IRISH NATIONAL FLYING CLUB
King’s Cup 2014 Saint Allouestre
2014 has proved to be a very difficult year for pigeon racing with many losses reported throughout the season and especially since the start of the channel racing. It was surprising then that the entry for this year’s King’s Cup was the best since 1996, with 774 members sending 2807 birds. The race was originally scheduled for Friday 4th July but due to bad weather over the weekend basketing only took place on Saturday 5th July for a possible race on Tuesday. The weather in the week of the race remained unsettled and the race controllers were left with a choice of either liberating on the Tuesday with a forecast of showers and less wind or a drier day on Wednesday with stronger winds. It was decided to go for the Tuesday when the birds were fresher. Unfortunately more showers than were forecast bubbled up on the day. However the winds on the Wednesday were even stronger than forecast, so holding another day might not have made any difference.
The birds were liberated at 6.20am on Tuesday 8th July in a light north-westerly wind, and were competing for pools and prizemoney of £29,880. Unfortunately the race followed the pattern that we had become familiar with over the previous weekends and was much more difficult than we had hoped for. By nightfall only three pigeons were recorded on the first day, one being to the eventual winner B & P McEvoy, Castlebellingham/Boyne Valley and the other two pigeons to Jimmy Cullen of Bray Invitation. Tuesday night was an nervous night for the McEvoys as they knew that a pigeon timed early the next morning further north could beat them and it was mid morning on the second day before Philip and Blaine knew that they had won the most coveted race in Irish pigeon racing. When the race was closed there were only 40 birds timed with Hall of Fame awards going to J Cullen and H English of Lisburn, for pigeons three times in the prizes from the King’s Cup. Jimmy Cullen went on to time four birds in the result and Gerry O’Reilly Malahide had three in what was a very difficult race. Of the 40 birds timed 8 of them were Single Bird Challenge entrants. The race was sponsored by Frazer Animal Feeds and we are very grateful to them for their sponsorship.
1st South Section, 1st Open B & P McEvoy Castlebellingham/Boyne Valley, Vel 854, Flying 434 miles, Winning £1283, King George V Challenge Cup, and J Cullen Memorial Cup for 1st East Coast Fed member
The winner of the King’s Cup this year is one of the up and coming lofts in Ireland, B & P McEvoy of Castlebellingham/Boyne Valley. The partnership is a father and son partnership of Philip and Blaine who have established quite a reputation for themselves in recent years. In 2012 they were 3rd and 4th Middle section from the Skibbereen Young Bird National, and last year they were 1st East Coast Fed, 2nd South section, 20th Open King’s Cup, and also 4th ECF, 9th South section, 61st Open. By having the first East Coast Fed bird in this year’s race they become the first loft to achieve back to back wins in the East Coast Fed from the King’s Cup. Philip started to race pigeons 19/20 years ago and got some Soontjens from Jim Newell Annalong and developed a very good friendship with Jim from then. Jim rears them about 20 young birds every year as he finds it difficult to retain birds in the Mourne area due to the birds of prey. Young Blaine started to take a keener interest in the pigeons 8 years ago when he was 14 and things have really taken off since then. Blaine has developed a great circle of friends throughout Europe and has always shown a great desire to learn more and was always an attentive listener.
The King’s Cup winner is a two-year-old blue Soontjens hen now known as ‘Mammy’s Girl’, from stock obtained from Jim Newell. This hen has a great race record having been 2nd East Coast Fed, 4th Middle section Skibbereen Young Bird National in 2012 and this year she was 1st club, 8th Fed Truro, 3rd club Penzance, and 3rd club Pilmore Beach. She has been 1st club four times in total from Pilmore Beach twice, Truro and Tramore as well as winning both Castlebellingham and Boyne Valley club races here. When Philip and Blaine timed the 2 birds last year the first one was ½ Soontjens and the other one was a full Soontjens. The grand dam of the King’s Cup winner is the mother of the loft and has bred all their main winners.
Old birds are paired at the end of January and they rear a round of young birds before being separated and then going back together before racing when they are raced on the roundabout system throughout the old bird season. Although they rear 80-100 young birds they only race 28 old cocks and 28 old hens so they have to impress as young birds to earn a perch. In preparation for the King’s Cup the birds are given a few tosses after 9pm from Malahide, which may have helped the hen as she was seen coming in from the Irish Sea around this time. Feeding is a mixture of Versele Laga from Tom Nelson and Natural from Sheldon Leonard. They also use Hormoform and the Dr Brockamp products which Blaine thinks are very good.
