“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT.
Terry Haley of Abbots Langley.
After the sport of pigeon racing rose out of the gloom of the Covid 19 ‘lock down’ for the second season on the trot in 2021and with the prospects of no racing from France, member didn’t know ether to fly south road or turn their birds north road to get long distance racing. The ‘master’ of flying both roads with the same team of pigeon with outstanding success, is my ol’ mate, Terry Haley. He has won the Federation, Combine and National on both the south and north roads! It was congratulations to Terry again in the 2021season after he won his second National race! The British Barcelona Club decided to race north road in 2021 to provide proper long distance racing for its membership and in early June our Terry won 1st, 2nd, 9th section, 1st, 2nd, 9th open BBC Blaydon National (1,564 birds). He won the National for the second time in three seasons with his champion blue chequer hen, ‘Simon’s Gift’ and she was bred by A. & S. Hughes of Rochdale.
Two days after his National win Terry was driving down the M25 Motorway on his way down to my home in Claygate to get his new champions photographed. Terry told me on his visit, ‘the Blaydon National winner is a Herman Cuesters blue chequer hen, now named ‘Simon’s Gift’ and she was sent to the race sitting five day old eggs. She was bred by Simon Hughes, who has gifted me several top quality youngsters, on the basis that I race them right through and test them out. I have won 1st Federation on both the south and north road with Simon’s pigeons and now won 1st open National. Sincere thanks to Simon! My 2nd open Blaydon National winner, sent driving his hen to nest, was my blue cock, ‘Miles Apart’ and he was purchased at the Spelthorne Breeder / Buyer sale in 2019 and was bred by Kevin Henstock of Sutton-in-Ashfield. On the day I didn’t expect them home that quick and was messing around in one of the other compartments of the loft, and never saw them clocked in! Thanks to the many fanciers who contacted me with their congratulation after the race, it was really nice’. The weekend after the Blaydon race Terry sent ‘Miles Apart’ back to Berwick (288 miles) with the BICC and he recorded 2nd section, 17th open (2,624 birds). A brilliant performance by this game blue cock, winning 2nd section in National events two weeks on the trot! Terry has been a good friend of mine for 45 years and I rate him one of the best pigeon racers in the UK, winner of 1st Federation, 1st Combine and 1st National many times over the years. He has won at the very highest level on the North and South Road for many years flying the same pigeons on both roads. Well done mate, on yet another brilliant performance!
Terry had an excellent 2019 racing season, with the highlights being three times 1st section National and a 1st open National. He enjoyed winning several first in the very strong Boxmoor HS and some premier positions in the Inter Counties Federation with his old birds, but the season really took off big time with the start of young bird racing. The first young bird race was from Lyndhurst (76 miles) and the ‘Watford Wizard’ recorded: 1st, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th Inter Counties Federation, with 1,902 birds competing. The Federation winner was, ‘Lier Lilly’, a young blue chequer hen that was one of several that Terry had purchased at Lier Market in the spring. This game little hen has turned out very special winning: 1st Federation Lyndhurst (1,901 birds), 3rd Federation Lyndhurst (1,996 birds), 35th Federation Blandford (1,935 birds) and 44th in the Spelthorne Kingsdown Open Race (495 birds). The second pigeon on the ETS to record 6th Federation Lyndhurst was the blue chequer hen, ‘Madam Mott’, and she was bred by Keith & Betty Mott, from our Pair 6, ‘Foxwarren Renegade’ and ‘Thelma’. The Following week ‘Madam Mott’ was Terry’s fancied pigeon, being all pools and snowball. She was first pigeon home and lost the race by a minute after the two flirt bird flew up and kept her flying around home for over two minutes. She finished up 7th club and still won the pools. ‘Madam Mott’ went on to win: 2nd section, 12th open BBC Fougeres National (743 birds) and 8th section, 16th open BICC Fougeres National (1,944 birds). Terry always sends small teams to the big National events and entered four youngsters and six old hens in the British Barcelona Club’s Fougeres National in August. It turned out to be the race of a lift time for him, winning: 1st section D, 1st open Fougeres National (332 birds) with an old hen and 1st, 2nd, 17th section D, 11th, 12th, 127th open Fougeres National (743 birds) with the youngsters. Terry National winner was his good blue chequer hen, ‘On Her Jack’, and she had previously won many top positions in National racing, including 55th open NFC as a young bird. This champion hen was bred by Terry and her dam came down through the Alasdair Muir bloodlines. The following week after winning the National, ‘On Her Jack’ was sent back to France with the British International Championship Club and recorded 3rd section, 17th open BICC Fougeres (OH) National (591 birds), beaten by her loft mate, ‘Dutch Courage’, who won 1st section, 7th open. A fantastic hen! Terry’s brilliant season continued and he recoded: 8th section, 16th open BICC Fougeres (YB) National (1,944 birds), 1st, 3rd section, 7th, 17th open BICC Fougeres (OH) National (591 birds), 13th section E, 17th open NFC Coutances (YB) National (3,246 birds), 5th section E, 12th open NFC Coutances (OH) National (915 birds), 4th UBI Combine Carentan (503 birds). Brilliant pigeon racing!
