It was in the early nineties when we first became aware of the quality and influence of the Zoontjens bloodlines of Riel in the Netherlands.
Father Jan and Son Wal had produces a remarkable team of birds based on the old Janssen family birds crossed with winning lines from the South of the Netherlands over many years.
Although the Zoontjens did not keep many birds , being a very small back garden loft the influence their bloodlines had not only for themselves but at the very highest level of Dutch competition defies description.
Many household names in the sport had birds from the Zoontjens that really put them on the map…fanciers like Combination H&O,Van Boxmeer,Joop Koch , Harm Vredevelde to name but a very few.
It was also around the early to mid nineties that it became obvious of the strength of the ‘Oude Schallie 76’ bloodline down through many generations. This cock NL82-8209076 won 1st Ace Pigeon of Brabant as a five year old before being retired to the Zoontjens breeding loft.
We ourselves of course really desired this line as close as possible to the ‘Oude Schallie’ and it resulted in us owning some of the last children direct from him bred in 1992 and 1993 direct from Wal Zoontjens. One of these sons that we named ‘Vechter’ became a supreme breeder in our own loft when paired to various hens , but especially the ‘Bontje 797’ (Bred by Wal Zoontjens from a son of the Conimix Pair of Van Boxmeer x a daughter of Supercrack 699 of H&O) seamed to click being responsible for more than 90 x first prize winners into the third generation! For example one double grandson also won named ‘Pathfinder’ won the Europa Classic One Loft Race in 2007 wining their owners Gibb and Byrne £30,000!
In 1995 the Dutch National Championships were announced and the Short Distance Ace Pigeon of the whole country was won by Joop Koch of Eindhoven with his world famous ‘President’…This super blue cock was subsequently purchased and shipped to the USA by Mike Ganus.
Joop Koch is related to Wal Zoontjens through marriage and some of the original Zoontjen blood naturally found its way into Joop’s breeding loft including NL90-9027828 ‘Peller Wal’ a direct son of ‘Oude Schallie’ that was the father of ‘The President’…..
A few years later on a visit to Joop Koch, he mentioned a regret he had by selling a full sister to President a few years earlier to an English fancier who had visited him on a pigeon coach trip. This Blue Checker Hen was NL95-2288611 and she had bred a hen NL96-9608804 ‘Den 04’ that was breeding him some exceptional racers. Joop asked if there was anyway I could track her down in the UK !! with no clues about the name of the fancier or what part of the country he lived . But miracles do happen and the hen turned up in the Birmingham area of the UK. She was duly purchased and brought to our own stock loft in North Wales.
Joop Koch asked if he could borrow the hen back for a few rounds of eggs and we agreed.
At this same time another Zoontjens ‘Oude Schallie’ bloodline cock ‘NL94-1717101’ ‘The King’ was sitting in Joop Koch’s loft. This cock was another supreme racer and breeder. He was originally bred and raced by Mr Van den Heuval a fancier in the Eindhoven area who won with him 1st Dutch National Ace All Round in 1999 having previously won 10th National Ace in 1997. After his racing career ‘The King’ was bought by the German Industrialist pigeon fancier Mr Peter Trost.
During a period of illness Mr Trost decided to reduce his numbers and his Loft Manager who was friendly with Joop Koch asked if he would like to breed with ‘The King’ for a short while until Mr Trost decided what to do with his pigeons.
Mr Trost eventually decided to sell the majority of his birds by auction including ‘The King’ and Mike Ganus bought him. So ‘The King’ was already sitting in Joop Koch’s loft when ‘Ankie’ was returned and Joop asked Mike and myself if he could pair both together for his own breeding loft before ‘The King’ was shipped to the States and ‘Ankie’ was returned to the UK.
After the agreed breeding arrangement ‘The King’ was shipped off to the States and ‘Ankie’ returned to the UK where she once again excelled in the breeding loft with various cocks before she herself was also shipped to the States a few years after as a gift to Mike to pair to his various National Ace and Olympiade winning cocks.
‘Den 04’ NL96-9608804 the daughter of ‘Ankie’ had been coupled to Joops ‘Lichte Orleans’, a handsome blue cock bred down from the Conimix Couple line of Van Boxmeer and they formed what can only be described as a legendary breeding couple…one of the best ever in the Dutch Pigeon Sport.
