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Best of Britain - a PIPA auction

It seems like no time at all since I wrote the last Best of British leader report. Once again Pieter Oberholster, the UK agent has pulled out all of the stops to obtain pigeons from fanciers from amongst the very best that Great Britain has to offer the world of pigeon racing. The lofts that I wish to inform you briefly about in this report are responsible for countless national, one loft and classic wins, not to mention full blown international wins.

Anyone who knows even a little about pigeon lore will tell you that even with a favourable wind direction it is a top class bird that is bold enough to leave thousands of other pigeons and face the perils of the English channel to reach its home loft. Well within this sales list you will find close relations to birds that have done exactly this for Mark Gilbert and Geoff and Catherine Cooper. These fabulous victories have made them well known wherever pigeons are raced. Mark Gilbert has conquered Europe on three occasions and won a host of national race victories including 1st BICC from both Barcelona and Marseille (1 bird entered) and 1st NFC Saintes (for the second consecutive year) in 2012 alone. This could only have been done with the very best racing pigeons and Mark’s breeding loft inmates are a real who’s who of fabulous long distance fanciers. Mark Gilbert achieved the unthinkable early this year when he sent one pigeon to Marseille international and clocked this bird to claim 1st national and also well placed in the international. Due to the Alps on line of flight it was thought that one could not record early birds into the United Kingdom...

Geoff and Catherine Cooper can boast international successes such as 1st international Bordeaux 22,029 birds, 1st international Bordeaux old birds 10,661 birds, 2nd international Bordeaux 10,661, 3rd international Bordeaux 22,029, 12th international Dax, 35th international Dax and 86th international from Perpignan. On the national racing scene the Coopers have achieved the full set with 1st open placings in all the national clubs that they are in the radius of. Their family of birds is built around the De Weerdt pigeons and skillfully adding birds from the latest winning families. These have helped this husband and wife team to clock 50 plus national and classic club provincial wins.

Another superb loft is featured on this latest Best of British and this is the loft of Reading’s Roger Lowe. Roger has been a household name for years, racing first of all with his old mate Terry Hudson and now going solo. In 2011 alone he won 1st open British Barcelona Club from Fougeres with both young birds and old hens. With Fast as Lightning and Euro Supreme. While 1st placing was won from Carentan with the Central Southern Classic Flying Club with a cracking hen called Going for Gold. In 2012 Roger and Mark Gilbert made the NFC Saintes race their own with a clock full each, completely dominating the leading open positions. Roger’s Orbital Lofts have invested heavily with birds from the likes of Legend of Lebbeke, Marcel Aelbrecht. Everyone knows that Marcel had his birds from the world renown loft of De Rauw-Sablon. Another ace fancier that Roger went to is the Emperor of the Antwerp Union Andre Roodhooft looking for Andre’s Lou Wouters bloodlines and he wasn’t disappointed at the quality of pigeons that Orbital Lofts were fortunate enough to get hold of from this living legend. The two birds that Roger is offering to this latest sale are two exceptional Roodhooft performance pigeons one of which is a past winner of 3rd National Flying Club from Saintes against 4,417 birds.

Premier Stud are another fantastic loft that are offering a trio of birds which are based around Clive Lister’s amazing 666 which set a record UK price of 19,000 Euros on PIPA a couple of years ago. These Gaby Vandenabeele based birds are no paper pigeons either as they each have a racing CV themselves as long as your arm. So if it’s performance pigeons that you are after look no further. One of the birds, 961 a full brother to 666 won the recent Olympic international from Bovingdon with over 6,000 birds entered from all over Europe! You see I did say it was a best of British sale. With Premier Stud you can rest assured that they only buy pigeons that they believe to be of the very best blood.

