What a Grand day

4.5.22. It’s been a good week in the Noduff kennel. As you know NODUFF GRAND (pictured) was disqualified (I would say harshly) at Monmore back in December and so he was transferred to Jim Reynolds and Donna Coney at Crayford with a view to hurdling. Wallace’s tuition has been rather mixed. Donna recounts how very good he consistently is on the gallops where he jumps boldly and fast. Handslips at the track were somewhat different when he frequently jumped the first hurdle very well only to swerve at the second. When given a full 380m trial he did exactly the same before pecking at the third obstacle and falling.

In the circumstances we elected for him to have the necessary three clearing trials so he could run on the flat. Many thanks to Jim for organising these as it is far from straightforward requiring three other dogs for each whose owners consent to being in a clearing trial. As it was, those trials all passed without incident although Wallace didn’t get a clear run in any of them as he tried to get to the rails from trap three.

His race debut finally arrived during the evening meeting on 3.5.22 which happened to be televised on RPGTV and with Donna appearing as analyst. It was just an A5 but this reflected Wallace’s modest trial times. On this occasion however he trapped well from the blue box recording a 3.59 sectional and was a couple of lengths clear going into the bend. From there he pulled further clear coming home strongly (as we knew he would) to win by 6.25 lengths in an impressive 23.45. Given that he is likely to be even better over 540m (as he stayed 480m well at Monmore) this was very encouraging and there seems to be plenty to work with. Let’s see what the grader thinks.

Jim and Donna are also keen not to give up entirely on the hurdling such was the quality he showed at times. It has therefore been agreed that we will go forward on a hybrid basis with Wallace running partly on the flat and also completing his hurdles schooling. This will also assist in keeping his mind on the job, not that he has ever done anything remotely wrong save on that fateful day in early December.

NODUFF JOKER was finding it hard to get a clear run and looked a little lost in his first four races at Monmore and there was no suggestion that he was about to repeat his 28.26 at Sheffield that led us to buy him. The penny finally dropped however when he was dropped to A8 company on the 25th of April. Rum wasn’t much better away but he showed great pace into the bend to rail neatly, draw level with the leaders by halfway then pull away to win by 4.5 lengths in 29.09 to record his maiden victory.

He followed up with a second victory on his next outing on 3.5.22. Rum trapped much more smartly bringing his sectional down to 4.49 which is decent for an A7. There were two very smart trappers in front of him, both returned 6/4 joint favourites. He was going so fast into the first bend that he had to check in behind one of them and was impeded. He regathered his composure and had caught the first one by halfway. He set off in pursuit of the other reeling her in on the run in. The time wasn’t quite so fast but the manner of victory was very pleasing and Rum could well have a career over six bends in due course in addition to having a good shout for the hat trick next week.

On the subject of six bends, NODUFF FLAMINGO qualified for 630m graded races a couple of outings ago in a modest 39.25. Raspberry ran extremely wide throughout and will surely take a tighter line in a race. She can only improve on that. Notably, she was still full of beans afterwards. Well, she has been rewarded with an S2 outing tomorrow, 5th May. Obviously we were hoping for an S3 and, on paper, she has no chance tomorrow but we are very much looking forward to seeing how she sees out the trip compared to the other stayers and how wide a course she takes from trap 6. Raspberry has won three of her last five outings and went down narrowly in A7 last time.

On the subject of tomorrow night, NODUFF EXCALIBUR runs again in a good quality A1. Jock opened his top grade account on 21st April in 28.57. He was very narrowly defeated last time out in 28.58 when he missed the start by half a stride and had to fight to get the lead at the bend. This lost him at least the half length by which he was beaten but he’s showing excellent consistency. Tomorrow’s race sees him take on last week’s victor again and another early paced type in two that will be seeking Jock’s ground. Again, he has a good shout if he can clear two early. Safe home as always.

NODUFF ARIA ran well in defeat yesterday in A5. Having no chance on paper against two fancied dogs downgraded from A4, Fred finished close up to them in third despite a troubled passage. He was miles clear of the remainder as reflected in his time of 29.13.

SUPREME ODIN continues to excel. Luigi has now won his last two in A4 and A3, the latter in 28.85 despite a rival getting past him at half way. Luigi came home strongly however and was pulling away at the line. That was his fourteenth graded win at Monmore and he won’t be without a chance seeking his hat trick in A2 if he can repeat the 4.40 sectional – his second career fastest.

NODUFF HACIENDA has had two A1s since winning his A2 impressively in 28.66. He missed the break latest and did well to finish third. In the likely absence of a graded run this week, Ridley has been entered for an open on Saturday evening. It may well be only a matter of time until he and Jock are rostered to meet in A1 in which they would both want the red box!

MUSTANG HIGHWAY ran in a very decent sprint last week, doing well to finish second after considerable first bend trouble. The winner of that contest looks likely to be contesting open sprints from now on. Wilson has another tough looking sprint contest later today but his latest return of 15.69 despite the trouble suggests he is not without a chance.

Today also sees the return to competitive action of everyone’s favourite CHASING LANDY. Cooper has had a couple of weeks off to recover from a muscle niggle which was clearly hampering his performance. He’ll likely take a couple of runs to get anywhere near back to his best.

NODUFF KLONDIKE is now qualified to run in graded races but we have held Jake back for a time while we have some blood tests undertaken. He ran with really great promise in trials but loses weight too readily and we need to see if there is an underlying condition we can deal with.

Meanwhile the three remaining girls, NODUFF BELLAGIO, NODUFF DUNES and NODUFF IMPERIAL remain on seasonal rest.