Terry Haley hit the ‘jackpot’ again in the 2017 racing season and finished it off in a very special fashion, when he recorded 1st Combine twice in seven days. The old birds performed really well wining several firsts in the clubs and premier positions in the NFC, BICC and BBC. A good inland performance was put up by Terry’s yearling blue hen, ‘The Vervoort Hen’ and she recorded two firsts in the very strong Boxmoor club. This game hen was bred by Florimond Vervoort of Belgium and Terry purchased her at Lier Market for £22. Terry purchases youngster at the Dutch Spring Exchange, Houten every year and has won the Federation several times with these Dutch pigeons, with the birds from Comb. Lelieveld – V.D. Locht of Scherpenzeel doing exceptionally well. An outstanding yearling bred at this Dutch loft, is Terry good blue chequer cock, ‘Dutch Lad’ and he recorded 1st Boxmoor club, 8th Inter Counties Federation, 9th UBI Combine Le Mans (1,928 birds) in the 2017 racing season. Another outstanding Lelieveld & Locht pigeon is the good blue hen, ‘Double Dutch’ and she has a long list of premier positions, including 2nd UBI Combine Le Mans in 2014. The beautiful blue pied hen, ‘Watford Lady’, has won a lot of premier positions for the Abbots Langley loft in recent seasons and this ‘gem’ of a hen is raced on the natural system, being bred down from Terry’s old families. Her racing record is exceptional, scoring in all the National clubs including: 2016: 3rd section, 4th open BBC Coutances, 30th section, 93rd open BICC Guernsey, 19th section, 64th open BICC Falaise: 2015: 5th section, 14th open NFC Guernsey, 12th section, 58th open BICC Guernsey, 5th section, 28th open BBC Coutances: 2014: 14th UBI Combine (as a young bird). A wonderful hen!
Terry’s young birds were on ‘fire’ in the 2017 season and achieved a once in a lifetime loft performance! He is very hard task master, with the birds going training at every possible opportunity and in some cases they fly the 200 mile stage three times, so needless to say they are kept very fit. He won the first race from Leicester in the Watford NRFC, with the blue cock ‘North Roader’ and then went on to win 1st Boxmoor club Honiton (317 birds) by three minutes with the blue cock, ‘Honiton Lad’, lifting all pools and snowball. The Honiton winner was bred by Terry’s good friend, Lew Williams of March in Cambridgeshire. The youngsters won several other top positions in Federation and National races. It is common knowledge that Terry’s wife, Karen, was a premier pigeon racer in her own right racing with her dad and was the secretary of the Watford north road club for many years. A week before the last and longest young bird south road race weekend, Karen told Terry, that he should stop training and rest the youngsters up for the Channel events. Reluctantly he didn’t train that week and sent six babies to the BBC race, ten to the BICC and ten to the UBI Combine race from Carentan. All three were channel races and Terry got 22 of his 26 youngsters on the day, recording provisionally 11th section BBC and 17th section BICC. From the UBI Combine race he had two youngsters come only two seconds apart on the ETS, to record 1st, 2nd Boxmoor club, 1st, 2nd Inter Counties Federation, 1st, 2nd UBI Combine Carentan. The Combine winner was the blue chequer cock now named, ‘Dutch Express’, bred by Comb. Lelieveld – V.D. Locht and was sent to Carentan feeding a youngster. Terry told me he was sitting the pair of eggs on the floorboards in the corner of the loft, no bowl, and when he was lifted to go to a training toss or race, the eggs just rolled away across the floor. On his return home he just gathered them up and sat on them in the corner. Amazingly the two eggs hatched and when they were chipping one was moved under another pair of youngsters which were sitting due to hatch. The hen of that foster pair was the 2nd Combine winner, now named ‘Karen’s Advice’ and she is bred down from Terry’s old family.
