Father Raoul and his son Xavier were called on stage at the Casino Kursaal in Ostend to be awarded General Champion of Belgium KBDB 2011 in mid November 2011. This is the highest achievement for a fancier: to be awarded as the best fancier of your country. We have come full circle: Raoul & Xavier have won about every possible title in their career now: they have won several prestigious titles and important championships, also at national level. This means that this is probably the most awarded pigeon family over the years in Belgium!
Make no mistake: this is no reason for Raoul and Xavier to rest on their laurels. The pair are still highly motivated. Their loft is actually close to the Church of our Lady of the place of pilgrimage of Oostakker-Lourdes. Whenever the Verstratete pigeons are basketed for a middle distance race they always have the ambition to play a key role in the race. These birds are eager to win prizes week after week and they are very successful: by the end of the race they often manage to win several prizes and championship titles, even at national level.
When we look at the achievements of last season we could say that 2012 was equally as successful as 2011. 2011 was particularly successful: they were awarded as national champions! That was not really a surprise. We consider it the cherry on top of a magnificent 2011 season. It proves that the two fanciers from Oostakker are still going strong; they will not slow down. They would rather continue their reign at the top of pigeon racing! Let's have a look:
1st Champion Grand Distance Cureghem Centre 2012 1st Champion Long Distance old birds Fondclub Lokeren 2012 1st Steeple Cup 2012 (1st and 2nd nominated) 1st General Champion Riddersclub 2012 1st General Champion Club XX 2012 2nd Champions League 2012 (1st and 2nd nom. over 12 Nat. races) 2nd General Champion FVOV Provincial 2012 2nd International Long Distance Union 2012 2nd Best Ace Pigeon Montauban over 4 years (2009-2012) with Bijou (Brother of Xtra)
1st General Champion of Belgium KBDB 2011 1st All round Champion Belgian Entente 2011 1st Criterium der Azen Belgian Entente 2011 1st Provincial Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB East Fl. 2011 (with Magic Ace) 1st General Champion FVOV (provincial races OVV-FVOV) 1st General Champion Long Distance Club Eeklo (9 years in a row) 1st National Decathlon 2011 1st International Long Distance Union olds + youngbirds 2011 1st Tiercé Grand Distance Belgian Entente 2011 1st National Superprestige Belgium 2011 1st Champion Provincial OVV-FVOV Young birds 2011 3rd General Champion Belgian Entente
1st General Champion Belgian Entente 2010 1st Champions Leaugue Young Birds 2010 (4 national races) 1st General Champion Zwalmvallei 2010 1st General Champion Fondclub Eeklo 2010 1st Prize Marathon Nationale Riddersclub 2010
2nd General Champion of Belgium KBDB 2009 1st General Champion Belgian Entente 2009 1st Champions League 2009 Young Birds 1st General Champion Long Distance Club Eeklo 2009 2nd General Champion OVV-FVOV – Provincial etc…
These are only a few of the long list of important titles won by Raoul and Xavier every season.
Top class breeder Topstar almost a legend
An important factor in a lot of these titles is undoubtedly Topstar BE03-4343129 and his direct descendants. He is the best breeder in this loft at the moment. Topstar was winner of:
1st prize local / 66th Nat. Beziers - 9,191 p. 2004 1st prize local / 77th Nat. Montauban - 7,303 p. 2005
He is sire and grandfather of quite a few talented racing and breeding pigeons, including:
-Xtra BE06-4296522, (from Topstar x Diva) winner of for instance
1st Nat Ace Pigeon Long Dist. Duivenblad 2008 1st Nat Cahors - 5,425 p. 3rd Nat Zone A Brive - 4,381 p. 21st Nat Brive - 14,521 p.
-Best Star BE11-4211041 (son of Xtra x Lili), winner of:
1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Young Birds Belgian Fondtrophy 2011 1st Int. Ace Pigeon Young Birds IFV 2011 1st Noyon - 222 p. 4th La Souterraine - 726 p. 19th Angerville - 338 p. 35th Montrichard - 608 p. 30th Angerville - 381 p. 50th Argenton - 792 p.
Best Star is in turn already sire of a young bird in 2012, which has won:
82nd Nat Gueret – 7,174 p.
-Bijou BE12-4296367 (a full brother of ‘Xtra’), is
2nd Best Pigeon Montauban over 4 years 2009-2012 (PIPA ranking) 70th Nat Montauban 2009 – 7,203 p. 98th Nat Montauban 2011 – 9,091 p. 258th Nat Montauban 2012 – 6,822 p. 473th Nat Montauban 2010 – 6,654 p.
