Menzies making hay at Ayr

  • Last Updated: January 27 2014, 16:52 GMT

Rebecca Menzies remains a young trainer to watch as Ferdy Murphy's former assistant claimed her fifth career winner at Ayr.

Rebecca Menzies: A winner at Ayr
Rebecca Menzies: A winner at Ayr

This is Menzies' first season with a licence, and she is based at Foulrice Farm, the stable north of York where Peter Beaumont trained Gold Cup winner Jodami.

Chavoy is an ex-Murphy horse who started out well for his old trainer after arriving from France but loss of form saw him start off at 16/1 for the Download The BetVictor App Now Handicap Hurdle.

Menzies' usual jockey Tony Kelly, taking a useful 3lb from his top weight, brought Chavoy into contention over the last few flights and drove him five lengths clear.

"It's exciting, we've got a nice little bunch of horses," said Menzies. "It couldn't have gone better up until now. We're lucky the gallops have been kept open but we've a lot of good ground horses for the spring.

"I thought he might need the run again as he blew up at Wetherby. I knew he'd stay and the tongue-tie helped. We wanted to go over fences after this, but he just might stay over hurdles for the time being. He is a chaser, though. He's a lovely big horse."

Menzies says she is in talks about taking out a Flat licence as well.

Layla Joan ensured the large Irish raiding party would not leave Scotland empty-handed after her effortless victory in the BetVictor Merseyside Derby Red Card Refund Mares' Novices' Hurdle.

A number of stables in Ireland had made entries at the course, which survived a morning inspection, with Tony McCoy aboard Midnight Streaker for Benjamin Arthey.

She, though, was no match for the Gordon Elliott-trained former pointer Layla Joan (4/11 favourite), who was even more impressive than on her cosy Rules debut at Fairyhouse as she cantered three and a quarter lengths clear of Nosey Box in the hands of Jason Maguire.

"She's a grand mare and loves the soft ground," said Elliott. "Robert Widger had her as a pointer before she came to me. She'll probably win again, maybe over further, but she'll be staying small."

Lucy Alexander suffered a final-flight fall on her comeback from injury in the BetVictor Non-Runner Free Bet Cheltenham 2014 "National Hunt" Maiden Hurdle.

The first lady to become the champion conditional jockey fractured her jaw and chin when unseated at Newcastle on December 12 and she was in with a sniff of victory here before The Orange Rogue crashed through the last.

Happily, Alexander rose to her feet as Lucinda Russell's Final Assault (7/4) coasted to an easy win.

Brian Harding was on double form, starting off by driving the Willie Amos-trained Oil Burner well clear in the Non-Runner No Bet Championship Races At Cheltenham Handicap Chase, before helping out his old ally Nicky Richards with And The Man (7/2) who continued his Ayr love affair in the Back Of The Net At Handicap Chase.

"He's had three wins here so far, so we'll probably try bringing him back again," Richards told Racing UK.

There was another Scottish winner in the Cheltenham 2014 NRFB At Handicap Hurdle, this time Jim Goldie's 9/4 favourite Plus Jamais while the Phil Kirby-trained Ancient Times (100/30) landed the Come Play At Victor's Live Casino Handicap Hurdle.

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