The winning couple (photo courtesy of Chris Sutton)
Geoff and Catherine entered nearly all their old birds, including all yearlings whose first race over the Channel it was. It was a warm and humid day in France with a sudden drop of temperature over the sea, meaning the birds did not get any thermal lift over the water. Farmer Forrest was the first of the flock of 2,937 birds to arrive home in these difficult conditions after having flown nearly three hours with an average speed of 1646 ypm. Despite winning the race by a 63 ypm lead, he had only participated in three races this season, the furthest being 69 miles.
Farmer Forrest, glorious winner of 1st Open and 1st Section NW Coutances
Farmer Forrest's achievement is not that surprising when looking at his descent. His sire is a son of Farmer George, 1st International Bordeaux 10,611 b., when paired to Wollongong, 1st International Pau 8,527 b. From his mother's side, Farmer Forrest descends from the renowned Forrest strain at the lofts of Freialdenhofen & Sons (Aldenhoven, Germany). Farmer Forrest's dam is the daughter of Forrest Junior (1st International Pau 8,399 b.) when paired to a granddaughter of Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump in turn is a stock cock in Aldenhoven and sire of two and grandsire of three national winners, including Forrest Junior. Farmer Forrest being offspring from no less than three international winners and one superbreeder proves that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Check out Farmer Forrest's pedigree here.
Grandsire Forrest Junior, descendant of the successful Forrest dynasty at Freialdenhofen & Sons's (Germany)
Ready for more
Farmer Forrest's result was preceded by an overall performance of the entire racing team the week before. In the race from Falaise (194 miles), with a head wind and harsh weather conditions such as hail, thunder and rain storms, Geoff and Catherine managed to clock the first five birds in the section of 3,774 entries and five of the first nine of the open. One of those five shares the same grandparents as Farmer Forrest: 1st International Bordeaux Farmer George and 1st International Pau Wollongong. The other four birds all are related to either Farmer George or Wollongong. The results in the past two weeks show that the Cooper birds are already in excellent shape. Backed up by their high-quality breeding loft, proven by those same results, the Coopers are definitely ready for yet another successful season.