Comb. Verweij- De Haan (Mijdrecht, NL) still a leading name in the national and international marathon competition

Not a year goes by without this successful combination getting a remarkable result. In 2018 we saw their red colored racing cock Robben claim the title of 1st International Ace Pigeon Pau 2017-2018.

Peter de Haan (l) and Michel Verweij (r)

Michel Verweij (59) and Peter de Haan (47) have been in a combination since 2013 but they bred their first pigeons together back in 2009. Michel and Peter are very close friends. They do not always agree with each other but they often talk things through and that is what binds them together. A good example was Peter's idea to switch to ZLU racing in 2016, with Michel preferring to stick to the NPO races. The two fanciers eventually agreed to race mainly in the ZLU competition, along with one race in the NPO. They started this approach in 2015 and the results were spectacular, with their pigeons excelling both in the morning and afternoon releaes. Here is a look at their best results in recent years:

Bordeaux-Agen    ZLU   946 km 6,638 p.: 1-8-379-384-530-etc. (9/12) And 1st and 10th Int.)
St. Vincent      ZLU  1054 km 3,037 p.: 15-63-120-181-185-213-214-etc. (11/20)
Marseille        ZLU  1016 km 2,528 p.: 10-188-211-245-etc. (8/10)
Perpignan        ZLU  1054 km 4,789 p.: 9-23-82-137-345-359-371-etc. (13/28)
Agen             SNZH  947 km 2,474 p.: 15-22-27-etc. (6/9)
St. Vincent      Nat. 1054 km 3,227 p.: 8-32-78-99-etc. (6/10)
Barcelona        ZLU  1218 km 5,183 p.: 10-145-etc. (3/4)
Pau              ZLU  1063 km 3,551 p.: 5-12-31-94-etc. (6/14)

A peculiar pigeon breed

NL01-1675062 De Toon

The number one stock sire is De Toon of 2001. He comes from the old line of the famous 131 of Jan de Weert. He had a remarkable palmares as a racing bird, and his best results were all won in races of over 1,000km. As you can see from his picture, he wins a national top 100 prize on six occasions. He developed into a world class breeding bird after his racing career, and his grandchildren were particularly successful. His granddaughter Pip won a 12th National Pau just this year, and his most renowned grandson is probably Balotelli - click here for his pedigree. He was basketed for his first international races in 2015, and he promptly won a 1st International Agen with a substantial lead.

Balotelli now lives in Japan, just like his half sister Mila, which claimed a 10th international in that same race.

NL03-2238944 Olympic Heintje

Another important member in this team is stock dam Olympic Heintje. She won three teletext prizes in three races as a two year old. Both her sire and dam stem from the lines of long distance champion Jan Theelen (inbred to Vale Marathon). Olympic Heintje was an Olympiad Pigeon in Ostend 2007, where she finished in 3rd place in the sports category (Cat. E, marathon). Peter then suggested to move her to the breeding loft (already) but Michel wanted to keep her in the racing loft just a little longer. Michel had basketed seven birds for a relatively easy race from St. Vincent, and six of them managed to get home. You've guessed it: Olympic Heintje went missing. Fortunately some of her youngsters were already part of the breeding team by then. The Olympic Heintje bloodline, combined with the line of De Toon, has given some very special racing birds, including Red Rose and Robben, which are both international ace pigeons. And top class bird Milos is a grandson of this Olympic Heintje.

NL02-2350928 Milos

The team's current stock breeder is Milos. This almost 17 year old cock, which stems from a brother of De Toon, is still fertile. His pedigree can be seen here. He was himself a very successful marathon racing bird, winning a 1st NPO Montauban of 1,862 pigeons (Milos was the only bird to return home on the day of the release), and he is now an excellent breeder as well; his descendants have excelled in the lofts of Michel and Peter, and for many other fanciers. The following titles and victories were won with birds related to Milos:

1st National ace pigeon Perpignan 2014-2016

 2nd European ace pigeon Pau 2015-2016
 3rd European ace pigeon (hens) International races 2017
 3rd National ace pigeon ZLU 2017
 5th National ace pigeon ZLU 2017
 5th National ace pigeon ZLU 2016
 1st Nat. St. Vincent ZLU 3,387 pigeons 2016
 1st Nat. Bergerac 12,302 pigeons 2015
 2nd Int. Pau 11,164 pigeons
 2nd Nat. Narbonne ZLU 4,515 pigeons 2013
 2nd Nat. Tarbes ZLU 2,374 pigeons
 4th Nat. Agen 6,379 pigeons
 4th Nat. St Vincent 4,858 pigeons
 5th Int. Barcelona 17,094 pigeons
 8th Nat. Perpignan ZLU 5,622 pigeons
 9th Nat. Perpignan ZLU 4,789 pigeons
 9th Nat. Marseille ZLU 6,610 pigeons
 9th Nat. Bergerac 6,219 pigeons
11th Nat. Narbonne 4,566 pigeons

And the following national top 50 prizes can be added to this list as well: 12th, 15th, 15th, 16th, 16th, 19th, 28th, 32nd, 32nd, 32nd, 34th, 38th, 41st, 42nd, etc.

NL13-1091197 Chanel Messi

The last important pigeon in this breeding loft that deserves a special mention is top breeder Chanel Messi. She is still a fairly young breeding hen, and yet she is already the dam of Miss Milos and Red Messi, which we will introduce later on in this article. You can tell from her pedigree that Chanel Messi is related to top breeders Kopie Toon and Olympic Heintje through both her parents. The sire of Chanel Messi is Messi, which was a talented racing bird, winning a 1st NPO Cahors (3,151 p.) and a 1st NPO Bergerac (2,366 p.). He is a grandson of Kopie Toon x Olympic Heintje. The dam of Chanel Messi is a daughter of Kopie Toon x Olympic Heintje. Click here for the pedigree of Chanel Messi.

When composing new breeding pairs to breed new racing birds, the team tries to avoid close inbreedings. However, inbreeding is sometimes hard to avoid in the third or fourth generation of descendants. The Verweij-De Haan combination, and many other long distance players, have been very successful with their Toon/Milos bloodline. And there is no need to change things around as long as these bloodlines continue to deliver national or international champions. Michel and Peter are convinced that champions breed champions, and that is why they have younsters of all of their best racing birds in their breeding loft (and that number continues to grow). Most of their youngsters in the breeding loft are in fact inbred, and so they do believe in the benefits of inbreeding when it comes to creating new breeders. These inbreds are then used for new crossings. However, they have one example of an inbred that turned out to be a successful racing bird as well: Tony Berlijn (Kampen, NL) bred a 3rd National and 5th International Barcelona 2017 from two grandchildren (nest mates) of Milos. 

In order to obtain new bloodlines to cross their breeders with, the team regularly invests in new pigeons. Their latest introrduction is Barca Jim of Frank Hage (Woerden, NL). Barca Jim won a 14th National (and 42nd International of 15,700 p.) in this year's demanding Barcelona classic.

Great results racing from the nest

Michel and Peter race in the marathon competition from the nest, which is fairly common in the marathon competition in North Holland. The pigeons are raced in widowhood after having raised one nest. This means they can be basketed every week at the start of the season. They are then gradually being paired, so that they are set to have their first national race of the year with small a youngster. When everything goes according to plan, the pigeons are ready for their next race three weeks later with grown up youngsters and an egg. If all goes well, they can be basketed for their last race again with small youngsters. It is of course quite a challenge to follow this scheme with races of more than 1,000km.

If possible, the yearlings are basketed twice. Their first race is the international flight from Agen, followed by an NPO race at the end of the season. These two races are usually enough for Michel and Peter to pick the best birds in their team. One of the big benefits of the Toon bloodline is that they show their potential fairly early on: a talented yearling is likely to deliver as an old bird as well. A good example is Robben, 1st International Ace Pigeon Pau 2017-2018.

NL14-1802121 Robben, 1st International Ace Pigeon Pau 2017-2018

Robben began his fantastic career as a yearling in the international race from Agen in 2015, where he was 101st National of 5,055 pigeons. Three weeks later he finished in 7th place in the national race NPO from Cahors (936km) in Entente North and South Holland against 2,581 yearlings. It resulted in a 39th National of 5,810 pigeons (olds and yearlings). Robben won a 21st International of 11,285 pigeons in 2017, arriving home on the day of the release, at 8:30 in the evening. In 2018 Robben wins a 7th International Pau of 11,739 pigeons, now arriving home at 6am. With two great results to his name, he won the title of 1st International Ace Pigeon Pau 2017-2018 in the PIPA Ranking. Like we said, Robben is a grandson of the aforementioned Olympic Heintje, and he is also closely related to the Toon bloodline. The grandfather of Robben is Kopie Toon, a full brother of De Toon. Click here for Robben's full pedigree.

