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Geoff and Catherine Cooper (Peasedown St John, UK) add a second international victory to their collection in 2013

The international races of 2013 were testing events where durable and single-minded pigeons came to the front of the results. It was therefore no surprise to see the name of Geoff and Catherine Cooper with impressive regularity.

Geoff and Catherine Cooper with friends Mr and Mrs Darren McFadden
at the Pau International presentation dinner

A unique pairing

On Friday 14th June, Geoff and Catherine were sat in their beautiful home and gardens awaiting the return of their team of 8 entries. What unfolded was, in international pigeon racing terms, an incredible performance, as the Coopers timed 3 birds to record 1st, 8th and 16th open international and 1st, 4th, 5th international hens! These 3 remarkable birds raced at the front of the field over the 902 kilometre course; with the outright winner being their ace hen Wollongong. With their other international winner Farmer George, now in the breeding loft, Geoff and Catherine have a truly world class pair of birds with which to breed another generation of exceptional racing pigeons. How many other lofts can pair international winner to international winner, both bred and raced by the same fancier?

2013 season

As readers of previous reports will have learned, Geoff and Catherine now focus their efforts solely on achieving success in international races. In the United Kingdom, this is practised through racing with the British International Championship Club.  In 2013, the Coopers achieved the following results:

Falaise          194 miles (4198 birds)   section:               1, 6
                                          open national:         581, 679
Alencon          228 miles (4797 birds)   section:               4, 5, 6, 9
                                          open national:         6, 7, 8, 15
Tours            307 miles (2453 birds)   section:               19, 42, 45
                                          open national:         19, 44, 49
Pau              561 miles (342 birds)    section:               1, 2, 3
                                          open national:         1, 5, 6
Agen             516 miles (660 birds)    section:               2, 4
                                          open national:         8, 27   
Barcelona        719 miles (265 birds)    section:               1
                                          open national:         6
St Vincent       533 miles (215 birds)    section:               3, 6, 7, 8, 9
                                          open national:         6, 18, 20, 26, 30

Added to this impressive list of results, the Coopers won 7 x 1st prizes and 60 top 10 prizes in club racing (70km – 300km). These results were achieved flying in only a handful of races due to national and international racing commitments.  However, it is the same pigeons that win and achieve early prizes in these races that go on to excel at the long distance international events.

A single-minded family

The Coopers have an exceptional family of pigeons that have achieved these results. They are a family of pigeons that think and race as individuals, famous for flying on their own over long distances, all the way to their home lofts. It is unusual to find a family of birds unafraid to leave the main flock and fly on their own. When they do this they also have to fly nearly 200km over the sea, which results in a sudden drop in temperature and strong cross winds.

This has been proved by their 2 international race winners; Farmer George won the Bordeaux international race in 2011 by 47 minutes and Wollongong won the Pau international race by 32 minutes in 2013. These 2 pigeons both contain the line of the incredible George in their pedigrees.

The incredible racer and breeder George

The 2013 winner Wollongong, a previous winner of 1st club Exeter, 4th National Tours, 10th section St Malo and 3rd section, 35th national Pau, is a Hans and Peter Brockamp pigeon on her sire’s side but her dam is a half-sister to George, the Cooper’s 1st NFC Tarbes winner. Other ace racers for the Coopers that contain the line of George are Scotty (1st section, 5th National Agen, 1st section Falaise and 1st section, 9th National Bordeaux), Georgia Jean (8th international Pau, 4th International hens, 5th National Pau ­, 1st Euro Diamond Pau, 1st section, 22nd open Pau, 21st section, 51st open Tours) and Southfield Abigail (2nd International yearlings Bordeaux, 3rd International hens). Another daughter of George is the dam of the amazing Farmer George, a winner of 1st international Bordeaux from 22,029 birds, 3rd National section Tours, 135th NFC Saintes and 150th open Fougeres. Yet another daughter of George has bred 1st ace pigeon Europe in the Wuhan Golden Sands Derby race in China. George has been a brilliant line for the Coopers and his offspring have been equally influential in other lofts that have obtained them. Such examples are: 1st grand national Pau for Harding Bros, 1st international Dax for Mark Gilbert,1st open Saintes national for Stan Dangerfield, 1st open Pau Classic for Witney and Reed, 1st grand national Tarbes for Paul Kendall and 1st national Carentan for J and D Staddon.

At the top of the mountain

2013 will be another memorable year for Geoff and Catherine Cooper. Not only did they record a second outright international race victory, but they also took their tally of national section (provincial) wins in 2012 and 2013 to an incredible 10. This brings the total number of 1st national section wins to over 40! Their recent top international prizes are 1st Bordeaux, 1st Pau, 2nd Bordeaux, 8th Pau, 12th Dax, 16th Pau, 37th Dax and 86th Perpignan. With George, Farmer George and Shiraz (2nd international Bordeaux) already in the stock loft and breeding some excellent birds, the addition of Wollongong will make this one of the strongest breeding lofts in Europe. Geoff and Catherine therefore remain at the very summit of European pigeon racing!