From left to right, Sébastien Casaert, Michel Dubois & Joost De Smeyter.
Invictus, best pigeon of Europe
The best extreme long distance pigeon of Europe in 2015 has been bred by Michel Dubois, a French fancier living in Maisnil, a small village located in the north of France next to the Belgian border. With no less than 3 x top 21 international, he achieved a coefficient of 0.3266%. He couldn't miss this title even if we must underline the performance by the pigeon of Gérard Laurent (Etalo, France) who won himself 3 x top 30 international prizes from Pau, St-Vincent & Perpignan (0.5151%) and who could have won as well the same title if he had not faced this exceptional pigeon. The podium is completed by the pigeon from the Rezenthel bros (Marck, France). The three best European pigeons from 2015 are all French. France is also taking the biggest piece of the cake with no less than 7 places into the top 10, the 3 others being won by three well known Belgian lofts: the unstoppable Joost De Smeyter, the Team De Jaeger and the partnership Delrue-Vanbruaene. The French fanciers can be proud once again of their compatriots who are, step by step, becoming strong opponents for the other European countries. It's the third time in a row that this ranking is won by a French loft (Gery Etuin in 2013, Hervé Sammier in 2014 and now Michel Dubois in 2015).
Aged 61 years, Michel Dubois is the manager of a carpentry business. He started to race pigeons in 1972 after he came into contact with our sport thanks to his neighbour, Christian. Since then, Christian is involved in the daily management of the loft. Michel Dubois immediately focused on the long distance races because of the first pigeons he received when he started his hobby. One of his first pigeons was a hen offered from the great champion André Deguillage. This hen was directly placed to the breeding loft but her descendants were not able to win any prizes until they were basketed for the long distance races. That's how he decided to focus only on these distances. Several years later, Michel Dubois obtained a few pigeons from Ignace Hovaert (Sion origin). The descendants of these pigeons are still forming the basis of the loft. It was thanks to them and thanks to the descendants of his base hen, the Bague Rouge, that he won the European Cup in 1994, a title he was very close to winning again in 2004 when he ended up at 2nd place. It was not the first time that Michel Dubois was put under the spotlight! The old Hovaert basis was later strengthened with pigeons directly obtained from his friend Robert Ben, from Alain Bavencoof, from Roger Tantart (Didi Devos line), from Noel Peiren but also from two great Dutch champions, these being Chris Vandervelden and Jelle Jellema. The mother of the famous Invictus is a direct Jelleman hen. Michel Dubois was probably one of the first fanciers to ever pay a visit to Jellema where he could choose a few pigeons out of a group of almost sixty youngsters.
Michel is managing a team of around fifty old pigeons and around forty yearlings raced on classic widowhood. The hens are not raced by Michel Dubois, but he would like to form a small team in the coming years. Fifteen breeding pairs are breeding around eighty youngsters on a yearly basis. During the year of their birth, they are only trained while the yearlings are only entered into a few middle distance races before finishing their season with one or two races of 600 kilometers. Their results are not important, only their condition when they come back home is checked for the selection. The career of a pigeon only starts at the age of two, whilst the pigeons are entered on the CALC program (most of the times races of 600 kilometres) before ending their season with one international race, a race choosen before by their manager. A first selection is done after this race. At the age of three, the goal of these pigeons is to be entered into two or three international races, following the difficulties of the season. Practice like this allows Michel Dubois to race his pigeons until the age of 7 years without it have a negative effect on their sporting value.
Best European pigeon over all international races - 3 prizes Best European pigeon over all international races - 2 prizes 5. Internat Pau 9,052 p. ’15 (834 km, velocity of 933 m/min) 15. Internat. St-Vincent 10,737 p. ’15 (814 km, velocity of 1043 m/min) 21. Internat. Perpignan 15,954 p. ’15 (893 km, velocity of 1032 m/min)
Sire: Ignace FR09-116648
A stock breeder in the lofts of Michel Dubois. He originates from a single bloodline (father x daughter combination), namely that of Super Pigeon, a top class racer and winner of a 4th Nat. Dax. Ignace is in fact a direct son of Super Pigeon FR98-046324, which was in turn bred from extreme long distance pigeon Ardiles FR90-064672 x Nestsister Zoulou FR89-061124 (Zoulou won 5 prizes from Pau and 4 from Marseille) x Zezette FR05-295103 (dochter van Super Pigeon FR98-046324 x Daughter Zoulou FR98-728902). The dam of Ignace is Zezette FR05-295103, a daughter of Super Pigeon FR98-046324 x Daughter Zoulou FR98-728902.
Dam: La Jellema NL07-1187406
A direct 1st international Barcelona 2014, Jelle Jellema.
She is a daughter of Iceman NL04-1369232 (a son of Orion NL01-1110401 x Mirna NL01-1110452) x Daughter Saffier NL03-1708721 (bred from Kars NL02-2234861 x Saffier NL01-1110402). Both Orion (winner of a 6th Nat. Bergerac ’04 and 7th Nat. St.Vincent ’05) and Saffier (winner of 1st NPO Ruffec ’03 and 6th NPO Brive ’04) are direct youngsters of stock breeder Zwart Goud.
Invictus is of course not the only pigeon of that loft to have shone in the past. We are for example talking of Fred who ended up his career in 2015.
3rd Best European Pigeon on all the international races - 2 prizes 25. Internat St Vincent 10,907 p. '13 38. Internat Pau 8,576 p. '13 119. Internat Pau 8,295 p. '14 177. Internat Narbonne 12,528 p. '14 219. Internat St Vincent 10,737 p. '15
Who knows, maybe we will find again the name of Michel Dubois at the top of an international race in the coming international happenings from 2016. Congratulations to the Dubois loft!