Well today has been a good experience for my team of unraced yearlings. It has proved very tough for them and the fact that I have had only 7 from 14 to date shows exactly how tough! They were having their first race today from 97 miles and apart from 1 they all followed the batch into the valleys and didnt break. My birds then had the Brecon Beacons between themselves and the loft! This is what usually happens when I send to the first couple of young bird races. As all these birds have not raced before it would have been a whole new experience to them. Only my grizzle cock came the correct way (up the valley from Abergavenny). All the remaining birds that have arrived have come from the Merthyr direction. My first bird was 15 minutes behind the club winner and I am not concerned about that as this is unraced yearlings racing against experienced birds and I wanted to get returns rather than blistering performances today. I am disappointed with the returns at present though. Hopefully a few will negotiate the valleys and head for home soon.
My brother raced as well today and it proved a close contest between us with myself clocking at 2.56 (1312ypm) and him clocking at 2.59 (1288ypm). The birds that went through were 1+ hour later than these first 2! This goes to show how difficult it is to get a bird to pull out from the batch and head up the right side of the Brecon Beacons and the struggle they have if they miss the breaking point.
The focus now is on returns and hopefully we will have a good few more show their faces in the next 24 hours. The birds that did arrive were very tired and the fly will have done them the world of good and as I have mentioned the experience will push them on that bit more.
I will update tomorrow when I get home from work with details of any late comers. This week will see the birds have regular loft flying and we will see what next week brings. This is the first race of the season from an extra 20 miles than the initial race programme was planned so it has been tough but the birds will be better in the weeks to come!