Len Rix will be looking to the skies in the coming months as he aims to swoop for South Africa Million Dollar Pigeon Race glory.
As he has done for the past 16 years, Mildenhall-based fancier Rix has got involved in the event which sees competitors from around the world select their three best young birds to be sent over to Johannesburg, South Africa, where they are reared from the winter race competition.
Each entrant selects their first choice pigeon, with the remaining two acting as reserves for the series which includes five races, between December and January, with the chance to win a car for the winner of each, before the showcase final on February 6, a race which sees the remaining birds (not lost), undertake a 350-mile trip with the first home earning their handler a £120,000 windfall.
And for the 79-year-old, whose first choice Amazing Gracie enjoyed a promising start to the season, finishing 22nd out of 3412 birds in the first of two warm-up races in preparation for the start of the series in December, is just praying his birds are still among the final 2,000-odd (from 6,000) in contention come February.
“Amazing Gracie did well in the first pre-race which is a great sign but you never know what might happen,” he said.
“Usually around 2,000 birds make it through to the main race and so you just have to keep your fingers crossed and pray you have at least one bird left by then.”