On the Thursday after the Carentan race Terry made the journey down to my home in Claygate to have seven pigeons photographed, including the two Combine pigeons. He liberated a basket of youngsters off my front garden lawn for a training toss, with the view to sending a small team to the last and longest north road race to be flown from Aycliffe (205 miles) the following Saturday. On the Sunday morning he phoned me to tell me the amazing news that he had won the North Thames NR Combine from Aycliffe. Twice 1st Combine in seven days! Just brilliant! This, Terry’s fifth Combine winner, was a great buzz for me personally, as the winning blue hen, now named ‘Misty Missile’, was a granddaughter of ‘The Watford Wizard’, the Gaby Vandenabeele cock I bred for Terry. ‘Misty Missile’ and ‘The Watford Wizard’ both won 1st Watford NR Club, 1st Thames Valley Federation, 1st North Thames NR Combine Aycliffe as young birds. Amazing! She was sent to Aycliffe (205 miles) just pairing up to a young cock and building a nest on the loft floor. Her first five races of her life were on the south road, before being switched to north road for three races, before winning the Combine. Terry was back at my house in Claygate on the Sunday morning getting ‘Misty Missile’s’ photo taken. A really great seven days for our Terry! Well done mate!
I think Betty and I have known Terry and Karen Haley for well over 40 years and all that time the ‘Watford Wizard’ has always been at the top of the game, being one of the premier North Road fanciers in the U.K. He has been a good friend of my family for many years; in fact he is my son, Mark’s godfather. His pigeons have won countless major positions on the north road through the years and have won 1st Federation from Leicester (68 miles), through to Lerwick (600 miles). He recently tried to count up his Federation wins and tells me they are about 30 firsts, but has won the Federation at least three times from Thurso (492 miles). Terry has won 1st Thames Valley Federation Champion race from Berwick, Perth, Banff, Fraserburgh and Thurso, as well as first in the young bird Federation Championship. He has won 17 R.P.R.A. awards and London Region trophies and medals, and of course 1st open Combine Fraserburgh with his champion blue hen, ‘Misty Lady’. This wonderful hen died of old age in the autumn of 2005 and has left a dynasty of winners in the Haley loft. The 2004 season saw Terry win 1st open North Thames N.R. Combine from Arbroath, with his good blue cock, ‘The Pimpernel’ and this champion pigeon went on to record 2nd open North Thames N.R. Combine Stonehaven in 2005. He is from a brilliant winning line of pigeons; with his dam being one of Terry’s good racing hens, ‘The Ghost’. The 2013 season saw Terry win the Federation three times with young birds and 1st open North Thames NR Combine Aycliffe (205 miles) with the Gaby Vandenabeele blue cock, ‘The Watford Wizard’.
I speak to my ol’ mate, Terry Haley, frequently on the phone and in a conversation at the end of the 2016 racing season he gave me a lot of nonsense about having a bad season, but his performances didn’t sound too bad to me. How’s this for a bad year: He won several firsts in the very strong Boxmoor club and won the ‘Old Bird Over Seas’ Average, (Old Birds): 1st Federation Salisbury (1,342 birds), 3rd Federation Salisbury (1,381 birds), 4th Federation, 4th UBI Combine Poitiers, 9th Federation Blandford (1,342 birds), 9th Federation Lyndhurst (1,638 birds), 17th open BICC Falaise (3,695 birds), 5th section E. NFC Messac (644 birds), 144th open NFC Tarbes, (Young Birds): 25th open BICC Guernsey (1,693 birds), 30th, 54th, 93rd open BICC Guernsey O.H. (1,073 birds), 41st, 106th open BBC Coutances (909 birds), 4th, 5th open BBC Coutances O.H. (244 birds), 55th open NFC Coutances (3,752 birds), 146th open NFC Coutances O.H. (1,135 birds), 16th open BICC Falaise (1,576 birds), 64th open BICC Falaise O.H. (477 birds). Yes that sounded like a really bad season!
