Nothing but champions
A fancier with such an impressive palmares can be rightfully considered one of Belgium's best players. It took Kristof just five years to go from highly talented newcomer to household name in the long distance. He got his best results this season with his team of yearlings, just like in 2015, when he relied on his one year old racing birds Spolle and Kobe, who each claimed a second prize. His star of 2017 is Magnificent Seven. Kristof was able to become 2nd Nat. Champion KBDB Extreme Long Distance and Long Distance Yearlings '17 with the help of these pigeons:
BE16-6240340: 506th nat. Agen (833 km) 5,335 p. (2nd nom.)
She is a daughter of Harlekein (BE14-6193153), which won a 19th Nat. St. Vincent and a 16th Prov. Limoges as a two year old, and who has the Silver Wing of 2010 and Barcarcas Red Ace (1st Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB Extreme Long Distance 2016) as her uncles. The dam of the 340 is another dam of Joppe (8th Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB Extreme Long Distance YLs 2014). The Silver Wing of 2010 is a relative of hers as well. Click here for the pedigree of the 340.
BE16-6240352: 583rd nat. Agen 5,335 p. (1st nom.)
This 352 is also related to the 2010 Silver Wing: the great-grandfather of 352 is none other than 537/08, the sire of the Silver Wing. His other great-grandfather from his father's side is Jelle (BE12-4019241), a name worth remembering. You can tell from his origins from his mother's side that he comes from the Desbuquois brothers, the Belgian Barcelona champions. Click here for the pedigree of the 352/16.
BE16-6240321: 87th zone B1 Jarnac (700 km) 1,136 p. (2nd nom.)
He is a son of Dannie Narbonne (BE12-4019233), one of Kristof's top breeders, and the sire of a 1st prov. Agen and 5th prov. Marseille. The dam of the 321/16 is Donker Vetsje, which is in turn a daughter of the Bronze Wing 2010, and the dam of quite a few talented racing birds. The full pedigree of 321/16 can be found here.
BE16-6240354: 198th zone B1 Jarnac 1,136 p. (1st nom.) and 282nd zone B1 Tulle (661 km) 2,627 p. (1st nom.)
Racing bird 354/16 played an important role in claiming the title of 2nd Nat. Champion, having won two top prizes. The 354/16 is a son of Kobe (BE14-6193173), wich is a nest brother of Spolle and a son of Witpen Bont Koppel (NL11-1583973), which is another name worth remembering. The dam is a sister of the aforementioned Jelle. Click here for the pedigree of the 354/16.
BE16-6240346: 169th nat. Narbonne (903 km) 3,424 p. (2nd nom.)
The sire of the 346/16 is another Dutchman: Nico (NL11-1043934) of Nico Haesen. This pigeon is also related to the 2010 Silver Wing from its mother's side. Click here for the pedigree of the 346/16.
BE16-6240371: 392nd nat. Narbonne 3,424 p. (1st nom.)
This 371/16 was born with excellent genes. The grandfather from its father's side is Witpen Bont Koppel, and he is related to a sister of Jelle from its mother's side. In addition, he is related to Rode Cramers, the sire of Barcarcas Red Ace (1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance 2016), being the grandfather from his mother's side. This pigeon was bound to become a successful racing bird. Click here for the pedigree of the 371/16.
BE16-6240395: 277th zone B1 Tulle 2,627 p. (2nd nom.)
And then we have the 395/16, a son of Jelle. His origins from his mother's side are even more impressive: the dam is a sister of Spolle (1st Prov. Montauban & 1st Prov. Libourne). This means the 395/16 is a grandson of Witpen Bont Koppel and a great-grandson of Jelle from his mother's side. Click here for the 395/16's pedigree.
