most peoples lives an ambition starts with some kind of disappointment
and there is no exception where Leslie Woodside is concerned.
The early years of his life were spent on the home farm where
his father and brother raced a few pigeons and this probably
started his love of pigeons and pigeon racing, so when he moved
to their present home in Ballyclare he started to race in partnership
with his brother Colin, but when Colin got married and moved
away Leslie continued to race on his own, never changing the
Like most fanciers of that era a few pigeons were purchased
and some gifted to him, and although some success was achieved
he always had an interest in long distance racing and with this
in mind he decided to approach the fanciers who where clocking
most years in the kings cup Races, these being Smyth Bros. Of
Ballymena. A few late breds of the old Kenyon Strain were purchased
and this started a great friendship which has lasted through
the years with Leslie keen to give Bobby credit and thanks for
all the help, advice and pigeons he has given him. One of the
first late breds was a sister of Smyth Bros. 14th Open hen and
for those interested in breeding she was from a brother to the
26th Open Kings Cup from Les Sables when paired to their hall
of fame hen “Highfield Consistent” and her dame
was a daughter of the Eastbourne Cock.
hen and another youngster known as the “Unrung Cock”
were to become the foundation of Leslies loft, being Sire and
dam to many French Prize winners over the years. The Unrung
Cock’s sire was a double Grandson of the great cock “Silverwings”
and his dame was the 66th Open Rennes hen. The loft finished
5th Open Skibereen National of 1986 and 7th Open in the Penzance
young bird National, 1987 but the ambition which was mentioned
earlier was formed in 1990 when the birds races very well and
a daughter of the “Smyth Bros.” He was 4th
in the Kings cup race from Rennes, A half sister was clocled
to win 86th Open in this race. He had been 39th in the Friendship
Irish National Flying Club” and started to think about
the National Averages but unfortunately was disappointed as
he failed to time in the Young Bird National from Penzance but
at least the birds had started to get into the results from
next two years brought more good positions, winning 79th Open
O/B national from Rennes and 88th Open from Penzance Y/B national
in 1991 and 18th Open Kings Cup in 1992 with a grand daughter
of the old Kenyon hen.
In 1993 the loft was 75th and 185th in the Y/b Nat from Penzance.
It was while in Blackpool at the Charity Show in 1992 he fancied
and purchased three young birds from the stand of Geoff Hunt
with the idea to line breed them and the Kenyon’s and
then cross them at a later date and this turned out to be a
mater stroke as they say clicked right away with one of the
first cocks from the Hunt pair being timed to win 44th Open
in the 1994 NIPA Derby, 62nd and 83rd Open positions were also
won in this race with two Kenyon birds. In 1995 the Hunt cock
went to the Friendship Nat where he was 34th Open and 47th O/B
National, 56th and 80th Y/B Nat Penzance it was another very
form continued into 1996 when another Grandson of the old Kenyon
hen was 21st Kings Cup from Rennes, with a loft mate 125th Open,
22nd Friendship Nat. A year later the Hunt cock was again 30th
Penzance Y/B Nat. A year later the Hunt cock was prepared for
the Kings Cup race from St Nazaire and clocked to finish 102nd
Open, four times in France, four tiems in the Prizes, some pigeon!
A dark cheq cock, which was the first of the two families crossed
to fly France, was also clocked to be 100th Open. The O/B National
of 1999 was Redron and again in the prizes winning 98th Open,
62nd and 153rd Open positions in the Yearling National were
also recorded that year.
the year 2000 was the Millennium year a special race organized
by The Irish National Flying Club from Penzance and 17th and
86th open resulted. With 20th, 29th, 130th and 144th in the
Yearling National, 157th Lamballe Derby and 64th in the Kings
Cup which was again from Redron it was a very satisfying years
racing. The 20th Open Yearling National pigeon was clocked 17th
in the Millennium National and was now known as the Millennium
Cock being bred in the Purple, from a son of Jackie Patience’s
Kings Cup and Derby winner when mated to Smyth Bros. Friendship
National winner. As we had no Kings Cup race in 2001 the birds
were made ready for the NIPA Derby winning 23re, 62, 91st Open
and two Bronze Diplomas.
The year 2002 brought a mixture of delight and despair
to Leslie as the birds flew brilliantly timing 9th Open Kings
Cup with the hen that had been 29th Open in the Yearling Nat.
2002, 25th Friendship National with the Millennium Cock 22nd
Yearling Nat, 54th, 89th and 95th Open Penzance Y/B Nat. winning
the Irvine Trophy for the second time.
had to clock the Inland National from Skibbereen to achieve
his ambition as he was the only fancier to time in all the Nationals
up to the last race but as most of the readers know it was another
disappointment and this time he felt he would never achieve
this ambition that it just wasn’t meant to be.
The year 2003 began very badly for Leslie with a family bereavement
and not being able to get an interest, the pigeons were not
mated until the end of March. As the season progressed the birds
came into form and in the Yearling National he was 90th Open,
the Friendship National brought 11th Open.
kings Cup from Messac was next and when the Blue W/F hen returned
to finish 9th Open the dream was on again. The NIPA National
from Lamballe was very fast race but the birds were 111th, 115th
and 122nd Open, so the old bird season finished in style.
young birds were looking well but by mating at the end of March
there was the fear that they might be too immature for the channel
race from Penzance, but he needn’t have worried as 108th
Open was recorded. Only one race left and with two other fanciers
still in with a chance of winning the National Averages there
was little sleep in the final week. The Young Bird that had
been clocked in Penzance was timed again in Skibbereen and although
not in the prizes, meant that he had timed in all the National
races and was in with a good chance, but the pressure was still
on until Trevor Topping the Secretary of “The Irish National
Flying Club informed him he had won the averages and was now
National Champion for 2003.
ambition achieved. Most of the pigeons clocked in France over
the years have been from the Smyth Kenyons with a few from Geoff
Hunt pair and some from the cross of the two families. A few
birds have been tried over the years but these were mostly raced
and not introduced into his family of pigeons. The Young brd
clocked in the two Y/B Nationals of 2003 was from the Janssen
x Kenyon cross, the Janssen being a gift from his good friend
Billy Matthews of Dublin.
most of the Pigeon Fanciers in Northern Ireland know, Leslie
Woodside is a very quiet, honest man who lives for his pigeons
and is a credit to the sport. He would do anyone a good turn
and the Fancy in general would be pleased but surprised if he
was to win a National in the not so distant future.