Batenburg-Van De Merwe (Klaaswaal, NL) victorious in Agen: 1st and 5th National of 5,930 yearlings

They had to wait for six nights, but as soon as Hugo Batenburg's one year old birds for Agen were released from their baskets there was nothing that could hold them back. Hugo, the unofficial king of the extreme long distance, claims a 1st and 5th National against almost 6,000 pigeons, as well as 9 top 100 placings.

This impressive result from Agen over 888km fits in perfectly in the already extensive palmares of Batenburg-Van De Merwe. This is the order in which his pigeons were clocked:

1st-5th-17th-37th-50th-52nd-77th-86th-95th-etc. against 5,930 p.

Hugo had basketed 100 yearlings and 46 of them claimed a national top result. All pigeons had completed six races of up to 300km as youngsters. "This year they were basketed from the very first race, up until two weeks before Agen", the grandmaster explains. Their longest flight was Blois, which was 516 km. The entire racing team had eggs in their bowl; some had eggs of 10 days old, others had a three days old youngster. "Agen has always been the first important race for my pigeons. This is a crucial race, since this racing team is supposed to defend the loft's honour in the coming years." If the result from Agen gives us an indication of what is yet to come, then he can look toward the future with great confidence!

De Jan

Creating memorable experiences is what keeps Hugo Batenburg motivated as a fancier. His number one objective is to work towards certain international classics and to develop a pigeon breed that can really make a difference in these races. In this regard his relationship with Nikolaas Gyselbrecht proves instrumental: "We talk almost on a daily basis. Nikolaas is a true winner in everything he does, and he has a clear vision for our sport. He has obviously played a crucial role in this success story as well." It is partly thanks to Nikolaas that Hugo has such talented birds as New Laureaat (1st Int. Barcelona 2013 for Luc Wiels), The Special One (1st Int. Barcelona 2015 for Cuffel & Son) and more recently Leon Roks's 1st Int. Barcelona 2017 in his collection, which illustrates their strong bond.

Hugo's first two pigeons from Agen and the winners of a 1st and 5th Nat. Agen Yearlings (brother and sister De Jan and Petra) stem from the invaluable synergy between Hugo and Nikolaas. It was in fact Nikolaas who arranged for Jan Hooymans to meet Hugo Batenburg, which sparked a highly successful collaboration. And that is quite an understatement: the sire of both Jan and Petra is a cock that comes from a joint breeding between Jan Hooymans and Batenburg-Van De Merwe; their dam is a direct Hooymans hen!

Jan Hooymans and Hugo Batenburg raise their glasses to a successful collaboration

NL16-1509202 De Jan and his full sister NL16-1509000 Petra were stealing the show. Petra was Hugo's second nominated because she was among the fastest pigeons in almost every race prior to Agen. The sire comes from James Bond, a top class breeder and brother of Harry, paired to Marseille Queen, 2nd Nat. Hens and 4th Nat. Marseille and a grandchild of Witbuik 153, a great breeder for Team Batenburg. The dam was bred from brother x sister Harry, which means this renowned Jan Hooymans lines comprises 75% of the pedigree of these two birds.

De Jan, winner of a 1st Nat. Agen Yearlings 2017 (click here for the pedigree)

Petra, winner of a 5th Nat. Agen Yearlings 2017 (click here for the pedigree)

Batenburg x Jellema

The third pigeon of Batenburg-Van De Merwe and winner of a 17th Nat. Agen Yearlings 2017 is NL16-1509188, which is based on a clever breeding strategy. The sire comes from a joint breeding with fellow fancier Jelle Jellema, from 1st Int. Barcelona 2013 New Laureaat x 1st Int. Barcelona 2014 Kleine Jade. This is an exceptional pairing, and one of their sons became the sire of Jelle Jellema's Dafne, 3rd Nat. Perpignan 2016 and the first yearling in this classic. The joint breeding with Jelle Jellema was also initiated by Nikolaas Gyselbrecht. The dam of the 188/16 comes from Jonge Witbuik, the old Batenburg breed that is still invaluable, especially when combined with the current generation of breeders. Interesting detail: Of the first ten yearlings that Hugo and Anita clocked, no less than five pigeons come from the crossing of Batenburg-Van De Merwe x Jellema.

Winner of 17th Nat. Agen Yearlings 2017 (click here for the pedigree)

The team was still celebrating their great result when their talented racing hen Yvette claimed a 23rd Nat. from Barcelona. Yvette had already won a 9th Nat. 5,279 p. as a yearling in a demanding race from Cahors, and she now shows to be a true go-getter in the taxing 2017 race from Barcelona. The team is gradually recovering from an intense week, and Hugo and Anita are already looking forward to the upcoming classics from Marseille, Narbonne and Perpignan. There is no doubt they will be successful again, we just don't know when.