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Keith Mott

Three Borders Federation 2011 Round Up (Part 3)


For me to start this article by saying that Dom & Claire McCoy’s ‘Gladiator Lofts’ had a good year racing in 2011 would be an understatement and as the season progressed the performances got even better and better. They won eleven firsts in the very strong Shepperton club, including Falaise, Messac and Bergerac, and 4th Federation Messac (857 birds), 2nd Federation, 4th SMT Combine Bergerac (450 miles), 7th, 18th Federation Taunton (1525 birds), 9th Federation Newton Abbot (885 birds). There is a bit of a story behind Dom and Claire’s Bergerac win, in the fact that they had never sent to this 450 mile racepoint before and they only sent one pigeon to record this brilliant performance. The Bergerac winner was their good two year old Super Crack blue cock, ‘Gladiator Boy’ and he was bred by Dom’s good friend Brian Leadbeater. This super pigeon won 1st club St Nazaire, 1st club Exeter and 1st club Wincanton as a yearling, and this season he was raced unpaired recorded 1st club Exeter, 4th club Messac, 1st club, 2nd Federation, 4th SMT Combine Bergerac. Dom tells me he paired ‘Gladiator Boy’ up and slipped a small youngster under him just before the longest old bird race from Bergerac. Great pigeon racing!


The McCoys have a wonderful loft set up at their home in Ashford and in recent years have dedicated most of their lives racing their Van Loon, Jan Huybregts and Karel Boeckx pigeons, with outstanding success. On my recent visit to ‘Gladiator Lofts’ I was particularly impressed with Dom’s five compartment 40ft stock loft, which had big roomy sections and 10ft aviary attached. The breeding sections and the nest boxes were very big and well ventilated, and the inmates looked in ‘mint’ condition. The section housing the Van Loon pigeons, which were nearly all blue pigeons, was a sight to behold! I handled several of Dom’s top breeders including his champion mealy cock, ‘Gladiator Del Pierro’, which is the sire and grand sire of countless winner, and winner of 17 firsts racing him self. A fantastic pigeon! He keeps a big team of stock birds, which are paired up the week after the BHW Blackpool show weather permitting and the main part of the stock birds are his fantastic Tom Roden and Bolton & Williamson / Van Loons. The race birds are not bred from, with all the young bird race team coming from the stock loft and he mixes his own corn for the stock birds. When bringing in a new stock bird, Dom looks for a pedigree of winning bloodlines, with a good line of outstanding winning pigeons. The stock loft is cleaned regularly and a deep litter is used on the floor. All Dom’s birds are parted at the end of September to get on with their mould and are given regular baths in the aviaries. The race birds are housed in very smart 44ft loft, which runs down the side of the garden and Dom told me he races the old birds on the Roundabout system because it suits his life style, and the Widowhood is a terrible waste of good hens. Hen trains the old birds together, releasing the hens first followed by their mates, and by the time the cocks arrive home the hens are already locked up in their section. The sexes are kept separated mostly from Sunday until Thursday and are allowed to run together in the nest box section on Friday before going in to marking. Dom says, ‘the name of the game is keep them motivated’.


One of Gladiator’s best seasons was in 2010, when Dom’s young birds finished the season in fantastic style by winning 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Three Borders Federation (1,422 birds) Wincanton, 1st Three Borders Federation (836 birds) Exeter. Brilliant pigeon racing in one of the strongest Federations in the South of England! The two ‘Gladiator Lofts’ young bird Federation winners, which were both blue cocks, won other races in 2010 including ‘Gladiator Prince’, 1st Three Borders Federation Wincanton, plus 1st club Kingsdown and ‘Gladiator No Surprise’ 1st Three Borders Federation Exeter, plus 1st club Kingsdown. I recently spent a most enjoyable couple of hours in the company of Dom and Claire at their loft in Ashford and Dom showed he a string of premier performers, which included a young blue cock that I thought was outstanding, and he was ‘Gladiator Destroyer’, winner of 14th open L&SECC Guernsey (1,092 birds), 4th Three Borders Federation Wincanton (1,422 birds), 1st club Exeter. A really outstanding youngster!


Colin Crook and Andy Iddenden won the Three Borders Federation ‘Ken Besant Memorial Trophy’ in the 2011 season for ‘best pigeon of the year’ with their good blue cock, ‘Frank’ and he recorded: 2nd Federation Kingsdown, 2nd Federation Yeovil (twice beaten by loft mates), 7th Federation Wincanton, 14th Federation Wincanton, 16th Federation Kingsdown, 23rd Federation Newton Abbot.


A partnership who has been outstanding for the last 30 years is the 2011 Three Borders Federation champions, Frank and Susan Carson of Mitcham and they bred Colin and Andy’s good Gaby Vandenbeele blue widowhood cock, ‘Frank’. He has won a list of premier positions in the last three seasons including 1st Three Borders Federation Kingsdown. This game cock raced to Frank’s loft as a young bird and yearling and when Frank packed up for a while in 2008, the pigeon was gifted to Crook & Iddenden, too set the place alight with brilliant performances. The 2011 old bird season has proved to be one of Crook & Iddenden’s best to date recording: 6th, 7th Federation Wincanton (1865 birds), 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th Federation Yeovil (2230 birds), 1st, 2nd, 9th, 14th, 15th, 16th Federation Kingsdown, 15th Federation Newton Abbot (1625 birds), 23rd Federation Newton Abbot (1476 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 12th, 16th Federation Kingsdown (1321 birds), 14th, 19th, 20th Federation Kingsdown (1090 birds), 14th Federation Taunton (1080 birds), 23rd Federation Yeovil. The partner’s brilliant yearling Staf Van Reet widowhood cock won the Federation two weeks on the trot in 2011 and from Kingsdown beat his loft mate on the ETS by only a second. The South Downs RPC partnership were runners up for the Three Borders Federation Individual Points Trophy in the 2011 season.


