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Demaret – Marichal (Herquegies) continue their ride to the top of the extreme long distance rankings

15 Jan 2021

It is about a year ago that I used a title that many did raise their eyebrows namely ‘we haven’t seen everything yet from Grégory Demaret’ …..

With the results that were set then on provincial, national and international level we expected more a tiny improvement, more than a progression. When you’re climbing to the highest rankings it is getting more and more difficult and going back down is the most obvious way to go. 

But that is without taking the willpower from Grégory into account. An uncurbed willpower and perseverance coupled to a strong team of pigeons seems to be a formula that works and is giving results. 

Grégory Demaret becomes Demaret-Marichal

First things first…there is the name change. Where they raced until the past season on the name of Grégory himself, they changed it in 2020 to the tandem Demaret-Marichal. Thierry Marichal, since years the contact- and counsellor for Greg, was already active behind the scenes as adviser and deliverer of pigeons for the breeding loft. Thierry, who is sportive director of a cycling team, can’t make free time that is necessary to keep busy in a serious way with pigeon sport, has taken on within his time frame a big part of the breeding. It is a win-win situation, Thierry can test out his breeding pigeons at a strong racing fancier and Grégory can partly make use of the breeding source from Thierry and don’t have to keep busy too much with the breeders. Also in a matter of the sport itself and vision they are at the same pace. 

Staying on top of things

Towards the season we called each other now and then. Don’t call it discussing but feeling how we would or could prepare the extreme long distance in this Covid19-season. First there weren’t any races or program, then all of a sudden there were and it became a steaming program with more than one race in the weekends on the same day.

No evidence to prepare something like that well organised. It was clear that Greg took on the tactics ‘hold your horses’. As long as their was no clarity about when the program could be taken on, the horses (read pigeons) were being kept short. They did watch over the condition and base health and gave them a certain training intensity, but this was without exaggerating or getting into it full speed. The pigeons got their necessary vaccination (also a vaccination against parathypoid) but were being darkened as long as possible. And they also choose not to race the Rhone Valley races seen the heavy program.

Those who placed their focus on the short, middle and long distance needed to get their pigeons ready a bit earlier, the extreme long distance racers needed to wait even longer. And this is what Greg can do as one of the best, he can bite on his teeth when necessary and act like a sniper…and this patience was being rewarded very rich full. 

The darkening was stopped rather late and then the pigeons were being prepared for the bigger work. A lot of training races and middle distance kilometres were done to get the routine in them…and this seemed to work. The trainings intensity was being increased and their shape came at the exact right moment…and this resulted in results. 

Fireworks in Herquegies

Which made us glare last year and the years before at the results that were set, the season 2020 made it all vanish in nothing. Underneath an overview of the top results (top 100 national and international) on the extreme long distance races: 

  • 2nd national Narbonne yl 4.120b
  • 4th international Narbonne yl 8.492b
  • 5th national Barcelona 6.178b
  • 5th international Narbonne hens 6.837b
  • 6th national Narbonne old 4.454b
  • 8th international Narbonne old 12.848b
  • 9th international Agen hens 5.388b
  • 11th national Agen yl 5.955b
  • 14th international Agen yl 14.799b
  • 19th international Barcelona 12.315b
  • 19th national Narbonne yl 4.120b
  • 27th national  Sint Vincent old 3.038b
  • 32nd national Narbonne yl 4.120b
  • 35th international Narbonne yl 8.492b
  • 35th international Narbonne hens 6.837b
  • 44th national Sint Vincent old 3.038b
  • 47th national Narbonne old 4.454b
  • 48th national Narbonne old 4.454b
  • 59th national Perpignan old 2.643b
  • 64th national Agen old 5.140b
  • 74th national Pau old 2.919b
  • 76th national Agen old 5.140b
  • 77th international Narbonne old 12.848b
  • 79th international Narbonne old 12.848b
  • 81st international Agen old 15.271b
  • 96th international Sint Vincent old 6.073b
  • 98th international Narbonne old 12.848b

Shine on Narbonne and Barcelona

The outliers of the years are off course the 2nd National Narbonne year birds with a hen and the 5th National Barcelona on the very heavy edition of 2020. It is the first year that they raced hens and this as a test to see whether they could get head pigeons with this game. 

On Narbonne it was quasi a hit in the rose with a super yearling hen that almost took care of a stunt and was only beaten by the international winner from Yves Van De Walle out of the nearby village Mont de L’Enclus. 

But on Narbonne it was a true festival of pigeons that placed themselves in the top of the ranking. Narbonne is for Grégory the race of the races and loaded all his munition he had on this beautiful international race. 