When Mr & Mrs Brian Clayburn won the Sun City Million Dollar One Loft race with East of Eden, they became the first British loft to achieve this feat. It was no great surprise to me because I have known Brian for a long time and one thing I learned about him was his ability to get his hands on superior quality pigeons. For instance despite counter claims he was the first British fancier to visit and buy pigeons from Jos Soontjen, the sprint wizard of Wommelgem. He did this before Jos’s name was even heard of in the UK. This is Brian Clayburn’s skill his ability to find new talent. Since this time many other lofts have been visited by Brian and new bloodlines introduced which has resulted in some memorable wins for Brian and his wife Mavis. Also many visitors to Brackenhill, Ackworth which includes myself, have profited from Brian’s homework. It was explained to me that before the Clayburns buy, they study their targets results closely not just over one memorable season because they don’t want to buy from a shooting star meaning a flyer who appears from nowhere, shines brightly but as quickly as he appeared fades back into the darkness.

In the best of British sale is a full brother or sister to his Sun City winner and several other youngsters off birds which Brian has chosen to blend into his family from fanciers like Stoke on Trent’s Slim Timmis and American fancier David Clausing who have both proved themselves consistently to own excellent one loft pigeons. As Brian says these races are the fairest of all when position and drag count for nothing! If you agree these could be the birds for you.

Evans & Cuthbert hail from the north east of England and once again this loft has built up an amazing reputation with their Burntoft pigeons. The loft, as well as winning exceptionally in their own locality have blazed a trail of glory in the one loft events winning thousands in cash, plus in 2011 they won a motor car in the Sun City Million Dollar race series. Their stock is skilfully built around their fabulous Cor Leijtens cocks 5454 and First Edition with many of their offspring producing wonderful pigeons when either crossed or kept inbred. Many good lofts from within the UK have helped to build this family of modern day sprint-middle distance pigeons. Make no mistake these beauties will more than hold their own with the best in the world. A little look at the Sun City Million dollar results proves that Neville and Angie and her brother Steve Cuthbert have quality pigeons within their Burntoft Lofts. The proof of the pudding is in the eating they say. Well Nev, Angie and Steve are having a feast!

Another UK loft that is making the headlines at the Sun city one loft arena are the birds of John Crehan. The present day number 1 breeding couple is Wolverine and his hen Mystique. Their offspring have been taking the South African based one loft race series by storm in 2011-12. Let’s take a little peek at their breeding. Wolverine is a Wall, Lunt & Green Janssen x Van Dyck based pigeon. The hen Mystique is of  G & C Koopman x Van Dyck  breeding with both Madam Vink’s Tips and Koopman’s Everveen Hope and Golden Lady in her pedigree. With breeding like this, is it any wonder that they have bonded so well because as many are aware the Janssen x Koopmans Van Loon blood go together like bacon & eggs. These proven lines have enabled the partnership of Crehan & O’Conner to enjoy great success over the last few years at all levels of domestic racing. Which has earned their loft the nickname of The Salford Superstars.

Anthony & Simon Hughes is yet another loft that has soared on high over the last few seasons. Their loft is also based on the pigeons originating from Janssen Brothers. Armed with these great pigeons this father and son team has hit the ground running since they joined forces after flying individually. I can say that this loft has performed absolutely phenomenally especially over the past two years. I would like to point out that their location is far from conducive to successful national flying as Lancashire is far from the ideal location. This hasn’t prevented A & S Hughes from winning 1st section (provincial) on no less than three occasions in 2011. As recognition the partners won the trophy for the UK’s best middle distance performances of 2011. This year it has been a similar story in the local organisations. The icing on the cake was this year’s race with the Midlands National FC from Vire proving to be something of a procession up to their Rochdale location. The following positions were won that day : 2,3,4,5,7,9,11,18. Section (provincial) and 5,14,16,19,28,35,61 and 100 open placings from an entry of 4,756 birds. Trust me this was a breathtaking result. Proving once again that you can’t achieve these sort of results without owning exceptional pigeons.

Fanciers with an eye for exceptional pigeons are the Thornton Family from Stockton on Tees. They purchased Simply the Best, Ian Stafford’s best Jos Thone breeding cock at Ian’s  major reduction sale. For Jos Thone enthusiasts Simply the Best is a direct son of Sars one of Jos’ finest breeding cocks. The Thornton’s are offering two direct children from Simply the Best and two different hens. Birds of this quality are certainly worth looking at. One is an inbred youngster, while the other is bred from a daughter of Blauwe Prins the famed De Rauw – Sablon son of Freddy. Jos Thone described this coupling as a golden combination. Enough said I think.