Every season I seem to be reporting on the fantastic racing performances put up by my good ol’ mate, Terry Haley, and the 2014 season had not been the exception. He is famed in the sport for racing the same pigeons on the south and north road with outstanding success. Terry tells me, he won nine firsts in the Watford NRFC and in the very strong Boxmoor SRHS. He only flew occasionally in the north road club, winning four fists and concentrating now on the south road, he was highest prize winner in the Boxmoor club, winning the Old Bird Average and Combined Old and Young Bird Average in the Inter Counties Federation. Terry likes his Saturday Federation racing but is also very successful at National level and a few of his premier positions won in the 2014 season were: 2nd UBI Combine Le Mans (1,742 birds) 256 miles, 85th, 188th open NFC Tarbes (2,769 birds) 586 miles, 68th open BICC Alencon (6,600 birds) 227miles, 96th open BBC Messac (2,261 birds) 275 miles, 39th open BBC Bordeaux (675 birds) 470 miles, 291st open BICC Tours (3,655 birds) 303 miles, 27th UBI Combine Carentan (1,865 birds), 183rd open BICC Le Mans (1,936 birds), 98th open NFC Messac (6,393 birds), 17th UBI Combine Falaise (2,403 birds) 195 miles, 16th UBI Combine Poitiers (893 birds) 367 birds, 67th, 77th open BICC Le Mans (1,936 birds), 132nd open BICC Guernsey (1,014 birds) 179 miles, 37th open BBC Fougeres (230 birds) 235 miles, 89th, 96th open NFC Falaise (917 birds) 195 miles, 39th open BICC Falaise (1,263 birds), 43rd open BBC Fougeres (1,008 birds). Another great performance put up in the 2014 season by the Haley loft! Terry had several star birds in the 2014 season, but the two that get my vote for the best were firstly, the yearling blue hen, ‘Double Dutch’, which was purchased on the Continent by Terry and she recorded: 2nd UBI Combine Le Mans (1,742 birds), 98th open NFC Messac (6,393 birds), 27th UBI Combine Carentan (1,865 birds), 183rd open BICC Le Mans (1,936 birds). The other was the yearling blue chequer hen, ‘Miss Muir’, and she was bred by the premier long distance racer, Alistair Muir of Dorking. This great hen flew the English Channel eight times (1,822 miles) in the 2014 season and recorded: 68th open BICC Alencon (6,600 birds), 315th open NFC Carentan (9,416 birds), 17th UBI Combine Falaise (2,403 birds), 16th UBI Combine Poitiers (893 birds), 67th open BICC Le Mans (1,936 birds), 132nd open BICC Guernsey (1,014 birds), 37th open BICC Fougeres (230 birds), 88th open NFC Falaise (917 birds). Two fantastic yearling hens! I must mention that Terry donated his good Federation winning hen, ‘Fairway Donation’, to the 2015 BHW ‘Show of the Year’ Charity Auction, which is a wonderful gestor on his part.
Terry Haley’s pigeon career stared at the age of 11 and was greatly encouraged by some school friends who kept pigeons. This was in 1959 and Terry recalls that his first stock were from local farm buildings and anywhere else where pigeons could be caught at night. He says it was a hobby catching them as well as keeping them. In the early days he admired the performances of the late Wally Brewer and Jack Payne of Bedmond, who were winning races regularly at the time. Wally Brewer helped many Watford fanciers and he sold Terry a pair of Barker / Gits pigeons in 1966 for £3, which Terry says proved to be a real bargain. The Haley loft still houses some pigeons bred from the original farm building strays, one of which was the old blue chequer cock, ‘Nunnies’, which flew from Scotland over 30 times, including eight times Thurso (593 miles). This wonderful old cock was born in 1966, and was in the Guinness Book of Records for his record mileage in racing, winning 1st club Leicester, 2nd club, 5th Federation, 10th open Combine (3,111 birds) Perth, 2nd club Thurso, 2nd club Newark and three other major positions from Thurso. ‘Nunnies’ is more or less the sire of Terry’s loft with 1st Federation and 1st Open winners being bred from him.
