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ラオール&ザビエル・フェルストラーテ − オースタッケル、2年連続『2010年ゼネラルチャンピオンベルギアンフェルスタンドホウディングアンタンテベルジ』。

The title of General Champion by the Belgian Verstandhouding is one of the most prestigious titles handed out every year, and which every long distance fancier dreams of adding to his honours list!

Winning this title for 2 years in a row, demonstrates great class… and that honour went to Raoul & Xavier Verstraete in 2010…for which they were rightly elaborately honoured  by Chairman Filip Norman 3 weeks ago at the Entente celebrations in ‘zaal Cortina’ in Wevelgem. That is no small beer, and a sign that the modern Verstraete pigeon is simply ‘top’ in the national long distance. Perfectly logical when we take a closer look at the predominant titles which have been achieved over the last 3 seasons :

2010:

 1° General Champion Belgian verstandhouding.
1° General Champion Union Eeklo (For the 8th time in a row!!!!!)
1° Champion  Champions League  (with 1°-2°-3° nominated youngsters in the 4 national races)
1° General Champion Zwalmvallei + 1° Ace pigeon middle distance
1° Prize Marathon in the National Riddersclub
Fastest pigeon from Chateauroux from 20.330 pigeons.
2° General Champion  FVOV  East-Fl    

2009:

 1° General Champion Belgian verstandhouding.
1° General Champion Union Eiktak Eeklo (1° nominated all races MD + LD).
2° General Champion Belgium Sprint- Middle distance and Long distance. O.b. and youngsters.
1° Champion  Champions League (1°-2°-3° nominated youngsters in the 4 national races).
2° General Champion FVOV - Provincial.
2° General Champion Zwalmvallei.
1° Ace pigeon Middle distance. Zwalmvallei (daughter  Grand Cru Uno 122/05) 

2008 :

 1° National CAHORS 5425 pigeons. (with ‘Xtra’: a son of ‘Topstar 129/03’)
3° National BRIVE Zone (Son Topstar)
1° National Ace 2008 long dist. "Duivenblad" Old birds
1° General Champion Union Eeklo O.b./yl/youngsters Competitions between 400-1000km
1° Ace Young birds (4 races 400-600km with the 4278024/08, a grandson Topstar)
1° General Champion Riddersclub Belg. O.b/yl/youngsters (in national races 1+2°nom. pigeons)
3° Gen. Championship  Cureghem Centre 

That counts. And when we assume that ‘titles’ are the result of the game level that has been achieved over an entire season… then this once again proves the high performance rhythm of the Verstraete pigeons over the last few seasons! In the middle of the 70’s  they were decorated with the title ‘loft of Miracles’… and we can safely say that in the shadow of the O-L-V towers of Oostakker-Lourdes they are still booking ‘miracle results’ !

Loft of Miracles 
Introducing the colony of Raoul & Xavier Verstraete to the broad pigeon public is like kicking in an open door. The Verstraete colony has been at the top of the national pigeon sport happenings for more than 40 years, previously mainly specialising in the races from 150-700 Km, the last few season more and more widespread to races from 900 Km. Real all-rounders then! In the Groenstraat, in the shadow of the church towers of ‘Onze Lieve Vrouw’ in Oostakker-Lourdes (a well-known pilgrimage site in the Flanders), they have booked many pigeon exploits over the years! The early show of strength of the Verstraete loft came in the middle of the 70’s when the Verstraete colony, which was so rich with phenomenal crack pigeons so as the ‘Gouden Bol’, his son the ‘Mirage’, the ‘Meteor’, the ‘Zilveren’ and other supers at the time… sowed terror in the middle distance…

Over the years more supers saw the light of day in this  ‘breeding source’, so as the ‘Miljonair’, ‘Manolito’, ‘Solo’, ‘Eurostar’, ‘Big Boss’, ‘Tempo’, ‘Victory’, ‘Bravo’ and other ‘Thriller’ s… too many to name here. A clear sign that the success train in Oostakker, kept steaming through undisturbed. Sport friend Raoul was also lying in wait to strengthen his colony where necessary… illustrious star breeders and crack pigeons so as the ‘Rapido’, the ‘Panter’ (both from the late Theo Gilbert, Zulte), the ‘Elvis’ (1° Nat Ace pigeon), ‘Carl Lewis’, ‘Miljonair’ (bought back from fellow villager Tom Van Damme), ‘Bolide’, ‘Admiraal’… and of course not forgetting the 1° Nat Bourges-winner 10.992 p (in ’89) and 1° Prov Ace pigeon Middle distance KBDB 1989: the wonder pigeon ‘UNO’… who has left his mark over the last twenty years on the current loft consistency of the Verstraete colony. For the tougher work (read: long distance) pigeons came from Robert Venus out the line of the ‘Super crack’ Gruson (self 3 x 1° Nat winner) and the ‘Witslager Desender’ (1° Nat Ace pigeon Long distance). Over the last few seasons, under the impulse of son Xavier, they started concentrating more on the ‘Grand middle distance’ (read 500 Km-races) to the 1-day long distance (read: 900 Km).
There now came pigeons from Chris Hebberecht in the form of ‘Blue Kathy’ and especially the ‘Chequered Kathy’ (self 1° Ace pigeon 2001, and grandmother of “Xtra”, 1° Nat Cahors ‘08), the “Cadillac” (which won self 1° prizes and top prizes from 300 to Barcelona), the “Grand Cru Uno”, and 2 super hens from Cas De Graaff from the Dutch Arnemuiden with which they have been very successful .