One of the sons this pair ‘Lichte Orlenas x 04’ bred was ‘Blauwe Favoriet’ a winner of 1st Dutch National Ace Short Distance and 3rd Dutch National Ace Middle Distance in the same year 1999. He was also 1st Champion Young Bird of the strong CC Eindhoven in 1998.
As a thank you for the breeding arrangement with ‘The King’ and ‘Ankie’ Joop presented us with a young blue cock in 2000 from ‘Blauwe Favoriet x Sister President’ that he was confident would breed some good birds!! A bit of an understatement…He would become the ‘Favorite Son’…
FAVORITE SON NL2000-0083413.Bred by Joop Koch from BLAUWE FAVORIET winner of 1st Dutch National Ace Pigeon Sprint and 3rd Dutch National Ace Pigeon Middle Distance NPO in the same year 1999. Dam of FAVORITE SON is ZUSTER PRESIDENT a full sister to the famous PRESIDENT winner of 1st Dutch National Ace NPO Short Distance 1995 ,1st Hannut 2045 b, 1st Overall 40,000 b, 1st St.Ghislain 2074b, 1st Overall 30,000b, 1st Roye 2086b, 1st Overall 30,000b, 1st Creil 1867b, 1st Overall 26,000 birds All races in the same season!!. Old Zoontjens line.
‘Favorite Son’ bred the following:
GB2005T29618 WIZARD a son of FAVORITE SON x BLONDIE
*1st National NPO Etampes 17,487 b
* 13th Combine Strombeek 10,214 b
* 21st Creil 1,997 b
*22nd Harchies 2,582 b
NL2007-1955823 a daughter of WIZARD x Dtr.DRUM
* 1st Ace Young Bird Vitesse Union de Baronie 2007 against 1000 members. *6th National NPO Orleans 14,041 b
GB2006L27617 a daughter FAVORITE SON x BLONDIE
* 1st Pommeroeul 564 b
5th Combine Pommeroeul 7,694 b
*1st Morlincourt 544 b
9th Combine Morlincourt 5,767 b
*6th Pommerouel 1,796 b
*14th St.Quentin 1,623 b
*16th Chantilly 1,497 b
*19th St.Quentin 2,667 b
GB01D50349 ‘THE GOLDEN COCK’ a son of FAVORITE SON x ASTRID of Geoffery Douglas,Lurgan, Northern Ireland. Responsible for over 120 x first prize club winners with no duplications into the 4th generation. Including:
*1st NIPA Young Bird National Rosscarberry 4,399 b
*1st NIPA Yearling Cock National Rosscarberry 1,728 b
(1st Overall 3,295 yearlings)
*1st Open NIPA Fermoy 28,178 b (Raced by Kemp & McBride)
*1st Open NIPA Truro 4,389 b (Raced by Kemp & McBride)
*1st Open NIPA Fermoy 28,100 b (Raced by M.McPhillips)
*2nd NIPA Old Bird Derby Skibbereen 7,832 b
*5th NIPA Yearling Hen National Rosscarberry 967 b
*9th NIPA Old Bird National Rosscarberry 3,546 b
*10th Open N.I.P.A. Fermoy 28,928 b
*15th Open NIPA Roscrea 13,659 b
GB06L27715 a son of FAVORITE SON X Dtr.VECHTER & BONTJE 797 for D and J Armstrong, Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland bred:
* 1st NIPA Young Bird National Rosscarberry 4,136 b
The hen that won the National was GB07C02471 ‘TOO HOT TO HANDLE’ and she bred:
*2nd North Coast Classic One Loft Race 2009, winning £4000
GB04B50257 LITTLE STAR a daughter of FAVORITE SON X CONIMIX QUEEN for the late Derek Woodward is the hen of his Golden Couple responsible for over 90 x 1st prize winners into the 3rd generation including:
*1st Mid Cheshire Federation Portland 933 b
*1st Mid Cheshire Federation Frome 1,184 b
*1st Section Central Lancs Combine Portland 1,239 b
*1st South Lancs Combine Kempsey 1,014 b
GB08L24643 THE OLD MAN a son of FAVORITE SON X Dtr.VECHTER & BONTJE 797 for Gregg Brothers and McCandless of Belfast Northern Ireland bred:
Blue Hen GB09L30874
*1st Section C 2,289 b Fermoy
