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Damien Baert (Ere, BE) - Important victories thanks to his golden pair!

It is often said that if you want to be successful in the pigeon sport, the discovery of a golden pair can make the task easier. Ask Damien Baert what he thinks about it. 15 years ago, he had the luck of discovering this kind of pair. Even up until now, their influence on the performance of his loft is still huge.

And you don't even need the so called 'good pedigree' to discover one. The two partners of his golden pair, christened 'Joel' x 'La Flamande', were born in 1998. The cock comes from the tandem Dumortier-Bienfait, a colony from the area, but the hen was simply bought in the Liers market. Origins? Unknown.
Damien decided to couple them together at the begining of the new millenium. Was it a stroke of luck or a master stroke ? Given the regularity with which he produces new cracks, we can imagine that he already had a good hand at that time.

In 2003, he came under the spotlight after he won the 2nd national from Argenton against 17.112 youngsters. It was almost the only time that a pigeon not descending from this much talked about pair won a national top prize at his home. The previous year, he also won a top prize from Argenton, good for the 4th national Argenton against 3.624 yearlings with a direct son of the pair. Belgium doesn't know it yet, but she has a new great talent in her ranks. In 2006, Damien will confirm the great feeling that he had when winning the 1st semi-national La Souterraine against 3.482 old birds with 'Nils', a direct son of the couple. His brother, 'Hector', won the 5th prize semi-national.

Damien in front of his breeding boxes

Before being sold (except for a few of them), all the direct descendants from this pair (whivh at that time was 'nothing more' than a promising couple) were placed in the breeding loft. Damien didn't know it at the time but it was maybe one of the best decisions he made during his whole life. Especially because Maurice & Grégory Casaert just won during the same year the 1st Semi-National Châteauroux against 11.526 pigeons with 'Dow Jones', a son of 'Daisy' which is probably one of the best children of the pair formed by 'Joel' and 'La Flamande'. In fact, after she won the 2nd semi-national from Bourges against 4.861 pigeons, she moved to the breeding loft of the Casaert. Five years later, much water has flowed under the bridge. And the appelation 'golden pair' has never been so judicious. Have a look:

- Top 10 won by the descendants of the golden pair against massive opposition

1st  Semi-National Argenton 3.482 pigeons '06
1st  Semi-National La Souterraine 5.154 pigeons '09
1st  National Argenton 10.571 pigeons '10 (highest speed of 30.328 pigeons)
1st  Interprovincial Vierzon 11.073 pigeons '11
2nd  Semi-National Bourges 4.861 pigeons 
4th  National Argenton 3.624 pigeons '02
5th  Semi-National La Souterraine 3.482 pigeons '06
6th  Zonal Bourges 6.154 pigeons '10
6th  Semi-National Châteauroux 12.992 pigeons '05
6th  Semi-National Châteauroux 14.082 pigeons '05
6th  National Châteauroux 25.263 pigeons '11
6th  National Bourges 31.719 pigeons '11
8th  National La Souterraine 17.814 pigeons '09
10th National Châteauroux 25.263 pigeons '11

It's easy to note, the early prizes (top 10) tend to have accumulated since 2009. In addition, Damien won 3 important victories 3 years in a row, the most significant being the 1st national Argenton won by 'Diego' (with the highest speed of 30.328 pigeons), a crack which had already won the 19th national Bourges against 22.516 pigeons in '10! This year, 'Connor' followed in the same way as he won the first race of the 2011 season, namely Vierzon Interprovincial against 11.073 pigeons.
We sometimes heard that, apart from his interprovincial victory, the season of Damien was rather 'flat'. It's completely false. In fact, the pigeons of Damien answered present at each of the races where they were expected, that is to say races where the flying conditions are hard: heatwaves and head wind. If Damien knows how to prepare his pigeons when the flying conditions are favorable to him, this will be useless if his pigeons won't be able to excel. In 2010, 'Diego' realized the highest speed of 30.328 from Argenton in tough flying conditions as he flew at 1.213 m/min with only three pigeons above the 1.200 m/min. During the 2011 season, there were not many races with similar flying conditions. It was the case with Vierzon with the Interprovincial victory with the old birds but also the 13th place against 6.638 yearlings with tropical temperatures. But the races of Limoges, Châteauroux and Bourges were also hard for our winged friends. And yet, the Baert colony hit hard so, do you really think that it was only a matter of chance ?

