The Midlands National’s Second Race
Portsmouth Suits Derek Leitch Just Fine!
The enforced decision to bring the pigeons back to Portsmouth was a huge disappointment for everyone. That said the feedback that I have received since the event by and large agree that the race controller got it right. This was further endorsed by the fact that the organisations who took the gamble to stay and liberate in France are in most cases now licking their wounds. Some may be offended by my term ‘gamble’ but when the forecast is at best very uncertain what other term can be better applied? Don’t get me wrong as I told our race controller when we chatted on the eve of the original race date ‘’I wouldn’t take your job even for a gold pig’’. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t is what springs to mind. For my money at the end of the day the birds welfare must come first.
Well as the heading to this piece says the race turned out fine for Derek Leitch and his two year old chequer cock clocked up a speed of 1246 in the light North Easterly breeze. I went over to Cosby to meet Derek and take a look at his winning bird which I was told is a crossing of Vandenabeele and Janssen lines. The father was acquired from Mr & Mrs Gilford who got their Gaby stock from Brian & Sue Stone. The bird’s mother is a nice hen that came off Mick Sale and is of the Curtis Wall & Lunt Janssens with their ‘Super Blue’ in her pedigree. On handling the National winner which was of just under average in size has in my opinion the ability to race 350-400 miles but I don’t feel that he will be going anywhere soon other than heading off to the stock loft. I couldn’t help but notice that the loft hadn’t suffered much by way of loses though Derek said that after a poor early season race he started to race a few hens and that it paid dividends as in their first race these ladies took the first three Fed places. Food for thought there Derek?
The National winner back in his box
On my visit the weather was sizzling hot and so we sat and talked pigeons in the shelter of the kitchen refreshed by a couple of nice cups of Breakfast tea. During our chat where we put the world to rights, we both felt that big changes need to be made including putting racing back at both Club and National levels because due to current raptor problems and the delay in getting the pigeons out as there simply isn’t enough time to prepare the birds fitness wise before racing commences.
A big sunny smile from Derek Leitch as he shows off his Champion
In 2nd Open on 1231 we see the South West section winner homing to the Oldbury loft of Williams Brothers who timed a yearling Blue W/F hen which will win the Yearling Classic race trophy for her owners. She is of Soontjen x Staf Van Reet breeding and she has several siblings that have proved their worth in the race basket with one of them clocking up 8 x wins including fed and Open race victories. The birds dam was bred for stock being bred from valued but ageing parents of the partners old base family. The father is a cock which was raced but after winning some good pries the decision was made to retire him to stock as it was felt that he would serve them better in the breeding section and this win highlights the wisdom of the lads decision.
Williams Brothers 1st SW section and 2nd Open
The Williams Brothers 2nd Open winner
The 1st North North West section winner located high up on the northwest coast into Fleetwood claims 3rd Open for Jim McLellan on 1222. The bird now named quite rightly ‘Fleetwood Pride’. She is a 2016 bred Grizzle hen of Leo Van Rijn bloodlines via Adrian Duggins whose birds have served Jimmy well since their introduction a few years ago. Jimmy told me that she homed like a ‘steam train’ to give him his 2nd 1st section victory over the past two seasons but this one takes the pride of place for Jim. Well done sir.
Jim McLellan with his 1st NNW section 3rd Open winner 'Fleetwood Pride'
2nd NNW section and 4th Open is claimed by another 2 year old hen belonging to Preston fancier P Heywood on 1215. The birds was sent sitting chipping eggs which obviously encouraged her to give her best efforts. She is of Gaby Vandenabeele breeding having the lines of Golden Gaby, Bliksem, James Bond and Golden Boy in her veins. Boy what a wonderful family the birds of Gaby Vandenabeele have proved to be since reaching these shores in the 1980’s.
