Categories: Rural insight

SA Prestige Invitational Pigeon Race update

Pigeons are in training for the final of the 6th annual SA Prestige Invitational Pigeon Race (SAPIR), says Thomas Smit.

The final of the 2016 SAPIR will be held on 25 September from Colesburg (a distance of about 570km). Prime bred young racing pigeons are entered, homed and trained to compete against each other from the same loft.

Whether a business executive who doesn’t have time to compete from a home loft or a specialist breeder, you can test the quality of your pigeon stock at the SAPIR loft east of Johannesburg, where all the work is done for you.

With an entry fee of R10 000/ team, it’s a fraction of the cost of running a home loft – and then there’s the chance to win some cash…

Starting with the first road training flight on 1 July, from Vereeniging (45km), the few losses and quick returns as the distances increased to 340km attest to the high quality of the pigeons and their training, overseen by Daniel Chilengue.

General rules
The basic rules of the SAPIR One-Day Loft concept are as follows:

  • Entry is by invitation only and limited to a maximum of 100 top SA fanciers. Pigeons from 60 fanciers are taking part this year.
  • Upon entry the pigeons become the property of the SAPIR Loft.
  • A team comprises five pigeons, from which three are chosen (‘activated’) prior to the first Hot Spot race. Only these three can earn prize money on the Hot Spots.
  • One main pigeon must be nominated from these three for the final race prior to the auction.

SAPIR Loft will auction off all the birds just prior to the main race. The winning bidders will become the owners of the teams they bought, with 30% of the price going to the original entrant.

Buyers can also enter the birds not chosen for the race into the Auction Challenge. For this reason all non-nominated pigeons remain in training prior to the final race (they also serve as team reserves).

Cash prizes
These include:

  • Breeders Stakes: The breeder (original entrant) competes for the Breeders Stakes prize money in the four Hot Spots, the Hot Spot Ace, the Grand Average winner and the main race. (Only the three pigeons the breeder selects are allowed to compete for prize money during the Hot Spot series and only the main bird selected will compete in the final race and Grand Average competition.)
  • Hot Spots: These are held on Fridays and will have been completed at the time of going to print.
  • Auction Stakes: Each team of three birds is sold as a unit and non-nominated back-up reserves are sold individually. The breeder or anyone else who pays the highest price at the auction will compete in a separate cash price category. If the breeder has enough faith in their pigeons to buy the team back at the auction it could mean a ‘double win’. If a punter fancier is the highest bidder and the new owner of the team, the original entrant will still qualify for the prize money of the Breeder’s Stakes, but the new owner will receive the cash prize from the Auction Stakes.
  • Auction Challenge: Held concurrently with the final race. Winning bidders of a team can opt to enter the reserve pigeons into the Challenge at R5 000/pigeon.

In summary, due to the limited number of competing pigeons, the real test for breeders is to correctly assess the ability of their choice of pigeons. In addition, bidders at the auction get an opportunity to buy into the best gene pool in South Africa, which may otherwise not have been for sale.

For more information, contact 011 907 0130/8 or 082 804 9968.

Thomas Smit is a racing pigeon selector, and a freelance journalist and writer.

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