This is Opie, formally known as TOMMYS SUPREME and now bearing the racing name NODUFF NEW YORK.
Opie arrived from Ireland on Remembrance Day 2022 and we all hope he will prove memorable for all the right reasons. He’d had no official trials either side of the water but a couple of unofficial spins at Cork suggested he would be a good class dog. He was given a period to settle in at Chris Fereday’s kennels and after the necessary paperwork was completed the intention was for him to trial in at Monmore with an immediate target of the Puppy Derby in 2023.
His sire, Belles Direction, had a very short racing career in Ireland before succumbing to injury. He recorded Shelbourne Park victories in 28.24 and 28.33 as a puppy.
Dam, Lapari Supreme, also broke the 29 second barrier at Eire Headquarters on many occasions with a personal best of 28.65.
An early four bend trial saw him pick up a soft tissue injury and so he had a further six week break during the worst of the West Midlands weather. Opie returned with an excellent sprint trial of 15.62, particularly good given that he looks more of a stayer than a sprinter. He followed that up with an even more impressive 28.78 off of a 4.52 sectional when he pulled away to the pick up. The splits emphasise it’s certainly not all about early pace!
The Puppy Derby might come a couple of weeks early for him given his interrupted preparation but we’d see what further progress he could make before the competition started. In the event he recorded a further improved 28.62 trial so we decided to enter him. What’s more he was accepted even though the event was double subscribed! That was the good news.
He drew trap 3 in the same heat as the recent Northern Puppy Derby winner which wasn’t ideal. He was 100/1 in the ante post market which was worth a few each way investments and we looked forward to the race. Unfortunately, on the race afternoon, Chris rang to say he had kennel sickness and Opie had to be withdrawn. The ante post wagers were also lost as a consequence – always a shame with a 100/1 shot which makes no discernable difference to the book. Opie would have to re-trial then it would be plan B…
So Plan B turned out to be a graded race for experience purposes then off to Sheffield for the Steel City Puppy Cup. The graded race didn’t go that well and on close examination of the video, Opie (having his first outing under lights) was jumping shadows! We accordingly ignored that run and off he went to Sheffield for a solo trial to get a time on the board. And a good one it was, stopping the clock in 29.08 for the 500m trip. That was sufficiently encouraging that he was entered in a one off open to get a further look at the track. He very nearly won, railing tightly and breaking the 29 second barrier in 28.97. Fingers were crossed for the competition draw but we weren’t in luck as he was given trap 3 in a hot heat. As feared, he turned immediately left out of the traps and put himself and the two dog out of the race. They then impeded each other again at the bend and that was that.
Plan C was to get some graded racing under his belt then to review options. An A2 victory from behind ensued followed by three blanks not getting a clear run and getting to far behind before running on. The opportunity of a six bend maiden then arose. Opie was baulked at the first bend and forced to check, dropping back to the rear. Each time he tried to make progress on the rail he found a dog in his way.
It was starting to become clear that he didn’t run the Monmore track all that well. We then found a puppy open at Sheffield over four bends – a track where he has run well each visit. He went off at 6/1 against an 8/13 favourite. He finally found his trapping boots, led all the way and held off the favourite in a very decent 28.93. It would be helpful to know if it was just Monmore he struggled with so a trial at Nottingham was arranged.
Opie’s first outing at Nottingham wasn’t a great success but in his second he came a good second to a very promising, expensive dog even though the time was similar to his first run there. Again, he didn’t seem as suited to Nottingham as he clearly is to Sheffield so it was thinking caps on again and the conclusion was a couple of graded efforts back at Monmore before a likely trip to look at the Towcester circuit. Two top grade six benders followed, the second of which was promising without being victorious but, on being put out in trap 1 in A3, Opie showed what he could do. He went off favourite, turned third, took it up at the last and went on to win in a fast 28.68.
After a lacklustre run in S1 and still not sure that he runs Monmore very well, we thought a change of scenery might suit Opie so he headed to Perry Barr for a trial with another of Chris Fereday’s better runners. The other, Ballygloss Magie, broke down early in the trial and Opie headed off into the distance on the way to a time in the low 28s. He, too, then slowed and Chris thought he had cramped only to find Opie standing on three legs at the pickup. He had recorded 29.13 despite running the last half of the trip with a broken stopper bone. We’ll have to see how he recovers but, chances are, it will mean yet another premature retirement. Very sad.
Noduff New York’s race videos in date order