Peter Heywood 4th Open
In 5th Open is the winner of the North East section to the loft of Ilkeston’s R Shelton on 1213. Rick Shelton 1st North East section 5th open with a cheq hen that was well fancied this hen having previously been a consistent performer in North East section. Rick was worried that he might not see his pigeons clocking as the liberation coincided with the funeral of his great friend Neil Inger a consistent flyer and clock station officer with the Midlands National club.
So it was a fitting tribute to Neil that this hen came first on the day of the funeral as the breeding is mainly of Neil’s Olympiade lines.
Rick has had pigeons since he was at school and like’s to keep it simple with added training when necessary he races in two clubs with the Bulls Head Ilkeston and the East Leek Flying Club.
R.Shelton winning Hen.
The North West section’s winner fills 6th Open for the farming family of R & J Goodwin and Son from Cheddleton up on the Staffordshire Moorlands. This is a popular win for a genuinely nice partnership. Their first bird is a yearling Blue cock which records 1212. He is a Franz Swolls x Louella Vandenabeele which the partners have been racing now for a few years. The loft also takes 4th section with another yearling cock. This one is a crossing of Verkerk x Verheye. The dam being bred from a hen belonging to the Goodwins that won 2x 2nd NW section in her career when paired to a cock off Nel Brians of Cheadle which won many good prizes racing from inland race points.
I find it very interesting to report that no less than 5 section winners fill the top 6 placings!
Dick Goodwin the senior partner of R & J Goodwin & Son the NW section winners
7th Open is won by another farmer in the guise of Bill Marbrow who clocked a well fancied 2 year old to clinch 2nd SC section and a handsome cheque.
Farmer Bill Marbrow winner of 7th Open
Another NNW section bird fills 8th Open and 3rd in it’s section for Roskell & Williamson on 1204. The partners tell me that this yearling cock is a son of ‘85’ which won 2nd section and 25th Open in the previous race. The breeding is De Rauw Sablon x the George Hilson middle distance birds and are obviously taking to the MNFC national races like ‘ducks to water’.
Roskell & Williamson 3rd NNW section and 8th Open
9th Open is taken by the partnership of Luke & Steven Gash whose bird defied the wind to take a good position and 2nd North East section. The lads thought that they had no chance of a good open placing, but their 2 year old Chequer cock came home bang on line and in great condition. This was reward for their hard work and they credit South Feeds for the quality of their corn that they feed to their birds.
Luke & Steven Gash 2nd NE section 9th Open
The 10th Open prize goes to the Fowler Family of Leek. Their bird is a 2 year old Vandenabeele and is good enough to take 2nd in the North West section. I’m informed that this hen is no stranger to success as she already has chalked up 4 x 1st club wins and Fed diplomas.
The Fowler Family 2nd NW section and 10th Open
Around the sections
First of all I will tidy the North West section where 3rd spot is taken by Paul Grayson of Fenton who clocked a 2 year old hen on 1190. In 5th section and 17th Open Alan Walklate sent me details of his good 3 year Dark Cock which was bred by Wignall & Barney and has proved his ability once again after winning two prizes from channel races as a yearling. Last year he was injured but has proved his recovery with this latest result.
In the East section Ian Cameron did the ‘old 1, 2’. The two birds were clocked in less than a minute. The first one being a yearling Blue cock of Premier Stud’s De Rauw Sablon lines x with a Macaloney of Bandit & Shady Lady lines. The second timer is a 2 year old hen of a similar cross this one being of the Macaloney ‘Merlin’ line. The birds are raced on the ever popular Roundabout system. On the photo is Ian’s daughter Rhona who is holding the section winner. Ian tells me that his girl has raised over £6,000 for charity. Well done young lady.
Ian & Rhona Cameron with their 1st & 2nd East section winners
In 3rd place this time is Jon Walker who sent me a photo of his bird being admired by his daughter Jade and grandson Jacob. Jon tells me that though he is still only 2 years old he is obsessed with pigeons. Long may that continue I say!. In 4th slot are Mr & Mrs Gilbert of Grantham who clocked a fancied bird for a nice cheque.
