Bob and Anthony Besant (Worcester Part, UK) win 1st international Agen 2015

On Friday 26th June, the list of international race winners in the United Kingdom rose to five as Bob and Anthony Besant claimed victory from Agen. This marked the crowning glory for what has been a meteoric rise to the top for the father and son partnership of Worcester Park.

Bob and Anthony Besant, 1st international Agen 2015

An illustrious career

Bob and Anthony Besant have had a long and distinguished career in pigeon racing. Prior to their return to the sport in 2008, they had recorded two National Flying Club victories in 1979 and 1991. Since their return, they have slowly climbed the ladder of success. Their initial interest was federation programme racing; at which they excelled recording many 1st prizes. Having achieved their goals in this discipline, Bob and Anthony’s ambitions evolved in 2012 as they began to concentrate on long distance national racing. To this end, they introduced the bloodlines of Geoff and Catherine Cooper, Matt Rakes, H. and P. Brockamp and Brian Denney – all long distance winning families.

This change in focus has yielded some impressive results for the father and son partnership as their team grew in experience:

2nd, 4th, 38th, 50th and 54th open London and South East Classic Guernsey (175 miles)
35th and 121st open BICC Poitiers (344 miles)
59th and 118th open National Flying Club Messac (255 miles)
2nd and 24th open London and South East Classic Bordeaux (450 miles)
14th, 51st, 53rd, 56th, 80th and 94th open London and South East Classic Guernsey (175 miles)
11th and 56th open BICC Falaise (172 miles)
25th open National Flying Club Saintes
11th, 18th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 36th, 44th and 95th open BICC National Guernsey (175 miles)

Racing System

Bob and Anthony began the 2015 season with a team of twenty five pairs. Whilst they had traditionally favoured the widowhood method for their old birds, they wanted to test their hens in 2015 and so raced their team celibate during the opening weeks of the season. This method continued until the team had raced across the English Channel on four occasions, up to 250 miles. The team showed plenty of early season form in the early BICC races:

10.05   Falaise           4187 birds       open    38, 60, 72, 81, 101
17.05   Alencon           4657 birds       open    88, 154, 223
30.05   Tours             4315 birds       open    213

Following the Tours race, the hens were stopped racing and the Besants focused on the cocks. The hens were shown to the Agen team prior to race marking and this obviously provided sufficient motivation to achieve what was to be an outstanding result.

Noble Dream (photograph courtesy of Chris Sutton)

At 4:01 pm on Friday 26th June, Bob and Anthony Besant’s life changed forever. The pigeon responsible for this has since been named Noble Dream.  He is a 2 year old dark chequer cock whose bloodlines include many top long distance pigeons including Morning Glory (2 x 2nd National Flying Club Pau) and Tuff Nutt (5th National Pau 738 miles). His previous results include:

2nd club, 3rd federation, 4th combine Nort Sur Erdre, 2014
41st section, 92nd open BICC Poitiers (2701 birds), 2015

He achieved this before going on to win:

1st section, 1st open BICC (999 birds), 1st international Agen (10510 birds), 2015

The wing of 1st international Agen 2015

A descendant of Tuff Nut

The name Tuff Nut is one of folk lore amongst long distance-minded flyers in the UK. He is a dark white flight cock bred by David Harrison from his very best Brian Denney and Van Bruane bloodlines. Tuff Nut is one of a long list of champions to grace the Yorkshire loft of Brian Denney. Tuff Nut recorded 1st section K, 5th open N.F.C. Pau; flying 738 miles to his loft in York. Many consider this to be one of the best performance in the Pau Grand National ever. He also recorded 6th open Northern Classic Saintes (573 miles) where he was clocked on the day of liberation. A true long distance champion!


Tuff Nut (photograph courtesy of Keith Mott)

The United Kingdom can once again toast the success of an international victory. Friday 26th June will forever live in the memory of Bob and Anthony Besant.