Hawkesbury's Chelsea Ings is making every post a winner. The mature apprentice, indentured to her trainer mother Wanda, has now won at two of her six rides since returning to competition after taking a break for a few months.
Ings scored brilliantly on Ever So Natural at Port Macquarie last Saturday as the talented sprinter began another preparation aimed at a second crack at the Country Championships series. The $400,000 final will be run over 1400m at Royal Randwick on April 1 on the opening day of The Championships. Ever So Natural, with Damien Oliver aboard, ran third to Clearly Innocent in last year’s final.
Ings took a break after riding on the Beaumont track on October 1, and made an instant return when successful on Clemmensen for Coffs Harbour trainer Jim Jarvis at Grafton on January 29. She had two rides at that meeting – both for Jarvis – and Taree trainer Cliff Bashford also took advantage of her 3kg claim for Ever So Natural’s Port Macquarie return.
Carrying 61.5kg after the claim, Ever So Natural defied an astonishing betting drift to give his rivals a start and a beating in the Class 4 Handicap (1208m). Ings followed Bashford’s instructions to the letter, giving the five-year-old plenty of time to settle under his big weight.
After trailing the field to the home turn, she took Ever So Natural ($11) to the extreme outside and the gelding overpowered his rivals to beat roughies Capital Magic ($21) and The Spitfire ($51).
Ings had ridden Ever So Natural once previously when second to Lucky News at Taree in March last year, prior to him being placed in the Country Championships Final.
“Chelsea is very appreciative of two good trainers such as Jim (Jarvis) and Cliff (Bashford) giving her these opportunities,” Wanda Ings said this morning. “Hopefully, her results will bring her more opportunities from other trainers, especially with her claim.”
Ever So Natural was Ings’ third winner in this current season. Always prepared to travel to fulfil commitments, her first was on Snitsnbits at Inverell last August.
Bashford had given Ever So Natural two trials to ready him for a return, and his odds – nothwithstanding his huge impost – were indeed surprising considering he was narrowly beaten by French import Singing in a 1200m Open trial on Broadmeadow’s new course proper on January 25.
Bashford has skilfully planned another shot at the Country Championships, as Saturday’s Port Macquarie assignment was the gelding’s 19th start (horses are not eligible after 20 starts). Ever So Natural will contest the Mid North Coast Racing Association’s $150,000 Country Championships Qualifier to be run as a Class 5 at set weights over 1400m at the Showcase meeting at Taree on Sunday week.