Both with the year birds and with the old ones they raced 4 pigeons within the first 100 national or in other words 8 pigeons in the top 100 national. Impressive ! 

On the very heavy Barcelona it was ‘Matteo’ (BE16-1072511) who took care of the surprise and won the 5th national and the 19th international. This 4-year old cock came home after this very heavy race without any signs of exhaustion, a proof of the toughness of the pigeons from Grégory. 

Matteo didn’t get it from any strangers. His father is direct from the loft of Christian Demaret from Havre. Christian won two years ago the race out National Perpignan. The confirmation of the strength of this pigeons from Christian that are stooled on the Dutch long distance strains from Vanderwegen and Aarden. The mother is one out the own old strains from Gregory.

These pigeons set an unbelievable result…but these aren’t the only top pigeons on the lofts in Herquegies.  Next two cracks can’t be forgotten on the stage namely 

  • Le Boss BE17-1010556

This crack pigeons won in 2020

  • 3rd European Ace bird Extreme Long Distance 2020
  • 5th Ace bird KBDB Extreme Long Distance 2020
  • 6th National Narbonne 2020
  • 8th International Narbonne 2020
  • 64th National Agen 2020
  • 81st International Agen 2020


He has a 5-star origin. His father is a son ‘Brother Cas’ (De Smeyter-Restiaen, ‘Cas’ won 1st international Pau) coupled to a daughter to the famous ‘Zidane’ (Etienne Devos) via Patrick Vandeputte. Mother is the ‘Golden Hen’ or a crossing between cock Schreurs-Houben x Hen Carlier Petit.

  • Le 4h30 BE17-1010658

This one was able to assemble underneath palmaris :

  • 8th Ace bird KBDB Extreme Long Distance 2019
  • 1st Sint Vincent pigeon over the years 2019-2020
  • 18th National Sint Vincent 2019
  • 27th National Sint Vincent 2020
  • 4th National Pau 2019
  • 74th National Pau 2020

In his pedigree we find the base couple from Grégory namely ‘Le Rouge’ (Marcel Vandenabeele x Houfflijn Patrick & Dimitri) coupled to a top hen out of a crossing strain ‘Didi’ Etienne Devos x Marcel Aelbrecht.

This golden couple is to be found in almost all base breeders from Grégory and what they dropped on children and grandchildren on a national and international level is more than impressive: 

With the above mentioned results also a nice pack of top rankings were won (nevertheless Grégory regrets much the fact that he wasn’t able to win the total amount of points to win the national championship KBDB Extreme Long Distance…it stays his ultimate dream to win this title…) 

1st Ace bird Sint Vincent 2019-2020
1st Ace bird Union Brabançonne zware fond 2020
1st Ace bird Derby Hainaut zware fond 2020
2nd ranking 3 prizes extreme long distance 2020
3rd European Ace bird Extreme Long Distance 2020
5th Ace bird KBDB Extreme Long Distance 2020

A warned man is worth two !

We could fill a few more pages with a few top pigeons and results out of this extreme long distance colony, but we like to limit us to the tops of the past season. 

The ambition keeps on burning to make progress and to improve these results. This isn’t an evidence as the extreme long distance also brings in bigger risks on losses or disaster races. The selection remains extremely hard on the lofts in Herquegies. It isn’t a coincidence that there is a saying hanging on top of the door “vaincre ou mourir” (win or die). This Spartan selection separates the wheat from the chaff in an honest way.

The widow cocks proved and exceeded what they already had proven in the past. First they had a test session with the hens on the extreme long distance and also that was an unexpected success with a 2nd National Narbonne. 

Due to the cooperation with Thierry Marichal they got a new strain on breeding blood that also doesn’t know its equal within the long distance world namely this from top loft Joost Desmeyter.  The chance is big that this also will give a quality injection to this pigeon team. 

But be warned…a signal that isn’t that striking amongst the other results but is very meaning full towards the future. The year birds are being raced as a ‘father’ on chapels in an aviary. Goal is to get them as much as experience as possible to be able to shine as a 2-year old. On Brive national with the year birds they basketed 12 pigeons and these raced 12 prizes out of the 12 national starting with the 80th sport. Without any form of motivation these pigeons showed that they have it all to be able to take on the heavy work and this hopefully as from the season of 2021. 

A very promising signal towards next year. This quality coupled to the unbridled effort from Grégory will show many beautiful things in the future. In the meantime it is enjoying the marvellous results. 

A big congratulations on the extra ordinary season of 2020 from the Herbotsteam !

Geert Dhaenens