Stormy Girl strikes to provide Rebecca Menzies with first Listed success

Fri 14 Aug 2020

Rebecca Menzies broke new ground at Pontefract when Stormy Girl provided her with a first Listed winner in the EBF Highfield Farm Flying Fillies’ Stakes.

Menzies cut her teeth in the National Hunt game but is well and truly established as a dual-purpose handler nowadays.

She was sent Stormy Girl by owners Mike and Eileen Newbould in the off season, and the filly ran a blinder first time out when just over a length behind Liberty Beach at Haydock.

A good run over seven furlongs followed – but she was well beaten last time out at York, which meant she went off a 22-1 chance.

Bounced out of the stalls by Cam Hardie, she never saw another rival and beat Jouska by a length and a quarter.

“We were so fortunate to be sent this horse, and she is obviously by far the best I’ve ever had,” said Menzies.

“Her first two runs for me at Haydock were very good – she was only a length and a quarter behind Liberty Beach. But when she disappointed at York we scoped her, and a lot of our horses weren’t quite right – she was quite sick.

“She was at her best today and is a very good filly. Mike and Eileen have been talking of sending her to France later in the year. She’s in a Group Three in Ireland – but with the restrictions, we’re not sure how that will pan out.

“She’s different to anything I’ve ever had. Nathan Moscrop (National Hunt jockey) rides her at home, because she’s very keen. She’s just class.

“Obviously she works on her own. We take her to Chris Grant’s gallop a bit, which is a steep hill, and she’s the only horse I’ve seen quicken up it. She’s very good.”

Hollie Doyle has made a flying start to her spell as retained jockey for owner Imad Al Sagar, and registered another success when Breath Of Joy (100-30 favourite) won the William Hill Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap.

Stiffer tasks may now await Amy Murphy’s filly, after she took her record to two from three this season.

“She’s a lovely filly. There was plenty of pace in the race – so while we wanted to make use of the good draw, we also let one come round us to give us a lead,” said Murphy.

“She was unlucky the last day when she was beaten by a filly (Afraid Of Nothing) rated 95 now. You can’t really fault her this season.

“She’s not an easy filly to deal with, but hopefully we can sneak some black type somewhere.”

Paul Midgley has enjoyed a good year with his two-year-olds and registered another winner when Ballintoy Harbour (7-2) ran out a ready winner of the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes.

Fourth on debut at Thirsk, she was far more professional on this occasion and came clear by two and a quarter lengths under Graham Lee.

Midgley said: “She’s a nice filly. She had a good first run and obviously has come on for that.

“Her work has always been good at home, and she’s just very straightforward.

“I’m hoping she’s a bit better than one for just nurseries.”

Midgley and Lee then doubled up when course specialist Mr Orange (5-1) came with his customary late run for his sixth Pontefract win in the second division of the six furlong handicap.

The first division went to Jedd O’Keeffe’s Dream Together (15-2) under a fine ride from Jack Garritty.

O’Keeffe said: “I was pleased with that.

“It was a very good ride by Jack – he decided not to chase the pace and just slot in behind. He wouldn’t have got home if he had, and I think that is what won us the race really.”

Ralph Beckett operates at a near 30 per cent strike-rate at the West Yorkshire course and improved his record further when Meu Amor (6-5 favourite) won the Trevor Woods Memorial Fillies’ Novice Stakes.

Fourth in a Goodwood maiden on debut that is beginning to work out well, she made no mistake under Rossa Ryan.

“She was very green at Goodwood, but that form has worked out really well,” said the winning jockey.

“She didn’t come down the hill well there and she didn’t handle it very well today, either.

“I thought she’d come on for her first run, though, and she’s a nice filly going the right way.”

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