Maurice & Grégory Casaert from Néchin
4° National victory of their career
The first national race of the 2008 sport season from Bourges, directly placed a 'monument' from our national pigeon sport on the podium in the category yearlings, namely Maurice & Grégory Casaert from Néchin a name that is 'A1' in the pigeon world! The national classic from Bourges is for the 'Middle Distance fanciers' what 'Barcelona' is for the 'Grand Distance men' their 'top classic' by far, maybe even the 'Paris-Roubaix' of the pigeon season a name that is very fitting for the national winner by the yearlings!
The Middle Distance men still look forward to their 2 national Bourges classics that shine on the national racing calendar every year, namely at the end of May and the end of July (the first national classic with the youngsters). It didn't look good at first, the weather forecast was anything but promising, even though day by day, even hour by hour, the weather conditions improved. Admittedly, it was touch and go, because there was rain not far from Tours and Poitiers, so the organizers performed their task perfectly and the pigeons were liberated at 7.10am.
For the first few kilometres there was a favourable southeast wind, but 400km into the route the wind blew 'East' sometimes even 'Northeast' in good racing weather. It was a hard, but really honest Bourges race, where admittedly both the 'Flanders' lay favourably because of the wind direction. But a national victory was not for them because by the category yearlings, Maurice and Grégory Casaert triumphed.. not only did they win 1° National, but also the 3° place national. So we left for Henegouwen, to the picturesque village of Néchin lying on the French border and not more than 6 Km from Roubaix, better known for the world classic Paris-Roubaix hence the 'link'! Néchin where a great deal of pigeon history was written by the 'Casaert family', because it is the 4th time that Maurice & Grégory have managed to win a national victory!
1st National Bourges Yearlings 2008
4° National victory
Their first victory dates from 1992 when they won the 1° Nat Montauban 5.335 p. with their "Invincible Montauban" 452/90, a really tough race for which they only basketted one pigeon. This clapper was a son of their 'absolute stock mother', the "Belle Deseyn" coming from the then success formation Jefke Deseyn-Vd Meulebroucke from Vichte, and was a direct daughter of the 1° National Limoges x sister 1° National Narbonne. By the way.. this 1° National Limoges winner grew to be a star breeder in the lofts of Gaby Vandenabeele in Dentergem.
The 2° national victory was achieved by "Nasdaq" 146/98 who won the 1° National Souillac 7.154 p. in the millennium year 2000, also in fairly tough racing circumstances, with a fierce head wind. This clapper was via his mother "Arcadia" a grandson of the "Belle Deseyn"! Their 3° National victory dates from 2004, when they won the 1° National Brive 7.446 p. with "Mistral" 581/02, once again in fairly tough racing weather this "Mistral" came from a "Daughter 1° Nat Souillac" . So also out the line of the "Belle Deseyn"!
The 1° National Bourges winner against 13.472 yearlings "Footsie", ring 07-9023004 once again comes from a 'grandson' of this breeding wonder "Belle Deseyn" , called "L'As 501/00". Almost unbelievable! The national victory of "Footsie" was not by chance, because 2 weeks prior to this Bourges he won in more or less identical weather circumstances the 10° Dourdan against 999 yearlings with 1198 m/min, and as a youngster he also proved he was cut from 'good wood', here is his honours list:
24/05/08 Bourges Nat 13.472 YL 1
10/5/08 Dourdan 999 YL
10 03/5/08 Dourdan 433 YL 19
26/4/08 Nanteuil 222 YL 24
19/4/08 Nanteuil 125 YL 21
25/8/07 La Souterraine Nat 18.973 d. 232 Nat Z. 6.707 p. 84
19/8/07 Dourdan 137 p. 1
11/8/07 Argenton CFW 1.438 p. 382
04/8/07 Tours Club 257 p. 23
29/7/07 Chantilly 528 p. 8 etc
In the really tough closing race from Gueret last year, Maurice & Grégory won the 1° Gueret club and 136° National against 12.586 p this pigeon was the own nest-sister (ring 07-9023005) of the 1ste national Bourges "Footsie". The "Teen Roger 204/00", the mother of the 1° Nat Bourges 2008, was bought on the total auction of Rene Festjens from Kerkhove (and was origin Roger Demeulemeester!