Topstar’… the new wonderboy
The current figurehead… in other words the ‘stock bear’ at the moment in the breeding lofts in Oostakker is without doubt the ‘Topstar’, who has played a large part in achieving the titles above over the last few seasons !
“Topstar” B03-4343129
Amongst other things he achieved the following exploits before being moved to the breeding loft for good in 2006, with overwhelming success :

 Béziers   Club   218 p.  1
          Nat  6.191 p. 68
Montauban Club   239 p.  1
          Nat  7.303 p.  77 

This “Topstar” is a son of the top couple “Cadillac 617/93” (whose father is a brother of the 1° Nat Limoges and the 1° Nat Narbonne) x “Chequered Kathy 502/01”, self 1° Ace pigeon long distance youngsters 2001 and bought in the Chris Hebberecht auction in 2001 (and daughter of the “Panda”, 1° Ace pigeon ‘3-year classification Barcelona’ by the BBC… and, which was a full brother of 1° Nat Ace pigeon ‘Grand Distance’ 2005: “AXL” by Chris Hebberecht).
Coupled with ‘Diva’ (a daughter of ‘Flippo 241/96’ x ‘Gravin 214/01’…a daughter 2° Nat Dax 2000, originating from Cas De Graaff, Arnemuiden), self winner 1° Prov Dax 934 p, 2° Internat Dax 1.930 Hens (1° hen National), 6° Nat Dax 4.534 p and 14° Intnat 11.937 p…  is the ‘Topstar’ father of the ‘Xtra 522/06’, winner 1° Nat Cahors 5.425 p. ’08.
There followed an entire  recital of top racers in the footsteps of this ‘Xtra’ which were bred from this ‘Topstar’, and which at the moment are making everything well in Oostakker. The super hen “Belga Queen 399-06” which was crowned in 2007 as 2° Ace pigeon of Belgium Cureghem Centre Yearlings 2007 with 71° Nat St.Vincent 6.521 p, and 72° Nat Irun 18.967 p. is then a half-sister of this  “Topstar”.

Let’s take a few breeding results of ‘Topstar’ as proof… amongst his direct children we came across, amongst others, the following top racers  :

-‘XTRA 522/06’: 1° Nat Cahors 5.425 p, 3° Nat Zone 4.381 p. + 21° Nat Brive 14.521 p., 3° Chateauroux 605 p., 5° Chateauroux 1.037 p.
-‘609-06’:      1° Chateauroux 561 p. + 3° Prov 2.853 p.
-‘007-07’:     83° Nat St.Vincent I 7.356 p., 87° Nat St.Vincent II 8.628 p., 2° Epehy 149 p.
-‘254-07’:     32° Nat Zone Souillac ’09 en 85° Nat Tulle 5.676 p. ‘09
-‘367-06’:     70° Nat Montauban 7.203 p. ’09, 3° Nat Zone Cahors 1.834 p., 3° Chateauruox 605 p.
-‘408-06’:     54° Nat Zone Brive 4.381 p. ‘08
-‘077-09’:      2° Noyon 241 p . ‘09 

-‘088-09’:  16° Gueret 522 p., 21° La Souterraine 798 p., 68° Argenton 1.025 p. in ‘09

A few grandchildren have already performed as follows :

 -‘024-08’: 1° Bourges 1.11.175 p. + 19° Nat Bourges 41.783 p. in ’08, 1° La Souterraine 715 p. ‘08
-‘075-07’: 1° Giessen 360 p. in ‘07
-‘083-07’: 187° Nat Tulle 5.676 p. ‘09
-‘045-07’: 253° Nat Souillac ‘09
-‘101-07’: 1° Orleans 392 p. etc  

And then we haven’t even mentioned the numerous grandchildren of this new ‘wonder boy’ from Oostakker… really too many to name here, as this list expands enormously year after year.
In the meantime this line of the ‘Topstar’ has proved its enormous ‘class’ in other lofts. Joint breeding was carried out with double ‘National Ace pigeon winner’ Etienne Meirlaen with ‘Topstar’ x ‘Marathonlady’ (stock hen by E.Meirlaen)… and this produced a new ‘super breeding mother’ in the Meirlaen-lofts, in the form of ‘Yelena’ 4288297/06’, which immediately became mother of top racers in Deurle so as :

