coly – 2nd club, 2nd Federation Poole, East Grinstead Midweek Club – 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 7th Guernsey, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Tours Nomination, 1st Angers Nomination, L&SECC – 93rd, 115th open Tours, 9th open Tarbes, NFC  - 1st section, 4th open Alencon.

Daryll is 46 years of age and the only other Luxford family member in the pigeon fancy was his uncle, Peter Robb, who gave him his first birds on starting up in 1990. In the early days birds and advice were obtained from Mike Armitage of Ash, Nigel Lewellyn of Southampton and Doug Gender of Storrington. His first club was the Horley North Road and his first major prize was 3rd Federation Peterborough. The 1995 season saw Daryll Luxford have his third season on the trot with outstanding performances in the Classic young bird races. In the Young Bird National from Sartilly in 1995 the Luxford loft recorded 4th, 17th & 48th Sect, 40th, 144th & 314th Open, 1st & 6th Surrey Championship Club. At club level the babies recorded three times 1st Club, five times 2nd Club and 1st Continental Club from Poole. Daryll didn't fly many old bird races in the 1995 season but did chalk up 49th & 62nd Sect, 349th & 524th Open, 4th & 6th Surrey Championship Club from the Pau (550 miles) National.

In 1994 Daryll won London & South East Classic Club's young bird Classic from Guernsey for the second year running. The partners' 1994 winner was a March-hatched blue chequer hen named 'Lobelia' which only had two races as a youngster. She was first bird on the clock from Lyndhurst (66 miles) to record 12th Club, then into the Classic Guernsey (154 miles). This game hen recorded 1st Open, 1st SW Sect, lifting £825 prize and pool money and £75 vouchers from Stock Nutrition. Sire of 'Lobelia' flewthe Channel 12 times in three seasons including the Pau National in 1994. The dam was bred by Doug Genders of Storrington and was one of Daryll's favourite pigeons. Daryll won 4th Section, 40th Open Sartilly (NFC), 1st Surrey Championship Club in 1995 with his blue chequer pied cock '12', he was a full brother to 'Lobelia' the 1994 Classic winner. '12' was only lightly raced in 1995 and also won 3rd Club Poole, beaten by two loftmates. Highlight of the 1993 season was when their blue pied cock 'Rufio' won 1st Open, 1st SW Sect L&SECCGuernsey (1,465 birds). This game blue pied cock was the only pigeon in the convoy to record over 1400 ypm and his nestmate, also a blue pied cock, called 'Peter Pan', won 1st Club Lyndhurst and 2nd Club Lyndhurst in 1993. A fantastic performance by this nest pair which only had three races each as young birds in 1993.

 

The main loft in the 1990’s was 15ft x 8ft with three sections, corridors and Sputnik trapping. The second loft was 15ft x 6ft and housed the young bird team. Daryll maintaied warmth and ventilation are very important factors in good loft design. Daryll kept 16 pairs of Natural racers and bred about 50 youngsters each season. He paired up all the old birds in late January and the racers rear only one round, then they are trained from 50 miles up to the first race. He didn’t like the race team feeding youngsters and racing. At that time he believed the Widowhood system was the way forward for inland racing although his loft was geared for Channel races, as he maintained an experienced hen will always give that little extra over 500 miles. On restarting in the sport in 2004 Daryll obtained six stock birds from Keith Wilkins, which were Van Bruane, Kirkpatrick and Kellen and eventually purchased the John Puddephatt long distance bloodlines direct and from Gavin Mitchell. Daryll has always been keen on sport and played Hockey at the highest level for Sussex and England, and competed around the world with the British Army. As a 15 year old he had the 5th fastest time in Europe at the 3,000!

 

Daryll tells me he likes to pair good performance pigeon together and pairs John Puddephatt’s together to maintain the winning long distance family. He is developing a good sprint family of Roland / Janssens and says his best sprint pair bred ‘Oakleigh Belle Bleu’, the 4th open NFC Alencon cock. Daryll likes to breed close and will pair brother and sister together as long as they are from a rock solid family of good performers, and likes the odd late bred for stock. He thinks winter is the rest time for the pigeons, but years ago he liked to show his birds and has won BIS at the local events. His birds may only be let out of the loft for exercise two or three times during the winter period of October to December. He was chairman of the Reigate Coly for five years and sat on the L&SECC committee for a couple of seasons. He believes pigeon racing has progressed over the years, which has made fanciers keener and more professional with their feeding and racing methods, and maintains all clubs should have an open radius. Daryll loves Classic and National racing, but says they should have two races from the long distance every season and should have a look at joining the International. He maintains that club racing should be completely over hauled and every none trouble making fancier should be excepted into any club. When I asked Daryll who he thought was the best local fancier his reply was, ‘Without doubt, we have a very strong club locally, with some very fine fanciers, but for consistantly at the distance it must be the L&SECC Pau winner Doug Gatland. His widowhood team do both L&SECC Pau and NFC Tarbes on the day of liberation, but for other racing the other two local L&SECC winners, Peter Shibbs and the Neil & Dick Steptoe partnership are both incredible flyers.

There you have it, the Daryll Luxford story! I can be contacted on telephone number: 01372 463480. See yer!

B.I.F.S.

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