-Clo-Clo BE12-4140222 (from ‘Topstar’ x ‘Perfect Panter’), in 2012 winner of:
1st Blois – 509 p. 2nd prov. Blois – 2,712 p. 13th Angerville – 476 p. 22nd Noyon – 970 p. 82nd Bourges – 576 p.
Topstar is also grandfather of Bella, a great hen and winner of:
2nd Nat Ace Pigeon Young Birds Belgian Fondtrophy 2010 6th Nat Ace Pigeon Young Birds PIPA Ranking (4 Nationals) 2010 2nd Limoges - 783 p. 18th Nat Limoges - 14,686 p. 3rd Clermont - 146 p. 5th Noyon – 1,161 p. 7th Vierzon - 413 p. 15th Blois - 352 p. 19th Bourges - 944 p. 20th La Souterraine - 662 p. 23rd Argenton - 771 p.
Her nest brother 043/10 is in turn winner of the title of
2nd Nat. Ace Pigeon Yearlings Belgian Fondtrophy 2011
These are talented grandchildren of the amazing breeder Topstar as well:
1st Ace Pigeon 2008 Long Distance Club 1st Bourges 1,175 p. 19th Nat Bourges 42,058 p. 1st La Souterraine 715 p. 6th Noyon 201 p. 19th Dourdan 428 p.
4th Nat Brive 2012 – 11,130 p.
-Sister Focus 053/11
1st Bourges 291 p. 13th Nat Bourges 16,859 p.
These three top class pigeons were bred from:
Sire: Avanti Junior BE04-4284136
Sire of 1st Ace Pigeon 2008, Focus and Brother Focus. He was a son of the great racing pigeon and breeder Avanti 517/95, winner of 64 prizes, including:
1st Perigueux 172 p. – 14th Nat 5,594 p. 57th Nat Cahors 11,090 p. 34th Nat Limoges 11,574 p.
Dam: Hillary BE05-4410471
A daughter of the great breeder Topstar 129/03, himself sire of for instance Xtra (1st Nat. Cahors, 3rd Nat. Zone Brive), Bijou etc... He is also grandfather of Monar (1st Internat. Narbonne 13,779 p. for E. Meirlaen), as well as the winners of the 4th, 5th, 10th, 12th, 73rd Nat. Montauban (for E. Meirlaen). The dam of Hillary is Witpen Florizoone 109/99, a direct R. Florizoone bred from Zoon Witneus 037/98 (a son of Witneus 165/90: winner of the Primus Inter Pares) x Dochter Primus 422/97 (bred from Primus Inter Pares 1 of R. Florizoone).
In addition, Topstar is also the sire of the impressive breeding pigeon Yelena of long distance champion Etienne Meirlaen from Deurle-St.Martens-Latem. She is the dam of:
1st Int Narbonne 2011 – 12,605 p. 1st Nat Narbonne 2011 – 6,428 p. 11th Nat Narbonne 2010 – 6,330 p. 13th Int Narbonne 2010 – 13,335 p. 52nd Nat Montauban 2010 – 9,091 p.
4th Nat Montauban 2011 – 9,091 p. 12th Nat Montauban 2010 – 6,654 p.
1st Prov & 5° Nat Montauban 2010 – 6,654 p. 10th Nat Montauban 2012 – 6,822 p. 73rd Nat Montauban 2011 – 9,091 p.
6th Prov Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2012 83rd Nat Cahors 2012 – 8,348 p. 108th Nat Montauban 2010 – 6,654 p. 125th Nat Limoges 2012 – 13,781 p. 155th Nat Souillac 2012 – 7,760 p.
We honestly believe that there are not a lot of breeding pigeons or breeding lines at the moment with better references than this ‘topstar’ and his impressive descendants in the loft of Raoul & Xavier Verstraete!
Breeding with champions
The fanciers from Oostakker wanted to create a breed that was based on champions: exceptional champions and prize winners at the highest level. Topstar is not their only top class breeder at the moment: they also have Grand Cru Uno, the Belga Queen and Diva (winner of the 2nd Intnat. Dax). They were crossed with the descendants of the old breed that was based on the lines of Miljonair and Uno (and his son Solo), the two top class hens of Chris Hebberecht Blauwe Kathy and Geschelpte Kathy, two great breeding hens of Cas de Graaff Maxima and Gravin, as well as the Avanti, the Admiraal, and let’s not forget Cadillac’(sire of for instance Topstar). Each of these birds is an invaluable breeder and they all played an important role in the achievements in the last few seasons.
