John & Dave Staddon of Evercreech
John and his son Dave Staddon are a partnership that have consistently performed at the very top for years, and established themselves as one of the very best partnerships in the National and Classic racing scene. They have a keen interest in livestock and have national level performances with both pigeons and horse racing. Indeed this is their third British International Championship Club win in as many seasons with their pigeons and in 2011 they won the Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown, a horse race that provided an opportunity to meet the Queen!
Five years ago to the very day of this most recent National win, Dave married his wife, Caroline who is now expecting their first child, and so a triple celebration was in order. Now named “Shapway Aniversary Boy”, their winning pigeon was bred from a pair of yearlings in the race team, with a mixture of 75% Mark Gilbert bloodlines with 25% of Geoff and Catherine Cooper bloodlines in his pedigree. Both these lofts have themselves recorded First Open British International Championship Club wins this season, and previously proved the strength of their lofts, by winning first open Internationals too.
Wise investments on behalf of the Staddons, which has paid dividends because John had remarked to Dave, after a visit to the lofts, “We do not need to look anywhere else”. He considered them to be the best lofts in the country, and the stock they supplied proved him correct as they bred winners for them, at the highest level, right from the start.
The father is a full brother to our Caretan British International Championship Club Winner “Shapway Annie” also a Cooper X Gilbert Deweerdt, and the mother is from a full brother to 2nd, 7th & 14th Open Tarbes National Flying Club for Mark Gilbert and half sister to “Southfield Melissa”, 1st International Bordeaux Agen. He has Deweerdt, Brockamp, Jan Aarden & Van Elsacker in his make up.
Their pigeons are coupled for the breeding season around the end of January and each pair are allowed to rear two youngsters before being separated and raced on the “Chaos” widowhood system. The youngsters are placed on the darkness system from the 21st of March until the first week of June. Training begins about a month before the first race, which consists of 10 to 12, tosses up to 30 miles. Once racing begins they go every week with the club with just one midweek trainer from 40 miles. Two weeks before the young bird National races they “go Comando training” as Dave calls it, “like yomping” which consists of training tosses, against the wind, from whatever direction it dictates. This, they feel, builds the confidence required to compete in National competition as they do not believe in “line of flight” training.
The feeding consists of three Matador mixtures, Start, Turbo and Widowhood, which are fed by John in varying amounts, as the race preparation requires. They are communally fed in troughs, which they feel increases appetite due to competition and sets them up nicely for being fed in the baskets on a two day journey to the race point. They feel this is most important. John is retired now and spends more time than ever with the birds and he says the harder they work the luckier they get.
Clean fresh drinking water is replenished twice per day and nothing is added to the water at all. They do their very best to encourage the birds to drink and they feel that using a supplement that is not palatable to the birds, would hinder the hydration levels. The young birds race during the hottest weather in the year and need to drink plenty. Wise words indeed! They had also been advised that clean drinking vessels that had been thoroughly dried, was the best solution to most water borne infections, and they have found this to be true.
The birds are tested every three weeks by the vet and any advice is taken to keep the birds healthy. In fact, they had won the Combine and decided to send the droppings for routine testing, only to be told they had a high cocci count. They gave the prescribed medication and topped the Combine the following week too. They feel testing is necessary because anything can be picked up in the baskets, which could diminish their form if not found in time.
The young birds were in excellent condition for the Falaise race, and had proved their fitness in the races proceeding, by winning 5 out of the 6 races they had entered in the very strong Glastonbury Flying club. Also they had won the West of England South Road Combine twice plus 1st West of England South Road Combine Open. 1st Section G, 4th Open National Flying Club young bird race from Falaise the week previous, which will complement their results for this season in the old bird races which include, 3rd Open British International Championship Club from Tours, 9th Open British International Championship Club from Poitiers, 19th Open British International Championship Club from Barcelona, plus 1st, 2nd & 4th Section & 3rd Open National Flying Club from Saintes. A truly impressive list of results!