|Author: Joe Murphy||Title: Joe Murphy Article|
|Date: 2022-06-03 06:48:58||Uploaded by: Brian|
Two of the Greatest Pigeons to race in the SNFC
‘Fortune Lady’ & ‘Kingdom Spirit’
I have been working on accumulating details on two of the Greatest Pigeons ever to race into Scotland. I know this is a strong statement to make but I hope when you have read this article you will agree with me that these 2 birds are truly exceptional. The first Scottish National Flying Club race was flown in 1894 and throughout this historical time there have been some truly outstanding pigeons that have distinguished themselves in the success of this GREAT CLUB. The Scottish National introduced a special ‘Gold Award’ to any pigeon that is a section diploma winner; (not a section position winner as published in result) in 5 or more SNFC Channel races, or a bird that has won section diplomas in 4 or more SNFC Channel races and flown a minimum of 2500 miles from those races. This was indeed an enormous challenge to ask of ANY pigeon, however, the objective was achieved for the first-time in 1975. When 2 pigeons won this award: these fanciers being namely George Bain & son of Danderhall and David Rose of Aberdeen. During the period of 1984 to 1994 approximately 2 ¼ million pigeons rings were issued to the membership of the Scottish Homing Union. Since the Gold Award’s introduction in 1975 up to the present time (April 2022) only 148 very tremendous pigeons have been awarded with this illustrious accolade with the incredible amount of 391,270 pigeons partaking in SNFC channel races during this time. When you also contemplate the above and realise that ONLY TWO unique pigeons stand-out in the annuals of this club’s historical past as being the only AMAZING pigeons to win 2 Gold Awards it is quite incredible. The first of these being a pigeon who won 10 times from channel races into Scotland from the race points of Sartilly (499 miles) and Rennes (542 miles). This distinguished achievement was accomplished between the years of 1987 and 1994 by a chequer pied hen named ‘Fortune Lady’ bred and raced by Mr & Mrs Jimmy Smith of Elphinstone in East Lothian. This champion hen, did not win her first SNFC diploma until she was 3 years old. Nevertheless, by the age of 10 in the year of 1994 she collected her 10th channel certificate and became the first ever Double Gold Award winner in the history of the Scottish National Flying Club. Her winning performances are as follows;
Race Point Year Open Section Miles Yards Velocity Members Birds
Sartilly (1) 1987 89th 49th 499-1614 1056.27 756 2358
Rennes 1988 19th 10th 542-1475 855.07 1162 3490
Sartilly (2) 1988 15th 14th 499-1614 926.16 569 1929
Sartilly (1) 1989 6th 4th 499-1614 1158.03 895 2989
Sartilly (2) 1989 15th 6th 499-1614 1342.71 692 2659
Sartilly (1) 1990 20th 10th 499-1614 1370.45 952 3310
Sartilly (2) 1990 186th 83rd 499-1614 954.29 720 2912
Sartilly (1) 1991 160th 50th 499-1614 921.80 1305 4476
Rennes 1992 28th 18th 542-1475 1118.93 1289 4501
Sartilly (1) 1993 Timed out of Race Time
Sartilly (2) 1994 79th 45th 499-1614 595.86 Not Found 2274
‘Fortune Lady’ flew the channel 13 times winning in 10 races and as you will see from the above, she was 5 times in the first 20 open positions in these races and her total cash winnings was £5.964.03 pence. She was also the winner of the Scottish Homing Union ‘Pigeon of the Year’ award and she won the prestigious ‘Dewar Trophy’ in 1988, and she was runner up for this same trophy in 1989. I have no doubt in saying she was the best 500-mile pigeon in Scotland and maybe even Europe during her racing career. ‘Fortune Lady’ performed best when sitting six days on eggs at the time of basketing but on both her Rennes wins she was sent sitting on a four day-old-youngster.
Sire of ‘Fortune Lady’ was an injured pied cock ‘11809’ bred by Tom McEwen of Elphinstone, he was paired to his own daughter ‘578’and this pairing produced ‘SU84E05776’ ‘Champion Fortune Lady’ ‘578’ won the following SNFC prizes; 1979 - 27th east section 136th open Falaise & 27th east section 29th open Avranches; In 1980 she won - 101st east section 106th open Avranches; 1982 won-139th east section 231st open Rennes. In 1983 the SNFC had no channel racing and she won 127th east section 159th open Dorchester (1). Then in 1985 she won 86th east section 104th open Exeter winning 6 times in the SNFC and a coveted SNFC Gold Award. ‘SN578’ best nest condition was sitting 15 days on eggs. Dam of ‘SN578’ was named ‘Flower of Scotland’ and she won the following positions in the SNFC. In 1975 she won -64th east section 141st open Avranches; 1976 won -29th east section 52nd open Rennes and 134th east section 216th open Avranches; 1977 won -69th east section 131st open Rennes and 74th east section 108th open Avranches; 1978 won- 85th east section 163rd open Rennes and then won 31st east section 87th open Avranches also winning a SNFC Gold Award. So, you will see from the above that breeding from the best REPRODUCES THE BEST.
In 2008 the Scottish National introduced a Silver Award for a pigeon that won
3 section prizes from France again racing into Scotland and even this was a very hard target to achieve. However, this has been achieved once again with 156 outstanding pigeons up to the start of the 2020 season. The club also introduced the Meritorious Inland Bronze Award in 2008 for a pigeon that won 5 section diplomas from inland national races. There have been 23 presented up to the start of the 2020-year handbook issue.