Jon Walker showing off his 3rd East section winner to his daughter Jade and grandson Jacob
The East North East section winner is Dave Beadle who clocked his 3 year old Blue Derwa x Sablon hen. She was 13th section in the first race of the season. Dave would like to thank the 2nd section winner Tony Meek who sportingly rang him to say his bird was home so he could verify her as he was at work. Well done Tony. Tony’s bird that was just pipped by a decimal with both recording 1076 is a good Vandenabeele hen which has already won two club races in the past and she is raced on the roundabout system. In 3rd section is A & F Sarel of Hedon on 1063 and 4th going to Bridlington’s Norman Robinson 1052.
Dave Beadle the winner of the ENE section Tony Meek 2nd ENE section
Bridlington's Norman Robinson 4th ENE section this time
Down country now into the East South East section where we find S & T McCurry claiming 1st & 3rd places. The first bird is a half-sister of ‘Tom’s Girl’ which won 1st National from Portland in 2014 her dam having not only bred the winner but several other fine racers. The 3rd section winner is Blue hen of Macaloney breeding her sire being bred from Shergar and Nellyboss. 2nd section is filled by Manning Brothers & Son but no further details I’m afraid as is the case with the 4th placed bird belonging to M Godfrey.
Stewart McCurry with his latest ESE section winner
Mr & Mrs Auker though did take the time to inform me that their timer for 5th section is a 2 year old pied hen bred from Wade Brothers stock which was entered caring for an 8 day old baby. She has previously shown her ability with two first prizes to her credit.
Ron Auker high up in the ESE section once again.
There is plenty of information from the South East section beginning with the winner belonging to Lawrence Ogden 1196. The bird is a 2 year old widower cock and he originates from SP Crawford of Ipswich and the bird has won a number of prizes for his owner.
Lawrence Ogden 1st SE section
In 2nd section is new committee man Geoff Jakings who flies in partnership with his wife Geraldine. Their timer is a 3 year old Emile Deweert roundabout hen. Geoff echoes the thoughts of so many when he told me ‘’ We were disappointed but not surprised that the birds had been brought back to England and we are sure that it was the correct decision’’.
Geoff Jakings 2nd SE section
3rd section was claimed by Perkins & Seymour who clocked a Blue W/F hen flown on their own devised ‘chaos system’. The bird is a crossing of a Micky Betts cock and a daughter of Morris & Pugh’s National winner ‘Licensed to thrill’. 4th section is filled by Gasson & Son with a 3 year old Red widower. The partners tell me that though he has won club and fed prizes this is his best performance so far.
Perkins & Seymour's 3rd SE section winner
Gasson & Son 4th SE section
Tidying up the South Centre section in 3rd slot is Dean Pallatt of Shearsby on 1196 and 4th section is taken by Allen & Hope with a 2 year old cock on 1185.
News is none existent I’m afraid in the North section, but Gordon Parker & Son take 1st 2nd & 4th section with Bircotes flyer Pete Hagland claiming 3rd spot. What a pity not to get some info on a superb result Gordon.
Gordon Parker who enjoyed a great race in the North section
It is a similar story up in the North Centre section too. All I can say is that Ripon’s Brandon & Nigel Simms top the list and come back for 4th place to boot with the Keighley duo of Shackleton & Son in 2nd place and S P turner & Son taking 3rd position. Some come on chaps if I get no info how can I be expected to report it!
Taking 3rd section in the North East section are R & N Dennett their bird which records 1165. The bird is a 3year old hen which went AWOL as a yearling but which returned a year later and being of the partners ‘old lines’ was given a second chance and has rewarded their patience with this prize. Nigel tells me that she is mother to a bird which was gifted to Luke Gash and won from Carentan the previous week. Nigel said he was pleased with the condition of their returning birds which he sent back to another inland race 4 days later to keep them ‘ticking over’ and ready for the next channel race. Thanks were given to Steve Gash for taking the partners birds to the marking station as work commitment often make things difficult. 4th prize is taken by Beeston’s P W Hudson on 1163.
