They're both well travelled – and they made a winning team at Kempsey on Tuesday.
Hawkesbury apprentice Chelsea Ings continued her good Christmas/New Year form by winning the Summer Stayers’ Handicap (1900m) on eight-year-old Evangelist, who began his career in England and has raced in four Australian states for several trainers.
Ings, 23, is enjoying the best season of her career and posted her 17th success since August 1 and her 40th overall. And she showed on Tuesday with a clever ride that she is learning all the time as she gains more experience honing her skills on country tracks.
Ings scored at Wellington on Boxing Day on Smart Attire, then Epic Decision at Inverell on New Year’s Day and Dizzy Spell at last Sunday’s Gilgandra Cup meeting. She rode Evangelist at the Inverell Cup meeting last week when third to Devlann in a Benchmark 65 Handicap (1600m), and afterwards told the gelding’s Armidale trainer Lea Selby that she would have ridden him differently if given the opportunity to have been on him previously.
Selby sent Ings a tape of Evangelist’s victory in the Picnic Cup (1600m) at Gosford on December 16, and the young jockey watched it intently and took notice. After settling last in yesterday’s race, Ings took off on Evangelist ($3.60) at the 1000m, and had the lead approaching the 800m.
Thereafter, horse and rider were never threatened. Evangelist scored comfortably from Push The Sky Away ($3.70) and $3.30 favorite, the Inverell Cup winner Loud Enough.
“I didn’t need to give Chelsea instructions today once she had seen the tape of his Gosford win,” Selby said. “I can’t say enough about Chelsea; that was a lovely ride.”
Ings said Evangelist wasn’t a sit and sprint horse, hence her decision to “get rolling” at the 1000m and make the others chase. Ings is apprenticed to her mother, Hawkesbury trainer Wanda, who understandably is very proud of her daughter’s progress.
“Chelsea is having a great season and is enjoying all the travelling she is doing to ride at the various bush meetings,” she said. “Her apprenticeship is due to end in August, but we may approach Racing NSW Stewards to see if we can gain an extension.”
Armidale-trained Evangelist is a son of Oasis Dream, who beat dual Royal Ascot winner Choisir in the July Cup (1200m) at Newmarket in 2003. He won at his first Australian start at Rosehill Gardens in July 2014 for leading South Australian trainer Tony McEvoy.
Meanwhile, Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup will saddle his first runner in a $2m race, at the Gold Coast on Saturday. Widdup, who has been training for less than 12 months, will be represented by Witherspoon in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m).
The Exceed and Excel filly has drawn barrier 12 in a capacity field of 16 plus five emergencies. She will be ridden by Corey Brown, who has partnered her in recent third placings at Doomben in the Listed Calaway Gal (1110m) on December 16 and Group 3 B.J. McLachlan Stakes (1200m) a fortnight later. Witherspoon, raced by a women’s syndicate, has started only three times to date.
Hawkesbury will stage an additional set of barrier trials on Tuesday, January 30 to assist trainers preparing autumn carnival candidates.