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Monday, 12 November, 2018

Menzies hoping Halcyon Days will continue at Carlisle

Rebecca Menzies: has done well with Halcyon Days
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While it's comforting to see so many of the fellow elderly still training, prompting countless frustrating attempts to remember horses they once trained and races they once won, it's also interesting to see how the next lot are faring.

A flagship horse is helpful for newcomers and Halcyon Days has turned into an unlikely flagbearer for Rebecca Menzies, who worked her way up to be assistant to Ferdy Murphy before he went off to France four years ago.

Menzies, now 27, took the plunge and started training from former Cheltenham Gold Cup winning trainer Peter Beaumont's Yorkshire yard.

Beaumont, if you are old enough and can remember, won the Gold Cup with the magnificent Jodami.

Menzies did well there and last summer moved to another former trainer's yard, that of John Wade in Durham.

Wade didn't win the Gold Cup but as an owner as well as trainer won a lot of races at Sedgefield where he was a major sponsor. Menzies has done even better at Wade's yard, with 15 winners over jumps so far this season and another four on the Flat.

She also boasts a very good website.

It's an impressive start because, like many new trainers, Menzies isn't blessed with high profile owners or expensive horses but with the usual assortment of challenges (the horses, although owners can be even trickier).

As a yearling, no one wanted Halcyon Days, who was led out of the Doncaster sales ring unsold at £6,200, ended up with Menzies and failed to win 13 times in a row.

Then, last October, the seven-year-old broke his duck in a handicap chase at Ayr off a mark of 83 and proceeded to win four of his next seven races, most recently off a mark of 106. Who knows why?

Maybe he'd been reading "I Can And I Will" by Dale Carnegie; maybe he'd been doing extra exercises in his box; perhaps he'd been threatened with a ban on watching television.

The Cheltenham Festival remains an unlikely option but, raised another 2lb, the Racing UK Novices' Handicap Chase at Carlisle (3.35) may still be within Halcyon Days' reach.

He will certainly have a lasting place in Menzies' memory.

Menzies also has Falcos (3.00) and Tomkevi (4.05) running at Carlisle as well as the intriguingly named Lady Clitico (by Bushranger) at Wolverhampton (3.10).

The closing bumper race at Carlisle (4.35) sees the return of Rachael Green. The former point-to-point champion jockey returns on husband Anthony Honeyball's Nocturnal Myth.

Honeyball has a good record in bumpers but I've no idea how Nocturnal Myth will fare. You'll have to ask him or Green.

Having diligently considered all of Wednesday's racecards I have reached the conclusion that it is not a day to bet like a man or even a mouse but to settle down with the excellent Michael Frayn's also excellent My Father's Fortune.

Frayn's father went racing sometimes, when he wasn't selling asbestos. Anyway, I think you'll enjoy it.

Maybe he'd been doing extra exercises in his box; perhaps he'd been threatened with a ban on watching television
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