Blaine asked me to thank all his friends for their help and advice over the years and a special thanks to Jim Newell for the pigeons.
B & P McEvoy of Castebellingham, 1st South Section 1st Open INFC King's Cup 2014
1st North section, 2nd Open R Bell & Sons Edgarstown, Vel 798, Flying 477 miles, winning £793 and the Nelson Vase for the 1st RPRA member after the winner of the King’s Cup, and the NIPA Trophy for 1st NIPA member
In 1st North section, 2nd Open is another father and son partnership of Ronnie and Jason Bell of Edgarstown. The 2nd Open King’s Cup this year is a two-year-old cock sent to the race sitting 14 days on eggs and was timed at 6.04am on the second morning. When speaking to Ronnie following the race he told me a very interesting story about timing four sisters on the day from the King’s Cup in 2011 including a hen that had been 32nd Open from St Malo two days before basketing, and then 190th Open King's Cup, having flown over 900 miles in the space of a week. The cock timed here was having his first channel race of the year and had just three inland races prior to the Kings Cup. Ronnie also reminded me that he had raced the famous one eyed pigeon winner of an NIPA Open from Tramore.
Parents and grandparents are all from Ronnie Williamson and contain the best distance lines around. On the sire's side he is down from ‘Lady Helen, ‘Redon Lady’, winner 1st North section, and 2nd Open King’s Cup, beaten by a decimal, ‘Nightrider’ 1st North section, 2nd Open Young Bird Penzance and ‘Nicky’s Pride’, 1st North section, 2nd Open King’s Cup. It goes back to the ‘Golden Pair’. On the dam’s side we have ‘Classic Lady, winner of 1st Penzance Classic which was off the Gold Medal hen ‘5 times a Lady’ and ‘Claire Bear’ 1st Open Bude in the NIPA.
Ronnie told me that this bird needed no extra training as he flew and hour and 40 minutes morning and evening, often flying on his own, but when Ronnie opened the sputnik he just dropped out of the sky and straight in. Feeding is Champion Supreme from Cyril Beattie. In concluding Ronnie asked me to thank Ronnie Williamson and Cyril Beattie for all their help.
R Bell & Son
2nd South section, 3rd Open J Cullen Bray Invit, Vel 781, Flying 391 miles, winning £582, the Gilliland Cup for the first IHU member after the winner, and the Billy Ingle Trophy for 1st Irish South Road Fed member.
3rd Open goes to former King’s Cup winner Jimmy Cullen who had a tremendous race here timing two out of the three day birds and with another two on the second day. He followed this up with two birds in the result for the Friendship National when only eleven birds were recorded in race time. The birds clocked here are all pure class. At a glance the first one was 10th Open in the King’s Cup in 2012, the second one was 1st East Coast Fed in 2011 and 34th Open King’s Cup in 2012, while Jimmy’s third bird was winning a Hall of Fame here.
In 2012 when we had another difficult King’s Cup race Jimmy had one of the best result sheets on the day with 5 birds in the result out of an entry of 9 birds when many fanciers failed to time at all. This time he has 4 in the result out of a 10 bird entry, so this was another super race for the 1992 King’s Cup winner who clocked his first pigeon at 9.00pm on the day. In 2012 she was timed at 9.02 so she was right on her time. The pigeon is a four-year-old cheq pied hen, known as ‘Sarah’ which is down from his Stan Biss pigeons. The sire’s side is down from ‘Turban’ who was 3rd in the Pau National. Jimmy has had the Biss pigeons for 20 years now and most of his pigeons are from this source.
As a young bird the hen had only one race, then as a yearling she was sent to Owenahincha and was clocked from Bude. As a two-year-old she was sent to the Skibbereen National, a race that Jimmy used for all his French candidates and then to Pilmore Beach and on to the King’s Cup. Last year she was timed at 10.35pm on the night from Quimper, another sticky race and was 33rd Open. This year again she was in the Skibbereen National and following that she was trained in preparation for the King’s Cup. Training consists of 60 mile tosses both north and south. For feeding Jimmy mixes his own corn and uses a lot of pellets.
Jimmy Cullen with Sarah
2nd North section, 4th Open W Scott Cullybackey, Vel 768, Flying 506 miles, winning £4521 and the Joe Doheny Trophy for the winner of the Single Bird Challenge plus another £500.
