Wetherby win proves Return Ticket for Rebecca Menzies

Rebecca Menzies reflected on a “dream” result after Return Ticket came out on top in a thrilling Peter Beaumont Memorial Handicap Chase at Wetherby.

Return Ticket riden by Henry Brooke wins the Peter Beaumont Memorial Handicap Chase at the first National hunt meeting of the season at Wetherby Racecourse. Pictures: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Menzies became Britain’s youngest trainer when taking over Beaumont’s North Yorkshire yard at the age of 24 in 2013.

Eight years on, the former assistant to the late Ferdy Murphy is now based at Howe Hills stables in Durham, which she rents from another former trainer in John Wade.

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Already a three-time winner over fences, the Wade-owned Return Ticket was a 4-1 shot to strike gold in a race named in the memory of Gold Cup-winning trainer Beaumont, who died in March of last year at the age of 85.

The first meeting of the season at Wetherby Racecourse. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Ridden by Henry Brooke, the eight-year-old had to dig deep on the run-in to get the better of a titanic tussle with 11-8 favourite Prince Escalus by a short head.

“It’s like a dream really – winning the Peter Beaumont race for John Wade. It couldn’t have worked out any better,” said Menzies.

“I kind of thought this horse might need the run as every year his first run of the season has been disappointing.

“But he’s loved the fast ground and he’s an enthusiastic jumper. He’s a lovely horse.”

Flight Deck riden by Jonjo O'Neill Jr wins the The Bridges Modular New Entrance Building Handicap Hurdle Race. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

Phil Kirby is excited to see how far Whoshotthesheriff can go this season following a comeback success in the Bobby Renton Handicap Chase.

No stranger to getting his head in front over hurdles, the Hambleton Racing-owned gelding made a smooth transition to the larger obstacles last season with chase victories at Carlisle and Catterick.

He failed to land a telling blow behind the high-class Allmankind when last seen contesting the Future Champion Novices’ Chase at Ayr in April.

But reverting to handicap company for his reappearance, Whoshotthesheriff proved his worth – producing a huge leap at the final fence before knuckling down to get the better of Gaelik Coast by a head in the hands Sean Quinlan.

Rebecca Menzies trainer of Return Ticket which won the Peter Beaumont Memorial Handicap Chase. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Kirby said: “He’s a gorgeous horse – I just wish I had another 20 like him! He’s always been good. He’s just got to make that next step up now really. I think he’ll get three miles in time. He’s a lovely type of horse with plenty of class about him.”

The Mark Walford-trained Battle Angel (15-2) made a successful start to her jumping career in the Olicana Park ‘Dingham Dash’ Juvenile Hurdle.

Pay The Piper enjoyed a solo spin in the Mary Lofthouse Supporting Spinal Research Novices’ Chase.

Glencassley (1-7 favourite) notched his second Wetherby win in the Micky Hammond “Back On Track” Novices’ Hurdle for Jamie Snowden and Brian Hughes, while Jonjo O’Neill senior and junior teamed up to land the Bridges Modular New Entrance Building Handicap Hurdle with 9-4 favourite Flight Deck.

Takeit Easy (3-1) landed the concluding Watch Racing TV Anywhere Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle for Pam Sly and Paul O’Brien.