Chelsea Ings has the wind in her saddle. The 22-year-old Hawkesbury apprentice went bush at the weekend and returned home last night with her first double at a TAB meeting.
Her successes at Dubbo on Sunday abord Fairy Shadow and Epic Decision not only provided her with a career highlight, but it was also her second double on consecutive weekends.
Left: Apprentice Chelsea Ings - riding in great touch. Image by - Bradley Photographers
Ings’s “have saddle will travel” attitude is starting to bear fruit. She has ridden five winners in the last three weeks, lifting her tally to 17.
“Only three more to go, and my country allowance will reduce from 3kg to 2kg,” Ings said this morning. “Things are going really well at present, and I’m very thankful to the country trainers who have been giving me these opportunities in recent weeks.
“I’m also tremendously appreciative of my Mum, who is my greatest supporter, and regularly travels with me to the country meetings.”
Ings’s winning spree began at Nyngan on Anzac Day (April 25) when she scored at the non-TAB meeting on Laugher for local trainer Rodney Robb. That was followed by a double last Saturday week at another non-TAB fixture at Cobar on Leroska and Fairisle Miss for Mudgee trainer Brett Thompson. Her victory on Fairisle Miss in the Cobar Cup (1700m) was her first trophy triumph.
Ings left Hawkesbury with her mother Wanda (to whom she is indentured) on Saturday morning for one ride at the Coonamble TAB meeting. She answered a call from Thompson to ride Fairisle Miss’ stablemate Emilion Storm, who started at $81 and finished down the track in a Class 1 Handicap (1300m).
Rather than return home, mother and daughter then travelled to Dubbo and stayed overnight prior to yesterday’s TAB program there. It was worth it.
Ings won the Maiden Plate (1400m) for Peter Stanley on Fairy Shadow ($12), who broke through at her 17th start after three previous minor placings. She then clinched a breakthrough TAB meeting double by winning the last race, the Class 1 Handicap (1000m), overcoming a wide barrier on Epic Decision ($5) for Gunnedah trainer Gavin Groth.
Ironically, her double came at the expense of Hawkesbury-trained Azcannyaz ($7), who was runner-up in a tight finish. Ings was initially scheduled to complete her apprenticeship on August 1, but has been able to get a sizeable extension.
“Because of injuries and some other time out of the saddle, I will be able to ride after August for a further 18 months as an apprentice,” she explained.
Ings’s good run has brought her more opportunities, and she will be on the road again later this week: “I will be riding at Gunnedah (TAB) on Thursday, Young (non-TAB) on Saturday and the Parkes Cup (TAB meeting) on Sunday,” she said.