Chris Slight and Trevor Taylor of the Esher club won the SMT Combine from Messac in June 2010 with their champion yearling Staf Van Reet black hen, ‘Non-Returnable’, which was bred by Crook & Iddenden. In the same race Colin and Andy were 2nd Three Borders Federation, 2nd open SMT Combine, being beaten by the black hen that they bred and gifted to the partners from Esher. The icing on the cake for Colin and Andy was to win 1st open SMT Combine from the last and longest young bird race, flown from Yelverton in mid-September and finish off a brilliant season in great style! Colin and Andy’s 2010 Yelverton SMT Combine winner was their ‘darkness’ Staf Van Reet blue chequer hen, ‘The Combine Hen’, and she was bred from stock birds obtained from Paul Arnold of North Cheam. Her sire is their good dark pied cock, ‘Keith’, and he is a grand son of Paul’s champion breeders, ‘Santa Vos’ and ‘The Guvnor’. She was a member of Crook & Iddenden’s 50 bird strong young bid team in 2010 and had one Federation and the two L&SECC Guernsey races on her build to her Combine win. She was never paired up and flew natural to the perch.


Bobby, Linda and Danny Carter of Ewell are three of nicest people you will ever meet in the sport of pigeon racing and they enjoyed another great season racing in the Three Borders Federation in 2011. Bobby says he is hard working with his pigeons, but told me recently he owes a lot of his outstanding success in recent seasons to his wife, Linda, his son, Danny and good friend, Ron Keeley, who all also are hard workers for the loft. Racing in the very strong Esher & Dist RPC, the partner’s 2011 performance in the Three Borders Federation were: O.B: 2nd, 3rd Federation Wincanton (1865 birds), 4th, 10th, 13th, 22nd, 23rd Federation Wincanton (2105 birds), 13th, 16th, 17th, 18th Federation Yeovil (2230 birds), 5th, 6th Federation Kingsdown (1966 birds), 18th Federation Newton Abbot (1625 birds), 9th, 20th Federation Taunton (1080 birds), 16th, 22nd Federation Yeovil (1021 birds), Y.B: 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th Federation Wincanton (1260 birds), 12th, 20th Federation Yeovil (1497 birds), 20th, 25th Federation Taunton (1525 birds), 15th Federation Yelverton (880 birds).


The Carters race 20 cocks on the widowhood system and all the racers are mated up in December. Bob tells me the widowhood cocks exercise around the loft twice a day and during the racing season are broke down for the first half of the week on Depurative mixture, and then built up with Super Widowhood mixture in the second half of the week. Bob doesn’t show the hens on marking night and the racing cock only get their hen for a short time on their return from the race. The cock are not broke down for the longer race up to 450 miles, being fed on Super Widowhood all week and Bob likes the cocks to be holding 8 to 9 flights for these events. The Carter’s have about 50 young birds to race each year and have raced on the darkness system for the last two seasons, with outstanding success and great losses. Bob says, in his opinion the big losses with the babies each year is because of the Federations clashing! He trains the youngsters every day, weather permitting, up to 30 miles and races them natural to the perch, but they are allowed to pair up if they want. They race the full Federation young bird programme from 100 miles through to 180 miles. The Carter partnership race to two lofts, a 20ft x 8ft structure with a tiles apex roof for the old birds and another 20ft x 8ft shed for the young birds. The main families raced at the Carter’s loft are Lefebre Dhaenens, Janssen and Maurice Vereheye. In recent seasons an outstanding family of Gaby Vandenabeele pigeons have been purchased from Dighton & Lister of York and Dave Hawkins of Yorkshire and these birds have started to win premier Federation positions from the outset for Bob Carter.


I have only known Bob Carter a few years, with the first time I met him being when he joined my club the Esher & Dist RPC, with his good friend, Johnny Barrett, and since then they have both set the club on fire with their outstanding performances. The 2008 season saw Bob Carter, his son Danny and silent partner, Ron Keeley win the ‘Individual Point Trophy’ in the Three Borders Federation, with Johnny Barrett and his son, Danny, being third up in the Federation points. Some the Carter’s best performances of the 2008 season were: 1st, 2nd, 10th Federation (1,771 birds) West Bay, 1st, 10th Federation (722 birds), 11th open SMT Combine Messac, 1st Federation (1,687 birds) Wincanton, 2nd, 3rd, 10th Federation (1,118 birds) Portland, 4th Federation (1,034 birds), 7th open SMT Combine Fougeres, 5th, 14th Federation (1,199 birds) Kingsdown, 6th Federation (1,493 birds) Kingsdown, 10th, 12th, 13th Federation (1,079 birds) Kingsdown, 11th, 20th Federation (801 birds) Messac, 16th, 23rd  Federation (1,257 birds) Exeter. Brilliant pigeon racing! The Three Borders Federation got the 2010 racing season off to a great start when members sent 1,584 birds to Wincanton and liberated in to a light North East wind, on what turned out to be a perfect flying day. The 2009 Federation Points Champions, Esher & District RPC, really started the new campaign in great style with two of their members taking six positions in the Federation result. The Esher club had problems with their ETS marking system on the first night and all the member had to clock their birds on traditional timing clocks, with Bob & Danny Carter recorded 1st, 2nd, 5th Federation on my borrowed T3 clock. There you have it, the recent successes of three top lofts in the Three Borders Federation!