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Fred & Denise Holbard of Cheshunt




A visit to



by Ghostwriter

I recently paid a visit to the Cheshunt partnership of Fred and Denise Holbard, the 2014 UBI Combine winners from Carentan. In fact this partnership was also second as well.

Fred has been amongst pigeons since 1968, when he started in Edmonton with his late father, Fred senior. Anyone who knew old Fred, knew what a formidable fancier he was, a pigeon man through and through, with many noteable performances to his credit including 1st open London North Road Combine Fraserburgh, a distance of over 420 miles, also 1st open BICC south road from Bordeaux. South road flying was his great passion, and to think his son Freddie would end up a south road combine winner would have given old Fred a warm glow.


When Denise and Fred got married in 1977, straight away they started racing on their own, south road by the way, with the Enfield Continental Flying Club. Mixed fortunes we're had as young Fred was now having to learn his trade, although his dad was only a phone call away to rollick him if things weren't going too well. In 1980 a move to Cheshunt in Hertfordshire was on the cards. Fred got chatting to his father in law Brian Haley, another great fancier with 2 x LNRC wins to his credit in 1983 and 1984, and such was the devastating effect of these birds, young Fred thought he had to invest so in 1985 several birds were brought in from various people including Brian. They were all of the Busschaert family and straight away, with drastic changes to the feeding, Fred was on the winning trail, in fact it could be said he was unstoppable at one point, with win after win in the North London Federation culminating with 1st open London North Road Combine Morpeth young birds in 1987. Fred remembers it well. It was one of the toughest races ever for youngsters, the trees were bending in half with the force of the strong west south west wind, and he timed his good hen Denise at 5 o'clock that September afternoon. Another 5 entries were clocked that evening when a lot of people failed to clock. Denise’s velocity was 971ypm.

The Holbard set-up

He also won the London North Road 2 Bird Championship Club that day with his nominated pigeon, Denise. This was then three wins from four in this great club in one season, an achievement that Fred is rightly proud of.

Twice more Fred and Denise won the then, mighty London Combine, once in 1989 from Berwick old birds and again in 2001 also from Berwick, which incidentally, as far is Fred is concerned, is the hardest race to win, because as Fred says, all of London are sending their cream to Berwick, as not all birds can win from Thurso. London was sending up to 10,000 birds to Berwick at that time.

Fast forward to now. Fred was getting bored with north road racing. His beloved London North Road Combine was not what it was and his federation made the decision to pull out and start sending with the North of Thames Combine, and although good racing, it wasn't a decision that sat well with Fred. So a return to south road racing was on the cards. This is only his third full season racing south road again and this great partnership is enjoying the challenge of racing over the channel. Last year they notched up a 1st federation from Bordeaux with the Inter Counties Federation, and it was decided in the winter of 2013 to compete more in the Inter Counties Fed because they have the option of sending over the channel with the UBI Combine. Who would have thought they would win first and second in their first attempt?

Another view of the lofts

This year’s combine winner is a Cooreman cock bred by themselves from birds supplied by Bob Fenech from his great family of birds. The second is a hen, also from Cooreman bloodlines. The father was bred by Steven Fenech and is a son of his Champion Bolt, a well known cock in the Essex area. Fred says these two brothers have been a great help to him and supplied him with some fantastic birds and he would like to say thank you publicly to them.

A new chapter is now going to happen. From next year, the partnership will be racing from a new address in Hunsdon, a sleepy village near Stanstead Abbotts, and I'm sure many successes will follow. Who can rule out a National win for this talented partnership in the future? Not me, that's for sure.

All the best Fred and Denise and thanks for a lovely day. Well done to you both, your dads would have been very proud of you, and of course, are looking down over you.



Elimar - May 2014