The National Flying Club young bird and old hen race from Coutances 2019

The final race of the 2019 season for the National Flying Club took place from Coutances on the 7th of September when 395 members sent 3246 young birds and 195 members also raced 915 old hens. The birds were liberated at 7:00am in a light north west with a more westerly wind in the channel veering NNW further into the country, they cleared immediately and true to form the first birds to be verified were in the Portsmouth area.

I had been staying at Portsmouth myself to attend a family wedding and left to make the journey to Brighton at around 10:30 on the Saturday morning. I spotted a kit of around 50 pigeons coming straight off the sea, heading north and was thinking they might be National Flying Club pigeons when Linda pointed out another large batch of two or three hundred coming from the direction of the Isle of Wight, only to be followed by another several hundred pigeons, strung out in a line, also heading north.

Malik & Khan (all photos courtesy of Chris Sutton)

The winning young bird flew to the loft of Malik and Khan, also known as “Team Ace”, situated right at the top of the A3 in Tolworth London and just two minutes later it was followed by a loft mate to take first and second open, with yet another a few minutes later to be ninth open provisional. They were delighted to win the National Flying Club and when I arrived I was met at the door by Imran Malik followed by his son Ibrahim who said “my Dad was going to take me fishing this morning, but he said we had won the big one, so I don’t mind not going” Whilst Imran was making a cup of tea his partners Atif and Fez Khan arrived, and we discussed the fact that they use the darkness system with their young birds which were sent sitting fourteen days with regular training.

National Ace

They had previously won the BICC from Falaise this season with the old birds and at that time they told me they like to keep around forty young birds and will train them very hard as they are looking for every opportunity to test them. “They will go to every federation race available with two national races at the end of the season. They are raced on the darkness system so they are in good feather throughout and when moving them over to the race loft at the end of the season, they will be confident they will perform as yearlings having proven themselves. Sometimes small third round of about ten youngsters hatched in May, will be tried with plenty of work and some of their best prospects have come from these.”

The winner's wing

They are good friends with Jan Hooyman and their first bird “National Ace” is bred from “Harry” lines on the sires side when paired with a daughter of “Tip Top Junior” and “Queen of Rekkem” which are Frans Zwols. Their second bird “Nearly Ace” is also half Jan Hooymans “Harry” line when paired to an inbred cock around “As Euro” of Augst Jansen. “Harry” is renowned in the pigeon world as is “As Euro”, “Tip Top Junior” and “Queen of Rekkem” so the partners have really invested their money wisely. Imran had treated his son Ibrahim to a special hair style and was sporting the Nike Swoop cut into the side of his head, which of course means “Just do it” which I thought was very apt as the loft can now add the big one to their list of achievements.

The young bird winner trapping

Ken Wise

Just six miles over to the north west is the loft of Ken Wise in Isleworth and after leaving the young bird winners I made my way over as he had timed a two year old hen to win the Old Hens race and he had also timed a young bird which was third open so he too had a very good race. “To be fair” said Imran Malik “Ken really sets his hens up for the Nationals, and his young bird was also 8th Open BICC from Guernsey a couple of weeks ago so he should be proud”. Indeed, he is and he would like to thank his long standing friend Dick Evans for breeding him the young bird. Dick had bought a very special pigeon from Peter Veenstra and sent a daughter down for Ken to race which has certainly proven her quality, being twice in the top eight competing in major young bird races.

De 376

Ken has had pigeons from Myrtle Lofts for many years and all his own birds are bred around those with one very special bird being the grandfather of his loft. He had bought a young bird direct from “Shadow” in 2006 which do not travel too well during the delivery and when it arrived Ken thought he was going to lose him. But he turned himself around after a couple of days which earned him the name “Shadow of Death” and he went on to breed winners from the first nest at all levels right up to National and Open Races. His winning hen “De 376” is a double granddaughter of “Shadow of Death” with “Champion Shadow”, “De Bandiet”, “Comick Girl”, “Rolls Royce”, “Queen of Diamonds”, “Benetton”, "One so wonderful" and “Mistress” in her pedigree plus her dam won 1st SW Sect 1st Open London South East CC and won a RPRA Award in the London Region for best young bird.   

The winner's wing

He races his old hens on a roundabout system but as room is tight, he adapted the system to suit his requirements. A long aviary about a metre wide runs the full length of his loft with plastic sheeting attached to prevent the birds seeing each other when out for exercise. Just inside the section he has built two cupboards, one either side of the entrance to the nest box section, in which he places the hens when the cocks come in to prevent contact during the week although for this last race, they were paired and sent sitting eggs. He saw this system being used at Dave and John Hawkins loft and is an ideal solution in a small loft set up. In 2018 he was 1st sect, 2nd Open N.F.C. Old Hens from Coutances with an inbred “Champion Shadow” pigeon and 1st sect 2nd Open B.I.C.C. Old Hens from Guernsey with an inbred “Jester” & “Carrie” pigeon from his direct M & D. Evans bloodlines. Ken Wise and Team Ace would like to thank everyone involved in organising the race.

The old hen winner trapping