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The Patrick Strain Of England...
Author: Liam O ComainTitle: The Patrick Strain Of England
Date: 2005-04-15 19:10:56Uploaded by: webmaster
Somerset LadWhat can we say about them? Well, this article is primarily based upon their achievements so far in the sport. I was full of admiration for their decision to leave one part of the European continent to plant roots in another - an authentic sacrifice for the cause of long-distance pigeon racing, brought vividly to mind when one reads their story in Steve Patrick's occasional column in the British pigeon press. The Patrick's are what pioneers are made of and although I have spoken briefly with Steve by telephone in relation to pigeon matters on behalf of my brother, Tommy, I have no other further connection with them. Tommy, of course, has pigeons of their strain and would be a friend of the brothers, whom he thinks a lot of.

As to their beginnings, the Patricks, as a family, were forced to evacuate from the city of London due to the bombing of the city in 1940, settling in the small town of Newbury in the county of Berkshire. One of the brothers, the eldest, Steve, had kept pigeons since the age of 11 but in 1956 the other brother, Phillip, joined him in partnership. In the early days there were problems about loft residency and there was much moving to different loft sites but just after the mid-1970s the family purchased their own home and had the necessary space for their hobby. With such security during a period of approximately 10 years (1978-1987) the Patrick partnership was top in Club, Federation and Combine, but most importantly, however, as long-distance aspirants, in the English Nationals the loft won 3 x 1st Section and positions like 3rd and 4th open.

This was a good start to a promising career in the sport. They used the system of widowhood based upon 10 cocks of mainly Busschaert origin and averaged 14 x 1st prizes each year. There was then another move of residence to the county of Shropshire in 1987, prior to which all of the pigeons were sold and an order was made for six Jan Aardens from Martha van Geel of Holland, reflecting the intention of the brothers. You see, after entering the sport and doing well with one of the best strains of the 20th century - the Busschaerts - they knew that to achieve their sporting ambitions representatives from the Aarden dynasty were required: a reflection of thinking fanciers! Although not raced until 1990, the van Geels were in residence since 1988 and the latter, with some Van Der Wegens from Simons and Son of Holland, plus Robert Venus bloodlines, took the brothers back to the top in their new area.

However, another change was to occur when the Patricks moved to Somerset in the June of 1966. They took just the breeders and bred 11 late-breds in August. It was to be a good move for the brothers, who won in 1999 the Pau Grand National with Somerset Lad. Since then they have won 17 major trophies in the English NFC. With no racing in local clubs (which is the same for young birds) the partners emphasise the channel between England and France as the test to separate the best from the not so good. Racing in only the National races, some of their performances between 1999 and 2002 were extraordinary for they won 91 Positions in the English NFC from Nantes, Saintes and Pau. In addition they won many averages, including the best Average Nantes and Pau, and the Langstone Gold Cup Best Average. In those three years the Patrick's won approximately 150 prizes from the French race points.

Falling in love with the Aardens, what else could they do? Emulating their mentor and creating a strain that's new. Which flew from Pau to Somerset and from other parts to the west, forming a marathon family intending to be the best and deeds to be unheard of in the land of pigeondom. A powerful marathon family just like the aardens indeed they are number one!

My research shows me that the brothers, through line and inbreeding using crosses from the very best of Europe's long-distance strains, were set upon and indeed succeeded in becoming strain makers. But has the adventure ended? No! I believe that we have yet to see the best of the Patrick Strain and the racing contests of Europe will see the influence of that unique strain in the years ahead.

Liam O Comain

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