Even those who just briefly skimmed throug these pedigrees must have noticed: four out of seven racing birds have the same bloodlines as top breeder Jelle. Before starting his career as a top class breeder, this talented pigeon won a 1st Prov. Libourne 765 yearlings (11th Nat. 6,134 p.) with an impressive 30 minute lead over the second in the race. As a two year old he won a 2nd Provincial Limoges (1,407 p.) and a 2nd Provincial Montauban (526 p.). What is most remarkable about his palmares is that all of his best results were won in particularly demanding conditions: only the very best pigeons in these three races had a velocity of at least 1000/min. In fact, his first prize from Libourne was won with Jelle being the only pigeon breaking the 1000 m/min mark.
Jelle, excellent racing and breeding bird
Jelle was very tough to beat as a racing bird but what really made him stand out was his unique abilities as a breeding bird. His name has appeared in the pedigree of all of the best racing birds of team Mortelmans, whether it be as the sire, as the grandfather or great-grandfather. Have a look at the following palmares, keeping in mind that winning a provincial first prize is quite a challenging task, and knowing that Jelle moved to the breeding loft only in 2015:
1st prov. Marseille 248 p. (19th nat.) with Kobe (grandson) 1st prov. Libourne 916 p. (98th nat.) with Spolle (grandson) 1st prov. Montauban 280 p. (30th nat.) with Spolle (grandson) 1st prov. Narbonne 307 p. (3rd nat.) with Prima Donna (granddaughter) 3rd prov. Narbonne 307 p. (31st nat.) with Ferre (grandson) 9th prov. Marseille 248 p. (60th nat.) with Tibe (great-grandson)
In addition, his sons and daughters have won numerous prizes per ten, and this gives us an idea of how Kristof goes about selecting his pigeons. His one year olds have to compet in two long distance races. If a pigeon intends to keep racing for the team, it'd better win a two out of two (100% prize percentage) or one top result (a prize per ten). Those that fail to meet these demands will have to make place for another talented newcomer that will get the exact same chances next season.
The most successful descendant of Jelle so far is without doubt De Spolle BE14-6193174.
De Spolle, a beautiful athlete with a proven record
Jelle managed to twin two provincial second prizes in a single season, but Spolle outperformed his grandfather by winning two provincial victories in one year. And the Jelle descendants perform really well not only in this loft. In 2016 Guido and Tom De Rijck obtained a granddaughter of Jelle, ans this pigeon was called Prima Donna. Instead of transferring her to the breeding loft right away, she had to show her potential as a racing hen. Tom and Guido were quickly reassured: one year later she won a 1st Provincial Narbonne 307 yearlings. And coincidence or not, just 11 from a total of 3424 pigeons at national level finished that race with a velocity of over 1200 m/min.
Witpen Bont Koppel
Another important bloodline for team Mortelmans is NL11-1583973 Witpen Bont Koppel, which was obtained in an internet auction. This purchase raised the bar significantly in this pigeon loft, and his sons went on to win:
1st prov. Libourne 1st prov. Montauban 1st prov. Marseille 2nd prov. Narbonne 8th prov. Montauban 10th prov. Pau 18th prov. Brive
Witpen Bont Koppel was inbred to Bont Koppel (NL90-2823006 x NL90-2823009) of Nico Volkens from his mother's side. Nico is regarded as one of the best Barcelona specialists of his generation. He is also related to Jamie from his father's side, another renowned bird in Nico Volkens's collection. Click here for the full pedigree of Witpen Bont koppel.
The descendants of Jelle paired to the descendants of Witpen Bont Koppel is a very potent combination indeed. Grandson BE16-6240375 Ferre wins a 3rd Provincial Narbonne in 2017, that same race in which his niece Prima Donna claimed a first prize (the sire of Ferre is a nest brother of the dam of Prima Donna). Kristof Mortelmans has successfully combined valuable bloodlines with each other. The full pedigree of Ferre can be found here.
After winning a second place in the national championships twice, and a number of provincial first prizes, Kristof has two big challenges ahead: claiming a first prize in the national championships, and winning a national first prize. We reckon both the fancier and his pigeons should be up for this task. In fact, everyone in Kristof's entourage is confident that he will be adding these two achievements to his palmares sooner rather than later.