In recent years Terry retired from work and on becoming an old age pensioner the ‘Watford Wizard’ has taken his pigeon racing to an even higher level of success. In the 2013 season Terry won fourteen first prizes, three times 1st Federation, 1st open Combine and lifted the ‘Brooker Gold Cup’ in the London & South East Classic Club for the second year on the trot. I think it is common knowledge that Terry races North and South Road and will send the same pigeons on both roads and win with them. In July 2013 the Inter Counties SR Federation decided to postpone their Minstead young bird race because of a very bad weather forecast for the Saturday and marked the birds on Saturday evening and held the race on the Sunday. Terry sent 12 youngsters to the North Road race from Newark on the Friday night and won 1st, 2nd, 3rd Watford NRFC, 1st, 2nd, 4th, 8th, 9th, 10th Thames Valley NR Federation on the Saturday. He then had the same pigeons re-marked on the Saturday evening and sent them South Road to Minstead. The birds came really well and Terry recorded 1st Boxmoor club (247 birds), 1st Inter Counties Federation (1,216 birds). Brilliant racing by our Terry! He tells me he did the same thing a few years ago, but the opposite way around, when he sent a pigeon South Road that won 1st Boxmoor club Blandford on the Saturday and then following day was sent North Road to record 1st Watford NRFC, 1st Thames Valley NR Federation Newark. Just goes to prove that if pigeons are mentally and physically fit they will come from any direction!
Mid-season in 2013 I did a paragraph in the fancy press on this brilliant performance of winning two Federation on the same weekend, but straight after that his young bird performances climbed to ever great heights! Betty and I bred, and gifted a blue Gaby Vandenabeele cock to Terry in 2013, and he finished the season by winning the Combine for the Haley loft. The blue cock named ‘The Watford Wizard’ has won as a young bird in the 2013 season: 14th Spelthorne open Yeovil (650 birds), flew the L&SECC Guernsey Young Bird Classic (a really bad race), was then clocked from the NFC Carentan (France) Young Bird National to record 415th open (3,330 birds) and seven days later was turned 205 miles North Road to Aycliffe to win 1st club (by 20 minutes), 1st Thames Valley Federation, 1st open North Thames NR Combine. Another example of Terry racing a pigeon South Road, clocking it from France, then turning 205 mile north the following weekend for its first race ever on the North Road and winning the Combine! ‘The Watford Wizard’ was a darkness youngster, raced to the perch, and was bred from our Vandenabeele stock birds, ‘Myrtle Olympic’ and ‘Myrtle Exile’. The key pigeon has been the blue white flight hen, ‘Myrtle Exile’ and she has produced premier winners with both our two M. & D. Evans stock cocks. Our four Gaby Vandenabeele stock birds at that time were all bred by Mark & Dick Evans of Whitley Bridge and ‘Myrtle Exile’ is a granddaughter of the world famous Champion ‘Golden Gaby’, winner of 1st open National Orleans (12,875 birds). What a fantastic breeding hen! The Gaby Vandenabeele stock birds have really been breeding fantastic and have produced some brilliant racers, including 1st open Combine and 2nd Three Borders Federation in 2013. Brilliant results in the 2013 season with only two pairs of Mark & Dick Evans / Gaby Vandenabeele stock birds! Terry finished the season in great style recording: 11th, 50th, 140th open NFC (932 old hens), sending only three old hens and clocking all three, 72nd, 415th, 436th open NFC Carentan (3,330 young birds) and 18th, 27th, 48th open L&SECC Guernsey (213 old hens). One of the star birds in Terry’s loft in 2013 was his champion mealy hen, ‘Miss Anticipation’ and she recorded: 9th open L&SECC Bergerac (450 miles), 11th open NFC Carentan (old hens), 48th open L&SECC Guernsey (old hens), 148th open L&SECC Guernsey, 85th open BBC Bordeaux (450 miles) and previously won in 2012: 2nd section D BBC Carentan and Best in Show at the Southampton Open Show. A wonderful all round hen!
