Raoul and his son Xavier Verstraete are fanciers with a solid reputation: they have been at the top for over 40 years, for which they deserve much respect. Pigeon magazines have reported extensively about their many successes in our sport. Few fanciers have actually managed to play a key role in competition for over 40 years, as one of the leading names at international level.
We asked Raoul and Xavier about the secret behind their success, and they agreed it was their breeding loft, and the breeding of youngsters from superior crack pigeons in particular. Their most important breeders are Gouden Bol, Uno and the invaluable Topstar. These phenomenal breeders have given the modern day Verstraete pigeon its excellent reputation and international appeal.
The invaluable Topstar
Raoul & Xavier are convinced that Topstar is the best breeder ever to have lived in their loft, and they have had quite a few top class breeders already. Their breeding loft in Oostakker was the home to such illustrious breeding icons as Gouden Bol, Mirage, Zilveren, Elvis, Rapido, Panter, Uno, Miljonair, Bolide, Cadillac and many others.
Topstar was first of all an excellent racing bird:
’04 Beziers Club 228 p. 1 Nat 2,075 p. 26 I.Nat 6,702 p. 77 ’05 Montauban Club 239 p. 1 Nat 7,303 p. 77
These achievements are even more impressive when taking into consideration the difficult weather conditions, with races taking place in mid-Summer, in strong headwinds and at speeds of over 1000 m/min. This was the reason for Raoul and Xavier to bring their Topstar to the breeding loft right away, and it proved the right decision.
Topstar was given a special place in the breeding loft in Oostakker, which he shared with some of the best looking breeding hens from around the region. We can imagine many men would be jealous of such top class breeders as Topstar.
This Topstar has bred an incredible number of long distance champions in a very short period of time, and the first of them was Xtra, a pigeon that started his career with a 1st Nat. Cahors 5,425 pigeons in 2008, after having already won a 21st Brive 14,521 pigeons two weeks earlier. Xtra has now become one of the leading names in the breeding loft.
Several top class racers and long distance champions followed in his footsteps, giving their opponents a hard time. It is fair to say the direct descendants of this Topstar played a significant role in Raoul and Xavier’s titles of General Champion of Belgium Entente 2009 and 2010 and General Champion of Belgium KBDB 2011. These descendants are phenomenal racing birds that know how to win prizes in every competition, from the longer middle distance to the long distance and the extreme long distance!
Topstar developed into the undisputed stock sire of this loft’s current generation of stars. He is the sire of:
1st Nat. Cahors 5,425 p. in 2008 (Xtra)
3rd Nat. Zone Brive 4,381 p. in 2008 (Xtra)
1st Nat0 Ace Pigeon Long Distance ‘Duivenblad’ 2008
1st Nat. Ace Pigeon young birds ‘Belgian Fondtrophy’ 2011 (Best Star)
1st Int. Ace Pigeon young birds IFV 2011 (Best Star)
1st Prov Blois 5,272 p.
2nd Best pigeon from Montauban over 4 seasons 2009-2012 -PIPA ranking (Bijou)
2nd Prov Blois 2,712 p. (Clo Clo)
2nd Nat. Ace Pigeon young birds ‘Belgian Fondtrophy’ 2010 (Bella)
6th Nat. Ace Pigeon young birds PIPA Ranking (4 Nationals) 2010 (Bella)
2nd Nat. Ace Pigeon yearlings ‘Belgian Fondtrophy’ 2011 (Nest brother Bella)
Xtra: winner of a 1st Nat. Cahors in 2008, and a direct son of Topstar
The following generations proved really successful as well, and not only in their own loft; several other fanciers have won national first prizes and ace pigeon titles with descendants of Topstar. This is illustrated by the best references of 2014:
Black Magic: 1st Internat Perpignan in 2014 for E. Limbourg and a grandson of Topstar
-Black Star BE08-4355789:
A super class breeding pigeon in the lofts of Erik Limbourg and a full brother of Xtra. He was paired to a half sister of Eagle Eye and together they bred Black Magic BE10-2135147, winner of:
1st Internat. Perpignan 17,965 p. in 2014 34th Nat. Montauban 6,822 p. in 2012… etc.
