Underhill & Prettejohn (all photos courtesy of Chris Sutton)
Recording the fastest velocity on the day were Underhill & Prettejohn in Plymouth with two sibling hens that are raced on the natural system. Both bred from the very best of long distance bloodlines, these hens share the same parents and are being prepared to race the Tarbes Grand National in a few weeks time. Arriving together and clocking just seconds apart, they won both 1st and 2nd Open for the partnership who had previously been 1st Open National Flying Club Fougeres in 2017.
After rearing a youngster the race teams are separated and the partners practice widowhood for the cocks and natural for the hens. They used to race the roundabout system but Mike felt the hens were not happy and moped about a little so they switched over to natural for the hens team. The hens were obviously very well motivated as one was sent sitting a ten day old youngster and the other had been incubating her eggs for fourteen days.
Wing of the winner
Wing of the runner-up
With Tarbes in mind the long distance loft is populated with some of the very best long distance breeding in the UK today, with an emphasis on two day racing. “Wingdown”, “Little Gem”, “True Grit”, “Legacy”, “Rainy Day Boy” and “Incredible” all feature very strongly in the race team, as only direct children will suffice in the select breeding loft. Indeed the sire of the two hens is “Imperial” a direct son of Louellas “Incredible” a 10 times a National / International prize winner from 997km to 1276km
Including 3 x Barcelona 1276km, 46th National Barcelona 8,042b, 48th National
Montauban 8,346b 997km, 115th International Barcelona 27,566b 1276km
183rd National St Vincent 6,621b 1107Km. When paired to his own daughter with “Amazing Grace” who flew six times Barcelona and Perpignan 698 miles to 798 miles. The dam “National Treasure” is a hen bred by Alwyn Hill direct out of “Wingdown” 1st sect 2nd Open Tarbes 2808b, 1st sect 4th Open Tarbes 3290b, 2nd sect 7th Open Tarbes 3808b from a distance of 676 miles, when paired to a direct daughter of “Isla’s Rainy Day Boy” 1st sect, 1st National and 1st International Pau. He in turn was paired to the “Rozenbrabd Hen“a direct daughter of “Champion 19” 1st Long distance Champion.
So all in all, the two sisters are extremely well bred for the long distance races but failed to get the memo this past weekend. They obviously broke immediately for home, a trait passed down from their illustrious ancestors no doubt, but in doing so they had to cross 120 miles of sea in order to take the direct line to Plymouth, a leap of faith also demonstrated in their pedigree. The winning hen “Rose”, albeit by a few seconds, was entered into a club show in the winter of 2018 which was judged by Andrew Mabin, who himself is a previous winner of the NFC and was given the grand title of “Best in Show” and “Grace” was given second in the Channel Hens Class so “Andrew really can pick ‘em” said Mike.