“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT.
Three Borders Federation (Blandford Race).
After a desperately bad start to 2019 racing season weather wise, the Three Borders Federation sent 719 birds to Blandford (80 miles) for the first old bird race and member of the Esher club were back at the top of the Federation result sheet, with club members recording 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 20th and 24th Federation. A fantastic club performance! The Federation convoyer, Dom McCoy, liberated the birds at 11.30hrs in a north east wind and a good steady race, with excellent returns was enjoyed by all!
The first ten in the Blandford Federation result were: 1) Malik & Khan 1254: 2) Malik & Khan 1243: 3) Malik & Khan 1242: 4) Malik & Khan 1242: 5) Malik & Khan 1242: 6) Bob & Anthony Besant 1233: 7) Chris Slight & Mike Charlton 1233: 8) Malik & Khan 1222: 9) Mr. & Mrs Terry Leonard 1215: 10) Mr. & Mrs. Terry Leonard 1215.
After a brilliant 2017 racing season the Esher club had a lean year performance wise in the Federation in the 2018 but have come back with a ‘banger’ of a start to 2019! The competition in the Three Borders Federation was strong and hard in the 2017 season, and once again the mighty Esher & Dist. RPC came out on top, winning the ‘Federation Points’ Trophy’, with 176 points. The club has won the championship nine times in the last fourteen years and this time was very tight run race, with the runners up being the Spelthorne club, on 171 points. It is common knowledge that the Esher is a very strong club, sending up to 300 birds a week and in most races, short or long, members have to more or less win the Federation to win the club. Needless to say, the Esher member’s presence is very strong in the Federation results and won 176 racing positions, including seven 1st Federation winners in the 2017 season. A fantastic club performance! The Esher club must rate as one of the premier clubs in the south of England and is dripping with top quality fanciers who are hell bent on winning the Three Borders Federation every weekend. The Federation ‘Individual Points Trophy’ was won by a country mile by Malik & Khan of the Esher club, on 92 points and they won 77 Federation positions, and topped the Federation five times in the 2017 season. They also won the ‘Ken Besant Memorial Trophy’ for best pigeon of the year, won by GB 17 N 50001, the winner of 1st Federation (twice) and 3rd Federation (twice) in the 2017 racing season. Well done to the Imran and the lads, a fantastic performance! Bobby and Danny Carter also of the Esher club and Renato Obertelli of the South Downs club were joint runner up for the ‘Individual Points Trophy’, with 37 points and both these lofts won 1st Federation in the 2017 season.
Malik & Khan have been one of the premier lofts in the South of England for several years now and have won many top positions in the Federation, Combine and National. In the 2015 season the Federation ‘Individual Points Trophy’ was won by a country mile by Malik & Khan and then again in the 2017 season. The Three Borders Federation’s young bird racing results in recent seasons have pretty much been dominated by the Esher & District RPC partnership of Malik & Khan, winning 1st Federation many times and numerous other positions. A few years ago, I use to write that these young lads were up and coming stars in our sport, but after their recent performances it is safe to say there are now at the very top of the ratings.
The partner’s race cocks on the widowhood system and the old bird’s racers are paired up in January to rear a pair of youngsters and are trained on their second round of eggs, before going on the widowhood. The cocks are trained twice a day for eight day from 25 miles and are only sent to sprint races. Imran only likes short racing and has no interest what so ever in long distance pigeon racing. Whether it be the old bird or young bird widowhood system, the birds are broken down for several days each week and the hens are shown on marking night, but if it looks like being a very easy race, they might only be shown the nest bowls. The cocks get their mates for a couple of hours on their return from the race. The partners loft is a brick structure, which was converted from a brick garden shed already in Imran’s garden. The original floor was concrete, but the partners have fitted a new wooden floor over the concrete and all trapping is through the open window for both young and old birds. The loft has three sections, with an aviary on one end, which houses a few late-breds and the loft is cleaned out every day, with the floor and perches being burnt off. Imran tells me, they keep 12 pairs of stock birds and they are all Janssen, but different lines. The breeders are paired up on Boxing Day and any new introductions into the stock loft are selected on the pedigree, and never type. The youngsters are put on the ‘darkness’ system on the last weekend in March and they come off normally at the back end of June. The loft houses 50 young birds for racing each and they race the whole programme, although Imran says, he wished he had it in him to stop a few and save them for old birds racing, but he is to greedy and want to win everything he can with young birds. He maintains, he just loves young bird racing! Ten cocks are put on the widowhood system and the rest are raced to the perch, although they are allowed to pair up and have eggs and youngsters if they want. Training starts two weeks after they come off the ‘dark’ and this is worked up in stages to 25 miles and they get three 25-mile tosses ever week during the racing season. The widowhood cocks are treated like old birds and are not trained during the racing season.