New Bliksem: 1st Nat. Tulle YL in 2014 for G.Vandenabeele, and a grandson of Topstar
This hen originates from a joint breeding of Raoul & Xavier Verstraete and Gaby Vandenabeele. She is a daughter of Topstar x Lisa BE04-3069722, a top quality breeding dam of Gaby Vandenabeele (daughter of iconic breeder Bliksem BE04-3069722 x Frieda BE99-3103770, a stock dam of Cools-Blancke). Kiana was paired to Rudy, one of today’s stock sires in Dentergem. Rudy x Kiana proved an excellent breeding pair: together they bred New Bliksem BE13-3056024, winner of several top results in 2014:
01/8 Tulle Prov 900 p. 1 Nat 5,731 p. 1 24/5 Bourges Club 228 p. 1 Prov 3,039 p. 5 17/5 Tours Club 120 p. 1 Prov 2,964 p. 10
Monar: 1. Internat Narbonne in 2011 for E. Meirlaen and grandson of Topstar
The invaluable breeding dam of Etienne Meirlaen, obtained from a joint breeding with Raoul and Xavier Verstraete, from the pair Topstar (Verstraete) x Marathon Lady (Meirlaen). Yelena is the dam of:
-Monar: 1st Intnat. Narbonne 2011
-4-5-10-12-13 Nat Montauban (with the three musketeers Montauban, Montali and Monar)
-All in One BE13-4077161: 6th Nat. Ace Pigeon extreme long distance yearlings KBDB 2014
Yelena is also the grandmother of:
-Monar’s Pride BE13-4077055: 9e Nat Asduif Grote Fond Jaarse KBDB 2014
Click here for the breeding references of the amazing Yelena
These are just a few of the many references that demonstrate the enormous breeding value and the level of performance of this successful bloodline. Topstar is not only the sire of a national first prize winner, he is also the grandfather of 2 international first prize winners and a national first prize winner, as well as several national ace pigeons. Fanciers talk a lot about top class breeders and stock sires, and Topstar is without doubt the number one stock sire in this loft. He is really talented and he has exceptional breeding talents. This Topstar is one of a kind.
The Verstraete racing loft won a 1st Fontenay 112 young birds, and a 1st Brive 86 yearlings (15th Nat. Brive 3,850 YL) with two grandchildren of Topstar, and a 1st Tulle 111 yearlings (35th Nat. Tulle 5,731 YL) with an inbred cock of Topstar-Xtra. These pigeons are great athletes capable of dominating the most demanding races.
The Kastar, the new breeding-star: direct son to Topstar and already father to 1. Prize winners from 200 till 700 Km
Verstraete pigeons: the key to success
The Verstraete pigeon has been at the top for over 40 years, and winning top results has never been very difficult for them. The secret behind the successful loft of Raoul and Xavier, and their most important asset, has been to breed youngsters from true super class pigeons. Raoul has always had an eye for talented pigeons, and he is well aware that good pigeons breed good pigeons. These pigeons have great determination and the willpower to give everything they have; it has become an innate quality of this breed. These were the kind of pigeons Raoul wanted to have in his team, and they have enabled the two fanciers to perform at the highest levels season after season.
Hundreds of fanciers have made their way to the top after having introduced pigeons of Verstraete, which is no coincidence! Countless national victories and national ace pigeon titles have been won with this bloodline, Such renowned fanciers as Erik Limbourg, Etienne Meirlaen, Gaby Vandenabeele, or Chris Hebberecht have also been successful with this breed. In 2014 the grandchildren of Topstar once again highlighted the quality of this pigeon breed; Topstar is a phenomenon in our sport today. He has had some fertility problems in 2014, which means the time has come for his talented sons and daughters to continue the Topstar legacy. They have done a great job already, breeding two international first prize winners and two national winners. This is a world class breed, well done!