Dominique Velghe (Ingelmunster, BE) excels in Million Dollar Race of South Africa with his Andre Verbesselt pigeons

The well known pigeon photographer Dominique Velghe was the most successful Belgian fancier in the final race of the South African SAMDPR One Loft Race, with no less than four pigeons finishing in the national top 100, winning a 17th, 28th, 49th and 95th prize against a total of 2,453 pigeons.

Dominique Velghe on the left

Dominique had sent nine pigeons to the 2014 edition of the One Million Dollar Race of South Africa, four of which managed to finish in the top 100 in the final race, against 2,453 pigeons and over a distance of 521km – a brilliant achievement. Pigeons were facing tough but fair conditions, with a maximum temperature of 31°C in the shade, combined with a slight headwind.

Dominique Velghe not only did a great job representing Belgium in South Africa, he was also the most successful competitor in the race, being the only fancier with four pigeons in the top 100! Besides, he also had the three best Belgian pigeons in the race, finishing in 17th, 28th and 49th place.

Andre Verbesselt pigeons have done it again

One loft races have their advocates and opponents. It enables fanciers with a lack of time or a lack of space to stay actively involved in the sport. It is an alternative way of keeping pigeons, and all theparticipating racing birds have one thing in common: they have all had the exact same preparation prior to the final race, they have had the same training and the same nutrition, and perhaps most importantly of all, they have to get to the same loft, in the same circumstances and the same direction. The difficult weather conditions on the 24th of January, the day of the final race in South Africa, have really made a difference. The race was probably a bit too hard for some of the less experienced pigeons, which explains the relatively low speeds. However, the fastest pigeons in the race were inevitably in the front of the pack, including four pigeons of Dominique Velghe.

One of the interesting things about this achievement is that his four best pigeons are either direct youngsters or grandchildren of the same stock breeder, Zoon New Bak 17 x Miss Joyce BE12-4163591 (bred in the PEC). This breeding cock was bred from two pigeons of Andre Verbesselt (New Bak 17 x Miss Joice)? His dam Golden Eggs IT11-161353H originates from the Italian Stella Rossa loft of Rocco Toscani, being a daughter of supercrack Il Ragno, 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance 2011 in Italy. This outstanding pigeon won two national races in hot weather (36°C and 38°C) over a distance of 594km and 791km, achieving a velocity of 1113 and 1043 m/min respectively. The sire of Il Ragno is a direct Andre Verbesselt as well; he is actually a son of New Bak 17 x Miss Joice. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Golden Eggs: the dam of the 17th- 49th - 95th pigoen in the final race of the SAMDPR One Loft Race in Sun City - South Africa

The name of Andre Verbesselt is usually associated with that of Marcel Aelbrecht. Andre, who passed away on the 17th of May 2013, had a Marcel Aelbrecht based pigeon loft with a solid reputation. His collection consisted for 95% of pigeons of his colleague Marcel from Lebbeke. Andre was praised for his excellent results in the One Loft Races of China (2nd in the One Million Euro Race 2010; 8th and 45th in 2008) and Thailand (8th and 12th in the Thailand Grand Pigeon Race of 2009). The loft of Andre Verbesselt was located right under an electricity wire, which was the reason for him to basket the descendants of his invaluable pigeon family for One Loft Races only. It proved a successful approach.

His pigeons started to become very successful, and it sparked a huge interest in Aelbrecht pigeons of Andre Verbesselt. Many of Andre’s best pigeons had to be photographed, and that is when pigeon photographer Dominique Velghe came into the story. Andre Verbesselt and Dominique Velghe became close friends and Dominique was eventually given youngsters of nearly every Aelbrecht pigeon in Andre’s collection.

The invaluable breeders New Bak BE07-4373754 and Miss Joyce BE05-4130439 spent some time in Nikolaas Gyselbrecht’s PEC lofts after the Andre Verbesselt auction, and one of the youngsters of this pairing went to Dominique Velghe’s collection as well. It proved quite a talented youngster; this pigeon became the sire and grandfather of the four pigeons that have finished in the top 100 of the SAMDPR One loft race in Sun City.

In the footsteps of his late colleague Andre Verbesselt

Dominique Velghe and Andre Verbesselt became close friends, and so we were not surprised to see youngsters and breeding pairs from the best Verbesselt pigeons move to Dominique's loft in Ingelmunster. It was Andre who encouraged Dominique tro try his luck in the one loft races as well. It is in fact very difficult for him to combine a team of racing pigeons with his busy job as a pigeon photographer. The one loft races provide the perfect alternative, enabling him to compete with other pigeon lofts.

Dominique Velghe appears to be a worthy successor to his friend Andre, following in the footsteps as the next one loft races specalist. It is to his credit that he dedicated his recent achievements in South Africa to his late colleague and friend. He was actually the first fancier in the history of the SAMDPR to have the first three pigeons of his country (1st, 2nd and 3rd) in the overall results. This was a historic achievement that illustrates Dominique's potential as a one loft race fancier. Congratulations!

The pedigrees of his winning pigeons

Going for gold 4: BE14-3069027 – 17th place
Going for gold 5: BE14-3069031 – 95th place
Going for gold 1: BE14-3069032 – 49th place
Going for gold 9: BE14-3069036 – 28th place