5th Open NIPA 11,797 b Fermoy
*1st Section C 226 b Fermoy 5 Bird
4th Open NIPA 1,582 b Fermoy 5 Bird
*19th Section C 4,355 b Fermoy
28th Open NIPA 21,309 b Fermoy
*28th Section C 5,417 b Tullamore
99th Open NIPA 24,776 b Tullamore
*205th Open NIPA 6,712 b Rosscarberry Inland National 246 Miles
*315th Open NIPA 6,681 b Rosscarberry Inland National 246 miles
Pencil Blue Cock GB09L20873
*1st Section C 5,118 b Roscrea
2nd Open NIPA 27,017 b Roscrea
*8th Section C 354 b Fermoy
118th Open NIPA 6,301 b Fermoy
*11th Section C 846 b Clonmel
Blue Cock GB11L30843
*1st Section C 830 b Tullamore
3rd Open NIPA 8,339 b Tullamore
*32nd Open NIPA 6,175 b Rosscarberry Inland National 246Miles
*42nd Section C 1,049 b Rosscarberry Inland National 246 Miles
136th Open NIPA 3,823 b Rosscarberry Inland National
*64th Section C 3,843 b Roscrea
149th Open NIPA 19,768 b Roscrea
*19th Open Section C 5,032 Birds Area Lib Mullingar
GB08L24644 FAVORITE 644 a son of FAVORITE SON x Dtr.VECHTER & BONTJE 797 when coupled to LURGAN BELLE a daughter of Geoffrey Douglas Golden pair bred the mother of GB14V08428 the Champion racing hen bred by Mrs Eileen Whitehead and raced by Mr and Mrs Peter Shaw of Wolverhampton:
*1st South West Section Ace Pigeon Middle Distance Midlands National 2015
*2nd Midlands National Ace Pigeon Middle Distance 2015
*1st Section 761 b Midlands National Carentan 17th Open 8,888 b Midlands National Carentan
*1st Section 144 b Midlands National Yearling Classic Carentan 6th Open 969 b Midlands National Yearling Classic Carentan
*7th Section 745 b Midlands National Ancenis 21st Open Midlands National 5,610 b Ancenis
*3rd Section 78 b Midlands National Yearling Classic Ancenis 6th Open Midlands National Yearling Classic Ancenis
*60th Section 1,125 b Midlands National Carentan
187th Open 8,350 b Midlands National Carentan
*1st Midlands Continental Classic 1,046 b Carentan 2016
So ….up to 2017 and Joop Koch has been Champion of the CC Eindhoven for 28 out of the last 30 years!! The birds he is still winning with are all descended from the original lines going back to the ‘Oude Schallie’ over 35 years ago!!
I am very often asked my opinion on how to breed good winning birds and my humble opinion is research what good birds really are…understand what a strong line actually is…once a good line has been found , like the ‘Oude Schallie 76’ of 1982 then do not be influenced by fashions of ‘strains’ or ‘families’ or ‘breeds’ that simply don’t exist over the test of time and cross them with other strong lines!!…A famous old time Dutch fancier once told me fanciers who dont have the feel for the birds follow fashions..one day they like red ones…the next day they like white ones and the next day they like blue ones….just like the colours of the Dutch flag!
A strong line is of course not just ‘Oude Schallie’ but could also be ‘Kleinen’ of Vandenabeele or ”03′ of Gummarus Leysen (responsible for the Kannibaal bloodline of Dirk Van Dyke) or ‘Stier’ of Van Bruane…or ‘Schaliie van 32’ of Janssen…or ‘Spin’ of Van Wanroy…or ‘Oud Doffertje’ of Van de Wegen… and so on and so on….Fashions come and go but the strong line survives a very long time indeed.
Here are a few of Joop Koch’s up to date winners that also shows breeding details…I am sure you will now be familiar with some of the names detailed in their ancestry!!