Pigeon racing comes to Cobar and really takes off

Almost 600 Racing Homer pigeons were liberated on Saturday morning from the Dalton Park Horse Sports Complex to head home to Newcastle in the Derby, Blue Band Yearling Breeders Plate.

Prior to the Cobar Picnic Cup five horse race meeting being held at the Dalton Park Horse Sports Complex on Saturday after-noon, another important “thoroughbred” race took place earlier that morning.
The Derby, Blue Band Yearling Breeders Plate race got underway at 8am on Saturday when 593 racing pigeons were released.
The birds were entered by 46 flyers from the Newcastle & Coalfields Racing Pigeon Feder-ation (which is made up of five different clubs from the Newcastle area).
They were liberated in fine clear weather, and aided by a slight north west breeze for their trip back home to Newcastle.
The Cobar Weekly was there for the race start and spoke with Deb, one of the convey-ors who travelled to Cobar last week with the group of almost 600 Racing Homers.
Deb said it’s been a busy racing season for these pigeons with races recently held in Mer-riwa, Dunedoo and Gilgandra
“They raced from Nyngan last week and it’s Cobar today.
“Then they go to Emmdale, Wilcannia, Bro-ken Hill and Little Topar.”
From Cobar it’s about a 700km drive to Newcastle but for the pigeons, who take a more straight route, it’s closer to 582km.
“They fly straight there,” Deb explained.
“We really don’t know how they know where to go.
“It’s just their instinct to get home to their loft, to their nest.
“Some fly widowhood, which means they have a mate at home waiting, while some fly to where they have eggs in the nest and they fly back to the eggs.
“It’s different systems but it’s just their in-stinct to go home.”
Deb explained the birds fly the whole time.
“If they don’t get back home before night, they’ll roost in a tree somewhere and, at first light they’ll go off again.
“If it’s very, very hot, then they’ll go down for a drink, but we race in the winter months because it doesn’t get so hot,” Deb said.
The birds were loaded in Newcastle on Thursday and arrived in Cobar on Friday af-ternoon where they were fed and watered and rested up before their release on Saturday morning.
According to the race results, most were back home in around six hours while the fast-est had a fly time of five hours, 40 minutes and 40 seconds back to his home at Cessnock.
In their race last week from Nyngan, Deb reports the fastest birds covered the 450km distance back home in four and a half hours, averaging a speed of about 1.5km per minute.
Pigeon Racing is set to return to Cobar in October with the Western Pigeon Federation to host the Cobar Grand National Race 2022.
The Australian National Racing Pigeon Board is promoting the race to all city and country Victorian, South Australia and New South Wales pigeon trainers in an effort to promote the Sport of Racing Pigeons in Aus-tralia and to also create cooperation and unity among racing pigeon trainers Australia-wide.