-The‘Montauban’ B08-4298059

 ’10 Montauban club     261 p. 1
              Prov   1.294 p. 1
              Nat    6.654 p . 5 

-‘Montali’ B08-4298110

 ’10 Montauban club     261 p. 2
              Prov   1.294 p. 4
              Nat    6.654 p. 12
’10 Tarbes    Nat    4.576 p. 314
              I.Nat 15.035 p. 608
’09 Libourne  Nat    8.729 p. 331
’09 Limoges YL Nat  16.893 p . 836 

-‘Monar’ B08-4298283

 ’10 Narbonne  club     179 p. 1
              Nat    6.336 p. 11
              I.Nat 13.335 p. 13
’10 Montauban Nat    6.654 p . 571 

-The 'B08-4298219'

 ’09 Argenton  Zone A 8.935 p. 38
’09 Limoges   Zone A 7.586 p. 422
’10 Bourges   club     786 p. 53
’10 Montauban club     216 p. 13
              Nat    6.654 p . 108 

-The 'B08-4298220'

 ’09 Limoges   Zone A 7.586 p. 70
              Nat   16.893 p. 250
’10 Limoges   Zone A 4.756 p. 427
              Nat   10.448 p. 558
’10 Tulle     Nat    6.695 p . 880 

And also classified from Bourges and Chateauroux !

Top references… which perfectly reflected the worth of the ‘Topstar line’. A line which 'rapidly' produces a heap of new ‘winners’ year after year. Would it then surprise anybody to learn that the current loft consistency is mainly based on this new stock pigeon ‘Topstar’ with his children, grandchildren, half-brothers and half-sister, in crossing with a few new crossing products and the descendants from the old strain? With this mix of pigeons, Raoul & Xavier tried to breed the modern ‘all round pigeon’, which can race ‘top’ from say 300 to 900 kilometres! Allow us to illustrate this further with the ‘best youngster’ out 2010 :

-'B10-4210044' The ‘6° best pigeon of Belgium’ in 2010 over 4 national races for youngsters, and coming out the ‘Belstar 004/08’ x ‘Hen 028/07’ :

 13/6 Noyon        1.161 p. 5
26/6 Angerville     340 p. 31
04/7 Clermont       146 p. 3
11/7 Bourges        399 p. 26
24/7 Bourges II     944 p. 19
         Nat     30.748 p. 633
31/7 Vierzon        413 p. 7
09/8 Argenton       771 p. 23
         Nat     22.442 p. 356
21/8 La Souterraine 662 p. 20
         Nat     17.017 p. 611
05/9 Gueret         519 p. 49
         Nat     13.885 p . 826 

And so Raoul & Xavier Verstraete bred and discovered new top pigeons year after year. If we take a look at their entire pigeon career then it is remarkable how many real ‘crack pigeons’ have seen the light of day in the Groenstraat… although this is in fact only the logic of the breeding strategy which they stick to… and that is working with ‘super pigeon’… with real ‘winners’, with real ‘Ace pigeon’, with exceptional ‘crack pigeons’! Raoul has a simple explanation for this… no-one can give away what he doesn’t own, that is why all my life I have searched for pigeons that had that ‘little bit’ more… that could do a bit ‘more’ than the rest… in short, which had a surplus of ‘class’ compared to other pigeons. Sometimes we found this in our own loft, or if the opportunity arose… we would buy them. In other words… that this formed the basis of our years of success. A ‘good loft’… and ‘good pigeons’, all the rest is theory, according to Raoul! No-one doubts him… the years of performing at the ‘absolute top’ of our national pigeon sport have proved he is more than right !

A few top references from the last few seasons !

 -Chris Hebberecht: the grandmother (310/85) of the famous ‘Champion’ (2° Nat Ace pigeon Long Distance KBDB) by Chris Hebberecht a Verstraete pigeon!
-Chytil Lukas:            1° and 2° National Koblenz 2010 - 723 km.  +2° Ace pigeon National Slovakia.
-Plum Karl-H.Ubach – Palenberg:  1° + 3° National Narbonne 2009. Germany.
-Krzysztof Pruki:         1° Ace pigeon Prov 2009 Poland 100-400km
-Zoravkov Dimitar:        1° nat Ace 2003 Bulg. (6x1°pr.)
-Pasztor Robert  Szolnok: 1°nat.Kamp.2009 Hungary
-Gebr. Van Landeghem :    1° Nat La Souterraine   17.895p in 2009 (Panter line via Slaets)
-Ernst Nebel :            1° Ace pigeon Germany( Charly )
-Sergio Mazzacani :       1°+2° Nat. Ace pigeon Italy Sprint
-Peter Frioss:            5° Nat. Ace pigeon Austria 2009 ( 75% Uno line)
-Gebr. Van de Heuvel:     1° Olympiad pigeon Porto later to Mike Ganus USA .