04/06/11 Limoges Zone A       - 8.120 olds : 47 (1.049 m/min)
04/06/11 Limoges National     - 19.373 olds : 63 
04/06/11 Châteauroux Zone A   - 7.132 olds : 25, ... (1.087 m/min)
04/06/11 Châteauroux National - 20.517 olds : 58
04/06/11 Châteauroux Zone A   - 10.587 yearlings : 4, 6, ... (1.112 m/min)
04/06/11 Châteauroux National - 25.263 yearlings : 6, 10, ...
30/07/11 Bourges Zone A       - 9.480 youngsters : 4 (1.124 m/min)
30/07/11 Bourges National     - 31.641 youngsters : 6

These kind of performances won with low speed is an element that needs to be take into account if you want to judge the quality of a racing loft. With this kind of achievement, Damien shows that he owns a strain of pigeons able to stand out in tough conditions. Due to his geographic position (one of the shortest distance present in the top 100 of each of these results), it was the only solution. Achieved by inbreeding over a number of years, Damien went in search of  new breeding material. He knocked at the good door at the right moment when he went to visit Eric Limbourg to purchase a few couples of eggs. The father of 'Diègo' was one of these eggs (as a grandson of the super 'Blue Ace')... bull's eye ! Damien did a few exchanges with Bernard Van Renterghem from Pipaix. The two friends were very successful. Out of a cock from Van Renterghem, Damien bred in 2009 the famous 'Thibaut' (1st Ace Pigeon Yearlings LCB '10 with 3x top 30 national or semi-national in one month's time). He was rarely wrong when he decided to purchase something for his own loft.

Let's say that his pigeons are also able to win top prizes in the long distance races. Last year, 'Tedd' proved it:

- 'Tedd' (BE 07-9016023)

1st   Ace Pigeon Long Distance LCB 2011
5th   Limoges Derby Ht   1.713 p. (1.049 m/min)
7th   Limoges Provincial 1.679 p.
47th  Limoges Zonal      8.120 p.
63th  Limoges National  19.373 p.
6th   Montauban Provincial 915 p. (1.058 m/min)
12th  Montauban CFW      2.689 p.
156th Montauban National 9.091 p.
9th   Souillac Local       228 p. (1.184 m/min)
12th  Tulle Local          129 p.
215th Perpignan National 6.257 p. (1.163 m/min)
305th Perpignan International 15.756 p.

But also :

Etampes 4/710, Châteauroux 2/140, La Souterraine 3/228, Nanteuil 4/381, Dourdan 7/826

Father: 'Bleu' (BE 00-9182575), out of the pair 'Bleu Bouchart' x 'Marie-Claire', a proven cock from the breeding loft at the very begining!
Mother: 'Tatiana' (BE 06-9114182), daughter of the golden pair but mainly mother of 'Diègo', 1st national Argenton 10.564 pigeons '10!

Finally, let's talk about the great hope for the coming season. 

- 'Max' (BE 10-9035170)

Very late breed of 2010, he was only trained a few times in 2011 before being basketted directly.

07/05/11  3rd Soissons       111 yearlings
28/05/11  1st Bourges        315 yearlings
         18th Zonal        4.873 yearlings
        512th National    20.544 yearlings
04/06/11  2nd Châteauroux    478 yearlings (after loft mate)
          3rd Lessines-Leuze 937 yearlings
          5th Provincial   1.566 yearlings
          5th CFW          5.441 yearlings
          6th Zonal       10.587 yearlings
         10th National    25.263 yearlings

Rightly stopped after this race. In three races, he showed his great class. Definitely a pigeon to follow for the next year!

Father: 'Ludo' (BE 07-9028460), son of 'Joel' x 'La Flamande'.
Mother: 'Blue Bariolée' (BE 05-9004532), direct from B. Van Renterghem out of his famous basis couple (100% Roodhooft), parents of numerous 1st prize winners and of an Olympic pigeon.

In only one month, the 2012 season will be launched. Damien is preparing his weapons and everything looks fine. Who knows, maybe he will realise a new trick for which he has the secret? We wish you a good and successful 2012 season!