Having gone through 25 trainings of up to 200 km and two hot spot races of up to 330 km, 650 pigeons were released at 7.15 am to participate in the final of the 9th King's Cup Race. It was cool and very foggy in the morning at the liberation site but temperatures rose as time progressed and the route continued south. The birds had to navigate through the mountain ranges during the first 40 to 50 km and fight the strong side wind up to 30-35 km/h from the northeast. At destination, it was hot and humid, especially in Bangkok. That is typical of racing from the north in a bad day this time of the year, evidenced by the fact that all local clubs have lost more than 80% of their birds so far this season. Racing from the northeast with wind in the back and flat terrain is thus friendlier to the birds.
It was clear from the beginning that it would become a tough race as the winning bird was clocked in at exactly 2:42:24 pm on the roof-deck of the nine storey SCG building in the prime area of Thailand's capital, with a speed of only 1117.531 mpm. After three consecutive winners from Thailand the greatest honor this year was for a foreign team from Europe. Team Bagillt from Wales, UK-entered by Richard Millington and John Davies, is to be honored as winner of the Final King's Cup Race 2016. Second prize winner is team Blue Blood (Thailand-entered by Sornthep Gomutputra) with a bird that arrived at 2:46pm, almost 4 minutes later than the winner. Attentive spectators from home and abroad then had to wait over another three-quarters of an hour until 3:20 pm for the third prize winner, the domestic team Nan-Fah (Thailand-entered by Phillip Vuthivarathorn).
On the first day only 28 pigeons arrived at their home loft in Bangkok. Only 9 birds attained flying speed above 1,000 mpm while the the fastest of the rest of the field reached only 860.353 mpm. The next day saw 328 more birds coming and when the clock was stopped at 5.00 pm on the third day, 420 birds had returned home. A total of 1,476 were registered for TGPR 2016. This number includes 1,228 local entries and 248 from foreign sources (16,80%). In conclusion, the TGPR 2016 maintained its status as one of the fairest but also most difficult one loft races worldwide:
- 44.04% of all the birds reached from original registration right through the final race;
- 54.77% of these pigeons arrived during the first two days in the final race (or 24% of the birds that were initially registered).
International entries have proven again that they were not handicapped by the local conditions. Four birds finished within the top 10 places in the final result: the winning team, Rogers & Simpkin (10th place) from the UK, Jassim Alkulaib (6th place) from Kuwait and Zhao Qiang (9th place) from China.
The Final King's Cup Race 2016 winners, on 14 Jan 2017 (500 km)
- Team Bagillt (Wales, UK) with GB16 Z 52156 – awarded with 24,000 EU prize money;
- Blue Blood (Thailand) with C16-09288 – 8,000 EUR;
- Nan-Fah (Thailand) with R16-49417 – 4,000 EUR.
Winning Team Bagillt from Wales (UK), Richard Millington (left) and John Davies (right)
Hotspot Races and Ace Pigeons
Before the final race two hotspot races with a distance of 260 and 330 km respectively were held. The first hotspot race took place on 9 December 2016 and was won by Dr. Wanlop Chieravanont (Thailand). The second hotspot race on 23 December 2016 was won by Jia Biao (Thailand). The King’s Cup winner also secured the first Ace Pigeon title with 2,000 EUR having won the 1st place in Hotspot 1 (1026 pigeons) and 108th in Hotspot 2 (884 pigeons). This pigeon was also the first among international entries and thus won additional 1,600 EURO that goes with the title. In all, the UK winner collected 27,600 EURO, exactly the same feast that was achieved by “Home Alone” of Chris Hebberecht in 2008. The first prize winner, now in possession of Blue Blood Loft, is a beautiful blue hen of medium size. Her sire comes from a Syndicate loft cock when paired to a hen from C. J. de Heijde which in turn is a cross between Heremans-Ceusters and Etienne Meirlaen x Jan Hooymans; she is called “Lady Futur”. The dam of the winner is Marijke Vink’s “Tips” line coupled with a Gaby Vandenabeele hen. The second prize winner, C16-09288, is a medium-size blue cock whose sire is a grandson of Chris Hebberecht’s “Champion” paired with a granddaughter of Koopman’s “Mr. Emmerveen”. The dam comes from a 1st prize winner over 730 km paired with a 2nd prize winner (Gaby Vandenabeele line) also over 730 km. The two parents were victorious in the same year at Blue Blood Loft. The third prize winner is a strong checquered cock from a long time local strain with good track records in long distance races.
Hotspot 1 winners on 9 Dec 2016 (260 km)
Dr. Wanlop Chieravanont (Thailand) with R16-57706 Thongsuk Chuprachak (Thailand) with R16-47810 Teechavichian–Veulemans (Thailand-Belgium) with R16-59912
Hotspot 2 winners on 23 Dec 2016 (330 km)
Jia Biao (Thailand-bred by Blueblood loft) with R16-47553 Teechavichian Brothers (Thailand) with R16-59914 Yilin Loft LiLin (China) with CHN16-01-0575021
Top 5 Ace Pigeons 2016
In the middle dr. Teerapol Teechavichian (Thailand), the new owner
of the winning bird but also 1st ace pigeon GB16 Z 52156.
Tribute to Mike Cooney
A shadow on the event this year was unfortunately the sudden death in Thailand of pigeon fancier and OLR icon Mike Cooney (Manchester, England) on January 5th. He won TGPR 2012 and was also the breeder of the winner of TGPR 2013. At the moment when one of Mike’s pigeons entered the roof for 12th position, present pigeon fanciers felt a great sadness and emptiness.
The Final King’s Cup Race - Hall of fame
2008 – Chris Hebberecht (Belgium) 2009 – Vinai Mongkolkasemsilp (Thailand) 2010 – Dr. Teerachon Manomaipiboon (Thailand) 2011 – Viboon Kulwuthivilas (Thailand) 2012 – Mike Cooney (England, UK) 2013 – Vitoon-Pitak (Thailand) 2014 – Hartog International (Thailand) 2015 – Poj-Nittaya (Thailand) 2016 – Team Bagillt (Wales, UK)
Fanciers who want to participate in the 10th anniversary edition of the Thailand One Loft Race 2017 may contact the international representatives. The event will take place in the second week of 2018. The entry fee will be 125,00 EUR per bird or 625,00 EUR for a team of 6 pigeons. More details can be read soon at http://www.thailandoneloftrace.com/