4th Open goes to the Cullybackey lofts of Wendell Scott. Wendell timed at 7.47am on the second morning which was a great time for the 506 mile fly. The pigeon is called ‘Heather’s Delight’ after Wendell’s daughter who helps out with the pigeons. He was sent to the race feeding a big young bird. Although a very small loft(Wendell only rears 30 young birds) they have been in form lately having timed the previous week from the difficult St Malo and Wendell was also in the Open result from Talbenny and Bude this year and again these weren’t easy races. Last year this bird was 11th section, 137th Open NIPA in the Young Bird Talbenny and two days later was sent to the Young Bird National from Penzance where it was 123rd North section, 129th Open. Having shown this form last year Wendell selected him for the Single Bird Challenge and this turned out to be a good choice as this was the winner of the Single Bird Challenge. This year she was had two inland races, Talbenny and the Yearling National from Sennen Cove where she was Wendell’s ninth arrival.
The dam is from John Dowey & Son Tandragee and contains the double King’s Cup winners A McDowell & Son Newtownards bloodlines. The grandsire is Harkness lines again from John and Kyle Dowey. The sire is from Paddy McManus Ahoghill and is the ‘Invincible Spirit’ lines from Louella’s Jan Arden stock. Wendell doesn’t train with any of the transporters preferring to give the birds single and double tosses twice a week throughout the year from 20 miles.
3rd North section, 5th Open W Corrigan Loughall, Vel 737, Flying 480 miles, winning £2961
3rd North section, 5th Open goes to Willie Corrigan of Loughall, another fancier who needs no introduction and a winner of three Merit Awards last year. Like Jimmy Cullen he also timed in the Friendship National this year when he was 10th Open. Both pigeons are off the same pair, the cock timed here is from the first round and the hen in the Friendship was from the second round that year. This is a wonderful achievement in two such difficult races.
The pigeon timed in the King’s Cup is a three-year-old Blue W/F cock sent sitting three days on a youngster. He was timed at 7.30am on the second morning not long after Willie had left for work but brother Sam was there to look after the clock etc. Breeding is from a long line of distance strains that Willie has more or less cultivated into his own strain now. It contains Kilpatrick, Hagans and pigeons from Davy Strain. Prior to the King’s Cup this year it had a few inland races and then Bude. Work commitments don’t allow time for training but the birds are flown morning and evening at home.
When I asked about feeding, Willie replied that there’s no ‘Spoonfeeding here’ and that the birds are given as much as they want and whatever mix he has at the time. The birds are raced Natural and are paired at the start of February whenever there is a good weekend weather wise.
3rd South section, 6th Open J Cullen Bray Invit, Vel 719, flying 391 miles, winning £353 and the Harkness Rosebowl for Best Two Bird Average
We go back to Jimmy Cullen for the 6th Open bird and winning the Harkness Rosebowl was the icing on the cake for Jimmy in this race although I believe he was also quite excited about winning the Hall of Fame as well. The pigeon timed here is a five-year-old hen called ‘Princess Aimée’ that was 34th Open in the King’s Cup in 2012, when she was Jimmy’s third bird home. The breeding is Catrysse and Walkingshaw and is from his own stock that he has built up since 1970 with very introductions since. She contains the bloodlines of his 1997 Miller Gold Cup winner which was the only bird on the day, and his 1992 King’s Cup winner.
This hen was also sent on a small youngster. Jimmy didn’t race any of the channel races this year. The cocks had two Skibbereens and Mallow while the hens were raced in the club races. All birds are trained once a week from Wexford and are flown for a couple of hours morning and evening but never forced to fly.
I’ll cover Jimmy’s Hall of Fame bird in a separate article but his fourth bird is a four-year-old cock out of Stan Biss’ ‘Navigator’. As a yearling he was timed from Talbenny, Bude and Penzance. As a two-year-old he was 19th Open St Malo, while last year he was timed at 10pm on the day from Quimper to take 28th Open in The Friendship National.
4th North section, 7th Open R Williamson Bondhill, Vel 687, flying 480 miles, winning £293
4th North section, 7th Open goes to last year’s King’s Cup winner Ron Williamson Bondhill a loft that has won everything that can be won at National level. Looking at the breeding of Ronnie Bell’s pigeon at 2nd Open in this race indicates the many top performances put up by the Ronville lofts in National racing. Add this to the many Open wins he has in the NIPA and you can see why this loft is rated as one of the top lofts in Europe.
The pigeon timed here is a four-year-old hen that was 192nd North section, 226th Open in the King’s Cup last year. The sire was 33rd Open King’s Cup and his nest was 94th in the same year and then 186th the following year. This pair were of Ron’s ‘Golden pair’, responsible for many winners. The dam was 10th King’s Cup in 2009, 40th Friendship National in 2010, 129th King’s Cup in 2011.She is a full sister of the hen that was 2nd in the King’s Cup in 2011. Both these hens are off the pigeon that was 8th and 121st King’s Cup so the breeding is certainly there.