The hit single Promised you a miracle by the Simple Minds would be the perfect soundtrack to the pigeon family of Raoul & Xavier Verstraete, who have been at the top of pigeon racing uninterruptedly for 40 to 45 years. Over the years they have achieved quite a lot and their pigeons often dominated the competitions. So it is not a surprise that other fanciers sometimes call this the ‘miracle loft’.
Over the years their opponents have become used to the dominance of the pigeon family of R & X.Verstraete. Initially they were very successful in the middle distance; today they focus more on the grand middle distance and especially the long distance (600-900km). Their pigeons are still performing great, also in 2012. Nearly every fancier is familiar with the talent and the quality of today’s Verstraete pigeon!
Some of the recent references of the R. & X. Verstraete pigeons:
- Etienne Meirlaen: he is the owner of Yelena, an outstanding breeding hen from a joint breeding with Topstar x‘Marathon Lady. She is for instance the dam of Monar (1st int. Narbonne 2011), the Montauban (1st Prov + 5th Nat. Montauban ’10 and 73rd Nat Montauban ’11) and Montali (4th Nat. Montauban ’11 and 12th Nat. Montauban ’10).
- Plum K-Heinz (Germany): 1st and 3rd nat. Narbonne 2009 (the dam is a 100% UNO inbred)
- Chytil Lukas (Slovak): 1st and 3rd nat. Koblenz (723km) 2010 + 2nd nat. Ace Long Distance (Uno-Bol-line)
- Loft Vercammen Jos: stock pigeon Panter is a 100% Verstraete (a crossing of Panter-Bol-Elvis)
- Pruski Krzysztof (Poland): 1st Nat. Exhibition 2010 Sosnowiec 2010, winner of Prov. Ace Pigeon 2008-2009 with a pigeon from a crossing of Amigo x Miljonair x Bolide, coming from the Verstraete breed. This pigeon won for instance a third against 5,270 pigeons (224km), third against 4,593 pigeons (260km), fourth against 3,068 pigeons (363km), fifth against 2,438 pigeons (375km) and a total of ten top-100 prizes against averagely 4,000 pigeons.
- Chris Hebberecht: the grandmother of super class breeder Champion is the ‘Barcelona hen 310-85’ of Verstraete. In 2012 one of the best yearlings in the Hebberecht lofts was the 260/11 (bred from Zoon Xtra), which won a 212th Limoges against 7,419 p. and a 172nd Nat. Tulle 10,251 p.
- Gaby Vandenabeele (a joint breeding with Topstar + Xtra in 2009): KIANA BE09-3095175 (a daughter from Topstar x Dght Bliksem) crossed with the line of Bliksem: Bert Vanden Berghe (Wortegem) obtained the 4291415-11, the best young bird and winner of a 1st Ablis against 1,115 pigeons; this bird did not miss a single prize!
- Sergio Mazzacani (Italia): winner of 1st and 2nd National Best Cock in the Sprint Category 2012. The winner of the first Nat. Ace Cock Sprint has also won the title of second Nat. Ace Pigeon Sprint in 2011! He stems from the golden Uno line of Verstraete. Sergio has also won the 5th Nat. Best Cock Middle Distance and the 2nd Nat. Best Cock All Round in 2012. Great!
- Lubomir Kubacek (Cz): the brand new General Champion in the Czech Republic and winner of three Olympiad Pigeons 2013 in Nitro (Slovakia). He also won a second prize in the Yuanmengyuan Final in the Sahnxi City Race in China (against 1400 pigeons in the final). These pigeons were bred from a grandchild of 'Topstar' of Verstraete.
- Peter Groiss (Austria): he was third at the National Championship (with descendants of Verstraete), and he had a first Ace Pigeon Austria (bred from two direct Verstraete pigeons). In addition Peter Groiss owns the best yearling hen in Austria in the 'Verbandsausstellung 2012'.
- Franz Marchat (Austria): winner of the 1st Olympiad Pigeon Category F in Nitra 2013, from descendants of the amazing UNO line.
- Geert Van Renterghem and Filip Lannoo have also been very successful with direct pigeons of the pigeon breed of Verstraete from Oostakker.