Terry only usually keeps 14 pairs of pigeons, no stock birds or prisoners if possible, and races on the natural system. He has several lofts, with various trapping systems and uses sifted ballast on the floors, which is raked clean each week. He feeds on the floor amongst the sand and says he has found this satisfactory for the last 45 years. He maintains he feeds beans, peas and tares because the birds fly well on it and you don’t change a winning system. The birds are paired up on 14th February and rear one batch of youngsters and these are weaned off while the old birds are competing in their first Federation races. The pigeons are mostly raced on eggs only, thus ensuring all birds can be sent through the old bird programme, as no more youngsters are required. Terry is a retired fencer by trade and used to quite often take his birds to work with him, if he is down the road a bit, for training. Terry trains in any weather including rain and maintains, he had to work in the rain so why shouldn’t the pigeons work in the rain! The cocks go almost every week and the hens are only left at home if they are due to lay. The loft is usually almost empty on Saturday morning and is cleaned out whilst the birds are away. The Haley young birds are trained well and race the programme, through to 200 miles. He likes to show his birds in the winter months and has won at all the major National shows, including the B.H.W. ‘Show of the Year’ Blackpool, the ‘Old Comrades’ show and the R.P.R.A. Southern Region show. He has had pigeons in the British team for the Olympiads for many years and has won ‘best bird’ in the team. Every winter he is in demand to judge shows and has judged at all the major National events. Terry says his family take an interest in the pigeons and his son, Ryan, raced his own pigeons to his own small loft when he was younger. Terry flies in the Watford N.R.F.C. and his wife, Karen, was the Secretary for 30 years. Karen was an outstanding fancier pigeon fancier in her own right and won the Federation many times when she raced with her late father, Bryn English. A really great pigeon family!
Terry won the L&SECC ‘Brooker Gold Cup’ again in the 2013 season making it two years on the trot that this coveted trophy had gone to the Hertfordshire lofts. His winner that season was the yearling mealy cock, ‘Golden Boy’, and he was flown on the natural system. Terry has a very successful line of mealies in his loft and this cock was bred down from a long line of good channel winners. One of the main trophies in the L&SECC was the ‘Brooker Gold Cup’ competed for each season in the Tours Yearling Derby and was won by the first nominated yearling on the open result. When the old London Columbarian Society disbanded a few years ago their magnificent array of trophies were donated to other clubs in 1998 and the ‘Brooker Gold Cup’ was donated to the L&SECC by the Society. This wonderful trophy was solid gold and was insured for £5,000. I was Chairman of the London Coly in the 1980’s and my good friend, the late Dick Brooker of Claygate was President for a number of years at that time and there was always confusion that he had donate the ‘Gold Cup’. In fact it was a memorial trophy for the late Mr. W. J. Brooker presented to the London Coly by his wife in 1930. Terry won the ‘Brooker Gold Cup’ from the Tours Classic in 2012 and what a good season he has enjoyed. His ‘Gold Cup’ winner was his yearling natural blue pied hen, ‘Gold Strike’ and she recorded 4th section, 25th open, and was the only bird on the Tours Classic result flying over 300 miles. A great performance! This game hen flew most of the young bird programme in 2011 and recorded 20th section E, 63rd open BBC Fougeres. As previously stated the Haley loft races both South and North Road, and Terry tells me his yearlings had raced really well on the North that season, winning a list of positions including 1st club Newark, 1st club Weatherby and 1st club Newark. His good mealy hen, ‘Miss Anticipation’, had won 2nd section BBC Carentan and ‘Kerry’s Gift’, bred by Terry’s friend, Kerry Mellonby of Bridlington, recorded 3rd section E NFC Cholet.
In recent seasons he has put a lot of effort into south road racing, with outstanding success. He had a go at the Dax International, racing with the NFC in 2004, and his little dark hen, ‘34’, recorded 6th section, 26th open N.F.C. (529 Miles). This game natural hen was a granddaughter of Champion ‘Misty Lady’ and previously won as a yearling: 6th open L&SECC Dax (552 miles), 10th open UBI Combine Fougeres (234 miles), 163rd open NFC Nantes (311 miles) and 275th open NFC Saintes / Pau (411 miles). A brilliant little hen! Another premier south roader at the Watford loft was the blue chequer hen, ‘The Ripple’, another granddaughter of Champion ‘Misty Lady’ and she won in 2004: 70th open NFC Dax International (529 miles), 164th open NFC Pau (576 miles) and in 2003: 59th open L&SECC Dax (552 miles). Both these class hens were in the British team for the 2005 Portugal Olympiad, keeping up the long tradition of pigeons that Terry has had in different teams over the years. In the 2009 season everyone was talking about his champion youngster, light blue chequer hen ‘Hughes 37’, and her performance was just brilliant, being sent to Blandford on south road to win 1st club, with that being backed up with a good position in the Federation result. On the Saturday evening of the Blandford race she was re-basketed and sent north road for the Newark race to be flown on the Sunday, and recorded 1st club, 1st Thames Valley NR Federation. She was sent to the races that weekend sitting a week old pair of eggs and Terry told me, that he noticed she was keen to get out of the crate at marking on the Friday night. ‘Hughes 37’ was 5th Federation Derby the week previous, beaten by two loft mates. Her nest mate, a blue chequer cock, also won a race for the Haley loft and they were a gift pair of youngsters from Tony and Simon Hughes of Rochdale. Tony and Simon have been very successful racing in the North West of England and also presented Terry with a gift egg, which produced, ‘Hughes 26’, the winner of 1st Federation (twice) plus 1st Breeder / Buyer (£400) in the 2009 season. Brilliant winning bloodlines! Terry enjoyed a wonderful 2009 season winning a long list of premier position flying north and south road, including 1st Thames Valley NR Federation four times.