Tidying up the South West section now and this is exactly what Wolverhampton’s N Webb did on 1193 as he entered just one yearling cock bird and cleaned he up nearly £1400. Yes that’s the way to do it! In 3rd place we see a partnership who are flying extremely well, and this is Mr & Mrs Peter Shaw with a Vandenbrande cock being bred from a brother to their ‘Champion Blue 74’ who is a double RPRA Award winner. The bird is bred from an inbred daughter of ‘Champion Blue’ so very inbred indeed. The bird has already won the Central Counties Midweek club and has come with others on two occasions being beaten into the clock by loft mates. The partners highlighted my earlier comment by winning the MCC on the same day with a further three birds in the top ten open placings and three of these four birds related to ‘Blue 74’. What a pigeon this cock is! 4th section is filled by another form loft of Shaun McDonough with one of his cracking hen team this one being a yearling. So it looks like the production line is still operating Shaun.
Like the shirt. Peter Shaw looking cool after another great weekend's racing.
Finally let’s highlight the West section now where we see Dick Spring & Son take pole position on 1166. The partners tell me that both parents of their bird named ‘Lanky Legs’ were gifted to them by their friends the Huyton Aces Terry & Tony Kirman. The bird is of Anton Reynard’s ‘Figo’ breeding and got her name because she is a big beautiful dark hen. 2nd section just one yard behind is taken by another loft that is making many sit up and take notice of are R & B Smith. Their latest performer is a 2 year old Blue hen and is of superb breeding . The sire of which comes from their good friend Joe Xuereb from Malta and this Janssens Brothers blood is from his Italian pal Ernesto Agostani who got his birds directly from the world famous Brothers with children off the likes of Good Blauwe, Jonge Mrckx, Schoon Blauw and the Schouwman. The dam is a full sister to a superb racing hen which has won umpteen fine results in both the MNFC and NFC including 1st section from Fougeres and 3rd section in the NFC from Messac in addition she has wins in the Eccles 2 Bird and the St Helens 3B. Her wins warranted her winning the 2013 West section Mid-dist Ace pigeon Award. The partners tell me that these Maltese/ Italian Janssens have had a huge impact on their loft breeding birds like ‘Miss Alva’ 1st section Carentan and ‘Joe X’ a 1st Combine winner and they in turn are also breeding winners.
R Spring & Son's West section winning hen 'Lanky Legs'
Ernesto Agostani with the Janssen Brothers (see report on R & Smith)
In 3rd section we see Bebington’s Stevenson Bros with a 2 year old widower cock. I am told by Mike one of the partners that a week before the race that he came home to find his birds all loose in the corridor. The mystery was cleared up when his 6 year old granddaughter confessed ‘’sorry grandad I wanted to feed them the pigeons when I was feeding them they flew over my head and I couldn’t catch them to put them back. Nanny told me not to tell you because you would go mad!’’ I’ve been there too Mike when years ago my daughter volunteered to feed my birds while I was away for a couple of days and she was should we say vertically challenged for her age and when I came back the birds were all over the place but clearly enjoying their female companions company. Mike now wonders if it was the extra enforced exercise or the additional food that inspired his cock to claim 3rd section recording 1158. The bird was bred from stock off his good friend Adrian Leach of Leach Brothers and wishes to thank him for both his birds and advice. Mike also had kind words for the MNFC race controllers for their efforts and hard work during what has often been testing times over the past couple of seasons. He finishes by saying that it should be remembered that a forecast is exactly that a forecast and not a guarantee. I couldn’t have put it any better myself sir it’s good to see someone who understands the situation that we so often find ourselves in. The 4th section winner is Orrell’s John Winstanley who clocked a 2017 bred hen on 1143
Mike Stevenson with his 3rd West section winner