Nevertheless; History was repeated 21 years after ‘Fortune Lady’ as we again had a very special pigeon who also obtained the SNFC Double Gold Award. This new ‘Superstar’ was is a blue bar hen named ‘Kingdom Spirt’ she was a late bred in 2008 with an old ring placed on her leg and was raced by the father and son partnership of George & Brian Hunter from Dunfermline which is the area known in Scotland as the ‘Kingdom of Fife’. Dunfermline is situated north of Edinburgh over the river known as ‘The Firth of Forth’ which continues out into the North Sea. This wonderful hen competed from 4 different race points with the Scottish National Flying Club, and her performances are as follow:
Race Point Year Open Section Miles Yards Velocity Members Birds
Reims 2010 26 C7 567-704 1091.4 397 1187
Clermont 2010 30 C2 524-391 1031.97 311 1102
Messac 2011 31 C2 573-1315 582.17 385 1159
Clermont 2011 69 C31 524-391 1220.67 356 1741
Alencon 2012 36 C4 547-1603 1291.03 389 1204
Alencon 2013 22 C8 547-1603 979.02 431 1355
Clermont 2013 90 C41 524-391 607.7 343 1500
Alencon 2014 120 C18 547-1603 624.9 421 1427
Alencon 2015 58 C2 547-1603 820.85 400 1416
Clermont 2015 67 C28 524-391 1141.11 338 1547
2 x SNFC SILVER AWARDS (3 times a winner from France)
2 x SNFC GOLD AWARDS (5 times a winner from France)
She also won the Scottish Homing Union ‘DEWAR TROPHY’ in 2010 for Scotland’s ‘Pigeon of the Year’ and was Runner up for this award in 2011. She correspondingly won 1st prize in the ‘Joe Murphy -BHW- One Bird Sporting Challenge’ competition from Alencon in 2012. From where she competed against a select band of quality pigeons to win the highest placed bird in the completion being 36th open Scottish National Flying Club. During this 21-year period the Scottish Homing Union have distributed over 1,000,000 rings to their membership and it was an incredible achievement for ‘Kingdom Spirit’ as she became a PIGEON IN A MILLION and at that time, PLUS she was also regarded as ONE of the Best Racing Hens in Europe. ‘Kingdom Spirit’s’ normal preparation for the season was; paired up in March and reared 2 babies until they are 15 days old at which time she is taken away and prepared for racing on the ‘Roundabout’ system. With her mate finishing off rearing the babies. ‘Kingdom Spirit’ normally has 3 races out to Leicester a distance of 257 miles, she was then repaired to her mate and entered into the SNFC Gold Cup race from Alencon sitting 10 days on eggs. (On return she generally did not go back onto her eggs). She was then allowed to go back to nest and receives 2 short training flights (40 minutes on the wing) and was then entered into the SNFC Clermont race sitting 4-day eggs. In 2015 after the race, she returned to her eggs which is the first time she has done so in ALL her racing contests. You will see from the above this magnificent hen has only ONCE been out of the top 100 in these 10 national races flying almost 5430 miles during this time and she has been within the top 5% in ALL these national races. Both parents were bred by R Cook of Chatsworth Lofts of Colchester Essex both containing the bloodlines of Geoff Kirkland 1st national winner ‘The Pest’.
The ‘Dewar Trophy’ is awarded to the ‘Champion Bird of the Year’ within the whole of Scotland. ‘Kingdom Spirit’ won it in 2010 and she was runner up the following year. Her sister ‘Kingdom Kate’ was runner up for the Dewar Trophy and ‘Kingdom Anna’ a DeWeerdt based bloodline hen was runner up for this prestigious award in 2013. In 2020 the last daughter from ‘Kingdom Spirit’ when mated to her own brother bred; ‘Kingdom Pat’ named after George’s wife. As a 3-year-old she won 76th section C, but no open diploma from the SNFC Buckingham race in 2018; in 2019 she then entered into the SNFC Maidstone race with 421 members sending 2957 birds. The convoy were liberated at 07-00 hours into a light south west wind. ‘Kingdom Pat’ was timed at 13-48-43 for a velocity 1612 for the 374 miles winning 36th section C 146th open. She then went to the SNFC Gold Cup race from Burdinne with 358 members sending 1251 birds a distance of 516 miles and she won 9th section C 43rd open. Then in 2020 she was the partners only entry competing from the Gold Cup race from Reims and she won 10th section C 20th open flying 567 miles. She was then entered into the Guernsey race in 2021 (due to no racing from France due to the Covid Pandemic) going for her Silver Award, but unfortunately ‘Kingdom Pat’ failed to return from this event. At this time George and Brian did not race in any club due to the split in the federation so ‘Kingdom Pat’ was privately trained by Brian’s car and lifted into the national races. I think readers will agree an outstanding family of pigeons bred and raced by 2 top quality pigeon fanciers. I would like to congratulate George and Brian on their pigeon’s brilliant racing achievements and wish her all the best in her retirement.
Many fanciers throughout the world will appreciate the prominence of these 2 wonderful pigeons ‘Fortune Lady’ and ‘Kingdom Spirit’ and many will wish they had a pigeon of their calibre within their own lofts. I would also like to see the SNFC highlight these 2 wonderful pigeons by having their photographs and the list of achievements in the centre pages of their annual year book as a tribute to these 2 magnificent birds. I phoned and offered this suggestion to the club secretary, however the 2022 year book has already been printed, (but my offer still stands if they so wish the above article Joe M). Had these 2 birds been a Dutch-Belgian or German pigeons they would have been worth a fortune and even the world record priced pigeon in my opinion does not have performances as outstanding as these 2 Scottish National Racing Pigeon’s.
The above are my own thoughts and beliefs
Joe Murphy Scottish Scribe.
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© COMPILED BY JOE MURPHY
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