Prior to the King’s Cup the French pigeons only had Talbenny and Bude. Ron timed 19 out of 20 in the Yearling National and they only had Talbenny prior to that. The birds get plenty of training from Balbriggan throughout the year.
Ron Williamson (R)
5th North section, 8th Open R Kirkwood, Lisburn & District, Vel 623, flying 476 miles, winning £1495
We move to the Lisburn & District club for 5th North section, 8th Open to Robert Kirkwood. Robert timed a Blood Red yearling cock at 10.56am on the second morning. This yearling cock was on chipping eggs three days before basketing but Robert switched youngsters three times so by the time the cock was going to the race the young bird was 7 days old and the cock was off the soft feed. When Robert was switching the second youngster the cock flew up from the hopper to try and stop him. This yearling cock showed that he will stick at it when he was timed at 10.20pm from Bude.
The sire is from Robert’s brother Tom (Kirkwood Bros Killyleagh) and is Hav/Gits x Thoroughgood from Frank George. The dam is Southwell and was one of 6 gift birds from his good friend Nigel Cowood, from the Doncaster area. In the two weeks before the King’s Cup the birds were given 3 x 50/60 miles single tosses and one toss from Donaghadee against the wind. Other than that they are flown about home.
Feeding is a new Gem no maize Breed and Wean mix on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Gem Royale (plenty of maize) on Tuesday and Wednesday and Vanrobaey’s Carbohydrates on Thursday (or the day of basketing).
Robert Kirkwood's red cock
4th South section, 9th Open, Cooley Bros & Son Newtownkilpeddar, Vel 620, flying 385 miles, winning £1574
This partnership is made up of brothers Gary and Danny Cooley and Gary’s 9 year old son Matthew. They timed their two-year-old blue hen, now known as ‘Cool Lady’ at 6.43am on the second morning. This loft was right on form as they were 1st club, 12th East Coast Fed the week before from St Malo. ‘Cool Lady’ was raced natural and was paired to the same broken winged cock as last year. Due to his broken wing they are given a nest on the floor which she guards doggedly. She was sent to this race sitting 15 days and was given a youngster an hour before basketing.
The sire is bred by his Gary’s brother Danny who races in Derry & District HPS, and is off his good ‘03’ cock which is down from the Jackie Patience pigeon that they bought at the Belfast Show. It contains the bloodlines of Patience’s 1st and 2nd Open King’s Cup birds. On the dam’s side the grandsire is Herman Beverdam from Lowik Bros and is a direct son of Prince of Darkness while the grand dam is a direct Beverdam Huybrecht. ‘Cool Lady’ was in the Yearling national last year when she was their first bird. She was sent back to the King’s Cup where she was 1st Club, 10th East Coast Fed, 21st South section, and 116th Open. Prior to the King’s Cup this year she had 1 Pilmore Beach plus extensive training from Wexford.
Gary asked me to thank Jason Byrne for all his help and to pass on his congratulations to Blaine and Philip.
Danny Cooley of Cooley Bros & Son
Gary and Mathhew Cooley
6th North section, 10th Open N Black & Son Dromara, Vel 610, flying 471 miles, winning £12
6th North section, 10th Open is N Black & Son of Dromara, previous King’s Cup winners, double National Champions, Gold Medal winners, three Hall of Fames and now 17 times in the top ten of the King’s Cup. The bird they timed this year is a five-year-old grizzle hen called ‘Fiona’. The sire was a gift from clubmates Mr & Mrs Stevenson, which was in turn bred from a gift cock from themselves (N Black & Son) and a Soontjens hen. The grizzle hen’s sire was a very good racer and was paired to a daughter of the partnership’s ‘Annie Mary’, 4th and 8th Open King’s Cup in two very hard races from Messac.
‘Fiona’ was a natural young bird and had three or four races as a young bird. As a yearling she was 2nd club Penzance and the following year she broke both her legs in her last toss before the King’s Cup. She recovered well from this and as a three-year-old she was 13th Open Quimper National and last year she was timed on the night to be 85th Open King’s Cup. This year she had three inland races plus Talbenny and Bude and was sent to the King’s Cup on a one day old youngster.
David and Alan Black with Fiona
I would like to all who helped with photographs. I would also like to thank all those who helped at the marking station and the clock centres, and Frazer Animal Feeds for their sponsorship of this race.
INFC Press Officer