Pieter Veenstra and Hsu Ho Chen win this year's title of 1st Ace Pigeon Grand Average in the Million Dollar Race across all races

The prestigious Million Dollar Race took place last weekend. The overall victory went to South Africa; the best pigeon across all 16 races comes from The Netherlands. Pigeon fancier Pieter Veenstra and his Chinese companion Hsu Ho Chen finished in 14th place in the final, making a sudden leap from place 17 to 1 in the Grand Average ace pigeon ranking.

The only ace pigeon in the top 25 to keep its place

The Dutch-Chinese combination of Pieter Veenstra-Hsu Ho Chen were in 17th place in the Grand Average ace pigeon ranking just before the final. After the final on 3rd of February, with a release at 6 in the morning in bright and cold weather (12°C) and a slight (southeasterly) breeze, the ranking was suddenly turned upside down. Only one pigeon in the pre-final top 25 had managed to keep its place: CHN17-0227000 Return Flojo of Pieter Veenstra and his partner Hsu Ho Chen. Their pigeon finished in 14th place in the final, moving up from 17th to 1st place in the Grand Average ace pigeon ranking.

The best of Pieter Veenstra x Chris Hebberecht in one ace pigeon winner

Return Flojo carries a Chinese ring but she has nothing but Belgian and Dutch origins. The sire is a son of Ike (1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance) x sister Champion (2nd Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance and 1st Prov. Ace Pigeon Long Distance), two world class pigeons that made Chris Hebberecht (Evergem, BE) an internationally renowned player. This 643/10 was obtained on PIPA by Arjan van der Wal, and he is still part of his collection. He is being used for joint breedings with Pieter, in which he is paired to Pieter's breeding hen NL12-5200222. This hen, the dam of Return Flojo, is a full sister of Dolce Vita (1st Nat. Ace Pigeon WHZB, 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance WHZB and 1st Olympiad Pigeon Allround), an outstanding racing hen of Pieter Veenstra (Drachtstercompagnie, NL). She comes from Davinci (1st NPO and a grandson of Koopman's stock breeder Kleine Dirk) x Special Blue (daughter Mr. Blue, 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon WHZB Allround 2004 and 3rd Nat. Ace Pigeon WHZB Allround 2003). "The 222, my best breeding hen and a full sister of Dolce Vita, was recently offered for sale on PIPA, together with Miss Overegge. Miss Overegge got sold in auction, while the 222 stayed with me in Drachtstercompagnie", a happy Pieter explains. Click here for the full pedigree of Return Flojo, 1st Ace Pigeon Grand Average Million Dollar Race 2018.

The 222 was recently offered for sale on PIPA together with Miss Overage but eventually she stayed in Peter's collection

A son of this Ike is the sire of the 1st Ace Pigeon Grand Average of Pieter Veenstra

Second Dutch pigeon and 20th ace pigeon Grand Average from the same lines

That same pairing of Veenstra x Hebberecht can also be found in the second pigeon of Pieter Veenstra. The sire of that pigeon, which finished in 64th place in the final and in 20th place in the ace pigeon championship, happens to be a full brother of his winner Return Flojo. These two Veenstra pigeons were in fact the only Dutch pigeons that made it back home on the day of release. This clearly shows that the Veenstra and Hebberecht combination has great potential at international level. Could this be Peter's next stock pair for the one loft races?

Pieter Veenstra and his Chinese companion Hsu Ho Chen on the left

International top 10

The top finishers in this year's edition of the Million Dollar Race came from across the globe, with seven different nationalities in the top 10 alone. The first prize went to the South African pigeon Mix of Club Sonskyn. She was the first bird to arrive home covering 521km in 8 hours and 15 minutes, with quite an extensive lead. The second and third in the race, with an 18 and 30 minute gap, came from Kuwait (Al-Watri lofts) and The United States (Neighbourhood Bullies). That third prize winner was in fact the most consistent performer in the last four hotspot races, with a third prize in the final race. It made him 2nd ace pigeon Grand Average after Return Flojo. This pigeon is clearly very talented as well, but not quite as talented as Return Flojo.