Malik & Khan only joined the Esher club in the 2012 season and these young lads have been outstanding in the Three Borders Federation for several years, including winning the SMT Combine for the first time with a youngster several years ago. Imran Malik started racing pigeons in the 2004 season with a team of young birds purchased from Louella Pigeon World and in the 2005 season Janssens were introduced from Imran’s uncles, Khan Brothers of Kingston. The 2005 young bird season saw him smash his novice status and recorded 1st, 2nd, 9th, 10th Federation in that season. Malik & Khan finished the 2014 racing season in great style by winning 1st, 2nd Federation from Taunton and then two weeks later they won 1st Federation from the last and longest young bird race from Yelverton. These lads are really outstanding young bird specialists, winning the Federation every season with their babies. The Federation sent 1,471 birds to Taunton and Malik & Khan won the Federation by 9ypm clear. Two weeks later the membership entered 867 birds in to the last race from Yelverton and with the wind being a brisk east / north east, the birds had a hard push over the 180 miles home, with the winners taking over 4 hours 30 minutes to finish. The Tolworth lofts of Malik & Khan were well on the pace again, recorded 1st Federation for the second time in two weeks and this time winning 1st SMT Combine (1,516 birds). A really great performance, with the lads winning a fast-short race and then the longest young bird race, which was hard and slow!
Bobby and Anthony Besant of Worcester Park own one of the all-time premier lofts in the UK, winning 1st open NFC (twice), countless times 1st Federation through many years and now 1st open International Agen (10,510 birds) in the 2015 season. A racing record second to none, achieved over many years! I have now known the Besant family for well over 45 years, and in that time, I have seen them win every major award there is to win in pigeon racing. In the early days the Besant brothers, Ken, Bobby and Ron, won at club, open, Federation, Combine and National level and even in the 1970’s theirs had to be rated as one of the best lofts in the United Kingdom. The Besant loft has won 1st open National Flying Club twice, the first time in 1979 from Guernsey with their champion young bird, ‘Stafford All Alone’ and this game Krauth blue cock beat 9,353 birds and won the Young Bird National by five clear minutes. Champion ‘Stafford All Alone’ was a full brother to the widowhood blue cock Champion ‘White Beak’, winner of 14 times first prize, beaten by loft mates for a further six firsts, and both these Krauth cocks went to Louella Pigeon World. “White beak” was once said to be one of the most outstanding Krauths in Europe, winning 68 prizes from 87 miles through to 555 miles. He was also said to be one of the most versatile Krauths at that time, winning from Blandford, then going on to record 150th open (6,066 birds) N.F.C. Pau (555 miles). The Besant partners had been premier prize winners in the very strong Kingston & District H.S. countless times through the years. In later years the partnership was made up of Bobby, Ken and Bobby’s son, Anthony. The loft won 1st open National Flying Club for the second time in 1999, from Bordeaux, with 3,776 birds taking part in the race. The partners’ winner, the Herbot blue cock, Champion ‘Besant’s Bishop’s Pride’, was bred by Brian Bishop of Sutton and in six consecutive races he won: 2nd club Weymouth (108 miles), 5th club Exeter (151 miles), 28th section E. (2,500 birds), 254th open N.F.C. Nantes (10,591 birds), 1st club, 1st Surrey Federation Weymouth (1,973 birds), 1st section E, 1st open N.F.C. Bordeaux (3,776 birds). This great pigeon won the National by over 45 minutes, winning £4,478, a record amount of cash for a single pigeon in one race at that time, winning an R.P.R.A. Merit Award for 250-450 miles performance, awarded the London Social Champion of London Trophy in 1991. Ken said at the time he was a once in a lifetime pigeon and was a champion at stock, with his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews all won in open and national competition.
Bob and Anthony Besant hit the ‘jackpot’ in 2015 when they won 1st open International Agen (10,000 birds) and brought such great pride to the UK pigeon fancy. The partners named their Agen International winner ‘Noble Dream’ and their wonderful champion was a two-year dark cock, raced on the widowhood system. Bobby told me he thought it was a decent time when he came in from Agen and ‘Noble Dream’ did his usual party trick of landing in next doors tree before coming in to the loft to be clocked. He had won several premier positions before his Agen (499 miles) International win, including 3rd Three Borders Federation, 4th SMT Combine (699 birds) Nort sur Erdre (278 miles) as a yearling in the 2014 season. I handled him on a visit to the Besant’s home after the race and he handled very like a true champion, being medium, with very good silky feathering, and looking at him in his nest box, he had a big character and presences in the loft. What a great buzz it was to see and handle Bobby and Anthony’s great champion!
TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)