NL12-1465677 Red Rose, 1st National Ace Pigeon ZLU Perpignan 2014-2016

Red Rose is another international ace pigeon in this team. She is a granddaughter of their famous Milos, which stems from a brother of de Toon. Olympic Heintje, the grandmother of Red Rose, was paired to a son of De Toon at the time. This means Red Rose is related to De Toon through both her parents. Click here for the pedigree of Red Rose. She became 1st Ace Pigeon Perpignan ZLU 2014-2016 with the following national prizes:

 19th Nat. Perpignan 2016 4,027 p. (and 4th Nat. 1,029 hens)
 32nd Nat. Perpignan 2014 6,414 p. (and 4th Nat. 1,705 hens)
287th Nat. Perpignan 2015 5,589 p.

She also won two top results in Pau, with which she became 2nd European Ace Pigeon Pau 2015-2016:

12th Nat. Pau 2016 3,788 p. (and 10th Nat. 1,220 hens)
22nd Nat. Pau 2015 3,433 p. (and 17th Nat.   919 hens)

NL15-1552827 Miss Milos

Miss Milos is one of the big stars from recent years. She is a daughter of the aforementioned Milos and of Chanel Messi - click here for her full pedigree. She was absolutely outstanding in 2017 but she was very successful in 2018 as well:

 9th Nat. ZLU Perpignan   2017 4,789 p.
15th Nat. ZLU St. Vincent 2017 3,037 p.
94th Nat. ZLU Pau         2018 3,551 p.

And she won the following titles along the way:

2nd Int.Eur. Ace Pigeon hens PIPA Ranking 2017
3rd National Ace Pigeon ZLU BOTB/WHZB 2017

NL15-1552762 Red Messi

Another top class bird from the fantastic breeding hen Chanel Messi is Red Messi, and he has the same dam as Miss Milos. The sire of Red Messi is a son of Joe Frazier (Fred Kramer - Wormer, NL), winner of a 2nd NPO Cahors (1,358 p.) and a 4th NPO St. Vincent (1,294 p.). Click here for Red Messi's pedigree. Red Messi won a three out of three in 2017, including:

 23rd Nat. Perpignan 4,789 p.
211th Nat. Marseille 2,528 p.

This resulted in the title of 6th Ace Pigeon North Holland. And he did great in 2018 as well, winning a top prize from Pau:

 31st Nat. Pau       3,551 p.

NL15-1552732 Pip

Racing hen Pip claimed a top result this season with a 12th National Pau of 3,551 pigeons. She had shown her potential earlier on with a 161st National Cahors (3,653 p.) and a 343rd National Agen (4,679 YLs). Pip is a daughter of super class breeding pair Milan x Inbred Toon 377, as you can see here. Milan is another grandson of Milos and Inbred Toon 377 is a daughter of De Toon x Daughter Toon (she comes from Toon x Olympic Heintje). This is without doubt a super class breeding pair; they are the parents of:

12th Nat. Pau        3,551 p.
21st Nat. Agen       4,679 p.
55th Int. Agen       9,043 YLs
13th NPO  Cahors     2,471 p.
41st NPO  Cahors     7,587 p.
92nd Nat. Perpignan  6,414 p.
96th Nat. Agen       4,776 YLs
26th NPO  St.Vincent 1,014 p.
83rd Nat. St.Vincent 3,665 p.
30th NPO  St.Vincent 1,014 p.

The Toon dynasty

All of the best results of the Verweij-De Haan combination can be attributed to the Toon dynasty, the line which Michel and Peter have managed to embed in their breeding loft. The aforementioned breeders and racing birds are just a few examples of the level of quality in this loft. What is most remarkable about these pigeons, is that they excel both in morning and afternoon releases. Not only does this team have a bright future with such a collection of pigeons, they also enjoy the many references that are coming in on a yearly basis from other fanciers that are successful with their bloodlines. You can browse through their list of references for 2017-2018, which gives you an idea of the amount of quality in the pigeon lofts of Michel Verweij and Peter de Haan in Mijdrecht.