The Racing Pigeon - 5th April 2024



doesn’t show the hens to the racing cocks on marking night, but is a great believer in leaving the hens with their mates on their return from the race, some times several hours. The cocks are trained well before racing, but never after it has started, only exercising around the loft for an hour twice a day. They stay on the Widowhood right through the season, but Terry says he will try re-pairing for the longest race at some time and see if this improves the results. He told me resting pigeons after a hard fly is very important, as some times they look OK, but are they alright inside? The loft has won many premier positions in the Federation, Combine and Classic through the years including 2000 – London Federation Young Bird Average, 2007 – 10th Open L&SECC Tours, 2008 – 7th Open

L&SECC Guernsey (2), 2010 – 1st SMT Combine Fougeres (215 miles), plus many times 1st Federation. The Leonard loft’s three top racers were: ‘Fougeres Express’ a two year old Widowhood blue chequer cock and he won 1st Woodside FC, 1st Surrey Federation, 1st SMT Combine Fougeres, lifting the Eric Matthews Trophy. This game cock was a Romani Janssen/Kees Bosua cross and his sire won 1st Federation twice. The Combine winner was bred down from a wonderful line of winners, with his mother winning the Federation as a young bird and his grand sire winning 7x1st Club, three times 1st Surrey Federation and 1st SMT Combine. A brilliant family of winners! ‘Mr Consistent’ another two year old blue chequer Romani Janssen/Kees Bosua

Widowhood cock and he had won a list of premier prizes in the Federation and L&SECC. ‘The Blue Boy’ a nine year old blue cock bred from the Paul Arnold bloodlines and is a grand son of Paul’s champion Staf Van Reet stock cock, ‘The Guvnor’. This great old Widowhood cock won several top prizes including 1st Surrey Federation Portland and 2nd Surrey Federation Messac. The two main families kept at the Leonard’s loft these days are Kees Bosua and Romani Fitzhugh Janssen, which have raced well pure and crossed. The stock birds are paired up in December and the first round of eggs are floated under the Widowhood cocks. Terry visited Kees Bosua’s loft with some friends who were purchasing stock birds in 2005 and all the Leonard birds are

bred from those purchases. Terry currently races about 40 young birds every season and is a great believer in schooling them well, by giving them many 30 miles plus training tosses before their first race. He puts his young birds on the Darkness system, giving them nine hours day light every day and they are taken off on the 21st June. He races them to the perch and they are allowed to pair up to motivate them for racing. The youngsters are raced through the programme to the longest race, Wadebridge (214 miles). Well done to Terry & Sue Leonard for their outstanding Federation wins in 2023. TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (

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