The pigeon that has now won the 3° National Bourges, the "Geschelpte 082/07", comes out the "Gamin 006/98", who self won 2° S/Nat Chateauroux 12.155 p. and a full brother of "Nasdaq" (and comes out the LIMOGES KING 925/91 x Arcadia 968/96, and daughter of "Belle Deseyn") x Prunelle 056/02, who is a full sister of "Daisy" who won 1° Bourges 1.472 p, and 19° Nat Bourges 11.614 p.! This 3° Nat Bourges winner didn't have any experience as a youngster. Furthermore it was the 4th weekend of 2008 that the pigeons went 'above Paris', and the 4th time in a row that the Cassaert-colony received the victory bouquet
26/4 Nanteuil Club 222 YL 2,3,11,11,13,17,24,37,44,72 (24)
03/5 Dourdan Club 433 YL 1,5,9,13,19,36,40,48,52,59,60,65,107 (23)
10/5 Dourdan Club 999 YL 1,3,4,6,8,10,11,14,36,63,109,137 . 16/22
18/5 Bourges Club 481 YL 1,9,36,88 (10)
24/5 Bourges Nat 13.472 YL 1,3 etc. (further details not yet available)
3rd national Bourges Yearlings 2008
(sold to China - Great Wall)
Direct success, despite a new start
The Casaert family is a real pigeon family, because not only father Maurice, but also all 3 of his sons are fierce pigeon fanciers. The oldest son, also called Maurice, lives next door to the family home, and is a policeman by trade and races independently with a handful of youngsters and 7 hens in widowhood who live with the youngsters. He is the one who cleans the loft by his parents in the morning and in the evening, whilst mother Julienne helps with the cleaning of the widower's lofts.
The 2nd son Sebastien is active in Saint-Léger under the name Casaert-Sénéchal, whilst the youngest son Grégory is crazy about the pigeons but because of his work he can only enjoy his hobby at the weekend. Grégory works for a bank in Luxemburg, and therefore lives in Luxemburg from Sunday evening to Friday evening! Of course, we can't forget the 'maestro', the man who makes sure that everything runs smoothly, father Maurice who takes care of the food and drink for the pigeons. He can no longer clean the lofts due to a problem with breathing in the dust. Maurice is 76 years young (born 1 January 1932), and used to work in a warehouse in France.
He originates from the West-Flemish Wielsbeke, and can still speak 'strong' West-Flemish! When he was a young lad his parents moved to Saint-Léger, where Maurice later met his wife Julienne, resulting in him staying in Henegouwen, and settling in Néchin.
Because of father Maurice's health problems, the colony was significantly reduced over the previous seasons, what's more last year all the old pigeons were publicly auctioned, only the youngsters from 2007 were kept with the intention of owning a very small team of pigeons in the future. At the end of 2007 only 80 youngsters remained, from which 30 were selected for breeding those with the nicest build and best origin were directly placed in the empty breeding loft a question of keeping the old, powerful pigeon pedigree for the future. These were supplemented with a few pigeons from Eric Limbourg and Georges Bolle so that they now own 24 breeding couples. From the remaining youngsters from 2007, 25 cocks were chosen for the 2007 widower's team. They intend to keep to this number in the future so that father Maurice will still be able to manage the feeding and caring of the pigeons. At the moment about 100 youngsters are flying round (50 from the 1° round, 35 from the 2° round and a few from the 3° round).
The "Footsie", winner 1° Nat Bourges, will be kept and has already received a place in the breeding loft.
The master hand of father Maurice
Grégory laughingly told us that the best pigeon successes were obtained when father Maurice retired in 1989, and he could fully concentrate on the pigeons. He was the brain behind the top successes that have been written over the last 20 years, including 4 national victories. An ideal teacher then for his 3 sons, who not only inherited the 'pigeon microbe', but also the knowledge from their father! The total auction of their team of old pigeons (in September 2007) meant that the Casaerts had to make a 'new start' in 2008 with just their 25 yearling widowers. That they would do so well in this first national classic of the season from Bourges, after their new start was a great surprise, and is not only 'gladly accepted' but also a good sign for the future. Father Maurice is an advocate of 'light feed'.
The firm Van Robaeys makes up the 'Casaert-mixture' which is in fact a sort of depurative, with extra corn and paddy rice. The pigeons are given more than enough of this every day. After 15 or 20 minutes whatever is left over is removed. The last three days before basketting the racing pigeons are given 100% racing mixture, supplemented with some fine seeds. Further, as little medicine as possible, although they consult the veterinary surgeon well in advance and also for check-ups. The necessary by-products given to the pigeons are from the firm 'Röhnfried'.
When the widowers train well 2 x a day and then continuously for 30-35 minutes, is Maurice a happy man, then he knows that they have the necessary condition that can lead to top performances so as the national Bourges from last weekend! Before they are basketted, the cocks are allowed to see their hens for a few minutes, something which seems to have given the pigeons the ultimate motivation to carry out this 'stunning performance'. Despite the 'new start', the Casaert success train is on the right rails! Maurice & Grégory Casaert would have had the fastest pigeons from the entire Bourges convoy if it wasn't for the exceptional 'front flyer' from Marcel Anciaux out Lillois who raced no less than 48m/min faster, approximately 13 or 14 minutes ahead at 'national' level and in the region was 90 m/min faster than the 2nd pigeon (= 22-23 minutes), unbelievable! This made "Footsie" the 2nd fastest pigeon from Bourges from the 32.470 partaking pigeons! Our sincere congratulations to the Casaert family form the whole of the PiPa team!