The partnership of Lloyd & Kelly had been synonymous with National racing success for many years and it has continued after the passing of Frank Lloyd in 2008, under the very capable stewardship of Eamon Kelly.
Eamon was nine years old when he first began to help Frank around the lofts and is the first to praise the influence of Frank on himself as a young man, so he is now “paying it forward” by taking another young fancier, Mark Jarvis under his wing.
Mark is a very enthusiastic young man who helps Eamon with the day to day management of the lofts and is reaping the rewards of his hard work with Eamon ensuring he receives due recognition for his efforts.
Eamon had decided to take his young family to Disneyland Paris for a few days prior to this National Flying Club race and in preparation for the longer races, they had repaired the whole team. Mark then tended to their needs and motivation in his absence by placing nesting material around the lofts and ensuring it was continuously replenished. The birds were given open access to allow them to build their new nests and it was in this condition that they were sent to the race from Ancenis.
The winning hen had an amount of extra motivation, as her partner was also paired to another hen in the neighboring nest box. This had a profound effect on her as she had extra defending duties in his absence and her attachment to the nestbox was vastly increased. Eamon also decided put both hens in an empty section with the cock, for a few hours on the day of basketing and I recall Andrew Mabin, using similar motivation methods, to win the Messac National Flying Club race in 2014.
Rain showers troubled the day and most pigeons had some heavy rain to negotiate but she stuck to her task and trapped with determination. Eamon verified the hens time and once he realised they had won the National, he congratulated Mark for his involvement and named her “Frankies Girl” in remembrance of his mentor.
All to often we bemoan the absence of younger participants in our sport and indeed there is a lot of differing interests to compete against, but with the encouragement of Eamon Kelly I am sure Mark Jarvis has developed a lifetimes interest in pigeons and he too will “pay it forward” someday in the future.
Denny Phillips of Nantymoel, South Wales bred the winning hen as Eamon buys 40 youngsters from him each year. Denny has kept this line of pigeons for the last 50 years and has won from the shortest race to the longest, winning Nationals and Merit Awards many times along the way.
The base pigeons of his loft came from Chambers Bros of Scotland in the late 1960’s, and their bloodlines were Logan’s. Denny blended these with Alf Bakers “No Fluke” lines and they stood the test of time until, in 1987 he felt they needed an injection of fresh blood, so he bought a Herman Van der Weyer stock cock from Mr Nicholas of Doncaster. This eight-year-old cock was a top stock cock at the time for Mr Nicholas and continued to breed winners with several hens for Denny, with the very best of these being put back into his own family.
Following on from this success, in recent years he has bought direct from Gaby Vandenabelle and is currently keeping his bloodline refreshed with these, winning all the channel races in his club this season out to Kinzweiler with the Welsh South East National. The Vandenabelle bloodlines have performed very well in National racing all over the world and indeed the third and forth open positions, won by Paul Kenny, are also M & D Evans, Vandenabelle bloodlines.
Fats were added the feed to build up the pigeons for the task and regular training tosses are given. A similar technique was used last season in the build up to the National Flying Club’s “Grand National” from Tarbes, a distance of 583 miles, which resulted in the Lloyd & Kelly loft winning the section in 2013 and 2014. Both these pigeons were yearlings at the time and have now paired together in preparation for the 2015 Tarbes race.
The 2014 section winner was bred by Roger Lowe out of his Daniel Aerens stock, and was not quite a year old at the time of his winning performance. A true testament to the bloodlines of Daniel Aerens of Belgium who clocked 34 out 35 from Barcelona 2014, winning the hens international with a pigeon called “I had a dream” and I look forward with equal anticipation to the Tarbes Grand National 2015, as Eamon is preparing to enter them both again.