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Jos Thoné (As, BE): “With the introduction of Avril, the number of race winners across 100-700km skyrocketed"

As most of you know, the world famous sprint pigeon 'Avril' (BE03-5071209) of Jos Then from As died in November 2019. Her 'in memoriam' reads like an incredible list of achievements in the sprint and the breeding loft.

‘Avril’ has bred several grat champions in races of 100 to 700km, and several of her brothers developed into new stock breeders in other lofts as well.

Jos Thoné and his son Xavier: "Avril was without doubt one of the fastest pigeons ever to have lived."

“Avril was a pretty special bird. As a racing bird in the sprint, it appears she would leave her basket almost instantly. Avril was quite a phenomenon, she was almost impossible to beat in the sprint. She was a white coloured pigeon, which really made her stand out while racing", Jos Thoné proudly explains. His admiration for Avril comes mostly from her impressive achievements in the sprint: "She was without doubt one of the fastest pigeons ever to have existed. She was 1st Olympiad Pigeon 2017 and she won three titles of 1st Ace Pigeon LCB (2005-2006-2007). Besides, she was 2nd Provincial Ace Pigeon sprint in 20015 and 2nd World Champion sprint in the same season."

Jos Thoné and his ‘Avril’: "the stock breeder for all of my sprint pigeons"

And many other fanciers from across the globe have the utmost respect for this legendary bird. As a result, Avril's passing was big news in China. "Aril was a fantastic bird, both as a racing bird and in the breeding loft. She was very tough to beat in the sprint competition: she claimed an impressive 69 top prizes in six seasons, including as many as 20 clear wins, without doubles. This was truly a top class bird."

Professional pigeon fancier and all-round champion Jos Thoné - four time world champion, 6 x Golden Pigeon, several Olympiad Pigeons - feels at home in almost every discipline. He is involved in every type of race, whether it be a sprint, middle distance, long distance or extreme long distance competition. And he races with carefully selected pigeons that are all capable of taking the win. His successful career is the result of a team of top quality pigeons and a lot of craftsmanship. "I spent my entire career figuring out how to speed up our long distance pigeons and how to strengthen my sprint pigeons. If the descendants fail to meet the expectations, I intervene. In other words: if the long distance pigeons I breed are too slow, or if my sprint pigeons are not strong enough, I start to select and think things through. I admit that this keeps me awake at times. You have to contemplate and make logical decisions. This does cost a lot of time and energy. Fellow fanciers call it craftsmanship. And I'm quite proud of that."

And he continues to get great results in recent years as well, as you can tell from his achievements in 2019: 135 first prizes, 3 provincial wins (Perpignan, Libourne and Aurillac), a 2nd National Chateauroux II and 6 national top results in the zone (1. Argenton I old birds, 1. and 2. Argenton I yearlings, 1. National c. Souillac yearlings, 2. National c. Souillac, 1. National c. Bourges II, yearlings). This last victory was won by Tiko, a direct son of Koen paired to Tilly (1st Nat. Tulle, fastest of 13,426 pigeons). The dam of Tilly is super class hen 500/09 and a daughter of Avril. And this brings us back to the central thema in this article: Avril. Avril proved to be a super class breeding dam, with many of her youngsters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren developing into highly successful racing birds.
One of the stars in the sprint competition in 2019 was Sua, another descendant of Avril. Sua has 23 first prizes to her name, and she is already part of Jos Thoné's breeding team.

Click here for Avril's pedigree.

Paying tribute

"We - which means me and my assistants, and my son Xavier in particular - are well aware that Avril deserves a special tribute. I remember grandmaster Jan Grondelaers saying that 'sprint pigeons are more intelligent than long distance pigeons, which rely more on strength alone.' What he meant by that is that genuine sprint pigeons are often more alert and more intelligent; he looked for this type of bird across the globe. You need pigeons that do not hesitate; they leave their basket in an instant, to head home. I remembered the things he said, and I learned over the years that Avril had all the features of a top class sprint pigeon."

And in the case of Avril, there is a lot more positieve news. Jos Thoné explains: "Of all the youngsters that came from this breeding pair, she was clearly the fastest, which is great. On top of that, a brother of Avril called Frost developed into a phenomenal breeder. He is for instance the sire of Sachi (BE12-5030350), winner of a 1st National La Souterraine of 19,155 pigeons. And shortly after her great result in the longer middle distance, Sachi in turn proved to be an excellent breeder as well. In addition, two other brothers of Avril that were bred from that same breeding pair would become two stock breeders for Marc Vanockelen and Reynders-Tack. Good blood never lies."

Great talents

Some fabulous racing birds have been bred from the Avril bloodlines, although the team relies on several other strong breeders as well. Think for instance of Jutta, Kajo and the aforementioned Sachi. We talk about a few of their best descendants to conclude this article.

Click here for the pedigree of Sachi, 1st National La Souterraine (19,155 pigeons, fastest of 23,848 pigeons)

Check the pedigree of Billy (1st Nat. C Gueret)' 

Click here for the pedigree of Candira (8 first prizes)

Click here for the pedigree of Oliver (5th Nat. Argenton of 13,720 pigeons)

Click here for Rhea's pedigree (3rd Nat. Chateauroux of 6,387 pigeons)

Click her for the pedigree of Sacha (7 first prizes sprint)

Check Tiko's pedigree here