Best On Breeding

Mark Smith - Thursday September 24

It is the end of an era with the sad passing of Bob Ingham who, along with his late brother Jack, built a racing and breeding operation that had no equal in Australia.

No doubt the champion Octagonal and his charismatic son Lonhro will resonate with fans among the greats to carry the all cerise.

for 23 years Peter Flynn greeted visitors as the manager of Woodlands Stud (Mark Smith)

Back in the formative years, Bob was known as the standardbred man and Jack the thoroughbred devotee.

Two of the best fillies the Ingham’s had in the nineteen sixties was the Gimcrack stakes winner Port Joy and her Golden Slipper winning sister Sweet Embrace.  

Port Joy was sent to New Zealand to be covered by the great Alcimedes (GB) and was accompanied on the trip by a pacing mare that was due to visit a standardbred stallion.

Somewhere along the line, there was a mix-up and Port Joy was sent to the pacer. She was no snob and the union was consummated. The pacing mare was, however, not so enamoured by Alcimedes.

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The A team at the sales

When the mistake was found, Port Joy’s pregnancy was terminated and she did eventually have a filly by Alcimedes, appropriately named Fortunate Lass.

It would be great to end on a positive note but sadly Fortunate Lass may have been just as quick had she been by the pacer. She finished closer to last than first in seven starts.

Port Joy did have one top-class colt in the flying grey son of Royal Yacht, Royal Britannia, who won the Silver Slipper Stakes and Black Opal Stakes.  

Many thought that Woodlands Stud would be wound up on the death of Jack Ingham in 2003.

However, Bob kept the business thriving until Sheikh Mohammed came knocking in 2008 with an offer too good to refuse.

That led to a cashed-up Bob Ingham heading to the 2008 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

These were heady days and this sale was almost surreal.

Sitting between Chris Waller and Lloyd Williams, Bob Ingham splashed out over $18m at the 2008 Easter Yearling Sale (Mark Smith)

Bob Ingham was front and centre. Alongside his old mate Lloyd Williams and trainer Chris Waller, Ingham splashed out over 18 million on 24 lots with seven of them making north of $1 million.

Half the number were by Encosta de Lago, which included the second-highest priced paid, $1.5 million for a filly out of the triple Group 1 winner Special Harmony (Spinning World).

12 of the 24 purchases by Bob Ingham at Easter were by Encosta de Lago (Mark Smith)

Named, Little Surfer Girl she returned over $420,000 with seven wins highlighted by the Listed ATC Angst Quality Handicap, Civic Stakes and Reginald Allen Quality Handicap.

Little Surfer Girl has not set the world on fire as a broodmare. The best of her first five foals is the 4yo Al Maher mare Dancing Gidget who will carry Ingham Racing’s all-cerise in the final race over 1400m at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

The Chris Waller-trained mare has been in fine form winning four of her past five starts but she faces formidable competition from the highly touted Masked Crusader whose co-trainer John Hawkes can claim his rightful place in the success of the Ingham’s Crown Lodge operation.

Win lose or draw, I will be raising a glass to Bob Ingham after the last on Saturday.

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