Terry maintains that pedigree forms don’t win races and says his loft is based on Channing, Barker, Gits and Westcott’s mixed with his original birds to produce winners. His wonderful blue hen, Champion ‘Misty Lady’, must rate as one of the greatest long distance racing pigeons in the UK, when she was alive. The last race ‘Misty Lady’ flew was Thurso (492 miles) and she was the only bird on the day in the Federation, being clocked in darkness at 21.55hrs. Terry retired her after that race at nine years of age, although she still looked and acted like a yearling. As a yearling in 1990 she won 1st club, 1st Thames Valley Federation, 3rd open North Thames NR Combine (2,412 birds) Thurso (492 miles) velocity 777ypm. In 1991 she won 1st club, 1st Thames Valley Federation, 3rd North Thames NR Combine Banff (3,265 birds) velocity 980 ypm. Just three weeks later she was put back to Thurso and once again won 1st club, 2nd Thames Valley Federation, 2nd open North Thames NR Combine (2,200 birds). In 1992 she was 29th Thames Valley Federation Banff, beaten by five loft mates, all of which figured in the first 20 of the Federation result, with 1,051 birds competing. Three weeks later she was sent back to Thurso and recorded 3rd club, 9th Thames Valley Federation, 39th open North Thames N.R. Combine (1,749 birds) velocity 620ypm, in a south east head wind. This wonderful hen was entered in to Thurso in 1993 but due to bad weather the Combine brought the convoy back to Berwick and after a five day holdover was liberated from the 288 miles race point, and she arrived home late on the day. In 1994 ‘Misty Lady’ won 1st club, 1st Thames Valley Federation, 1st open North Thames NR Combine (1,914 birds) Fraserburgh (419 miles) velocity 1024ypm, in a South West wind. In 1995 she won 4th Club, 29th Thames Valley Federation, 78th North Thames Combine (1,951 birds) Fraserburgh. Then three weeks later went back again to Thurso (492 miles), to win 1st club, 2nd Thames Valley Federation, 8th North Thames Combine (1,613 birds), vel. 822ypm, in a South East head wind. This wonderful hen also won many prizes from the shorter race points, including 1st club Nottingham (91 miles) etc. In the 1996 she recorded 6th Federation, 13th Combine (1,597 birds) Thurso and in 1997, at the age of nine years old, she won in the three longest races: 35th Federation, 80th Combine (3695 birds) Berwick (289 miles), 19th Federation, 42nd Combine (1,708 birds) Stonehaven (372 miles), 1st club, 1st Thames Valley Federation (only bird on the day of liberation in the Federation), 3rd North Thames Combine, 1,832 birds (only four birds home on the day in the Combine). She won all the club and Federation major trophies on her own and also won the London Region and Osman Memorial Trophies in the past seasons. Champion ‘Misty Lady’ is a daughter of Terry’s good blue cock, ‘Gold Dust’, who won on the road: 1st club, 2nd Federation Fraserburgh, 1st club Doncaster and bred many outstanding racers including ‘The Lerwick Cock’. This brilliant cock was half-brother to ‘Misty Lady’ and won 1989: 2nd club, 3rd Federation Thurso (loft mate won the Federation), 1991: 1st club, 1st Federation, 4th open Combine Lerwick, 1992: 1st club, 2nd Federation, 3rd open Combine Lerwick. A wonderful family of long distance racers! Terry tells me ‘Misty Lady’ won in different nest conditions, but thinks she was at her best sitting 14 to 17 day old eggs. This champion hen was the dam of many outstanding winners and grand dam of many premier racers including ‘Miss Ripple’, ‘The 34 Hen’ and Terry Robinson’s of Cheshunt 2nd open London N.R. Combine Berwick in 2001.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)