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The Ingham (formerly Villiers) first run in 1892

December 9, 2022

The Ingham, previously the Villiers Stakes was first run in 1892.

The $2 million Group 2 race is run over the famous Royal Randwick mile (1600m) for three-year-olds and up. The winner is exempt from the ballot for the Doncaster Mile run at Royal Randwick on The Star Championships Day 1 (1 April).

Originally the Villiers Stakes was probably named for the Governor of NSW at the time, The Earl of Jersey, Victor Albert George Child Villiers. He was appointed to the Governorship in 1890, holding the role until 1893. He spoke in support of Federation and was principal banker for Child & Co.

The name change to The Ingham recognises the contribution of the Ingham family to racing. Brothers Jack and Bob Ingham inherited not just the chicken enterprise from their father but also the broodmare Valiant Rose. This started their success as thoroughbred owners and breeders, with Crown Lodge stables and Woodlands Stud becoming a by-word for thoroughbred winners.

Their all pink (cerise) colours were carried to victory in many races by champions including Octagonal and Lonhro. They had a particular connection to the Golden Slipper, winning the race 7 times. First with Sweet Embrace in 1967. John’s Hope in 1972 followed, and then in 1987 they were the part-owners of the first three placegetters – Marauding, Lygon Arms, and Boasting. Star Watch in 1988, Burst in 1992 with Newhaven Park. Then Guineas raced for the Woodland Stud syndicate in 1997, Prowl (part-owned by Newhaven Park) in 1998, and finally with Forensics.

The brothers worked with trainers such as John Hawkes and Peter Snowden who remembered them as mentors. They were also prominent on the boards of the Sydney Turf Club and the Australian Jockey Club, and Bob was recognised as a life member of the ATC.

When Jack Ingham passed away in 2003, Sheikh Mohammed took on their famed Woodlands Stud. The brothers were inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2004. Later the bloodstock operation was sold to Darley Stud, now the Godolphin brand.

The Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research is another great legacy that Bob and Jack Ingham have helped create. Find out more here.

Key moments in history: 

  • Peter Cook won the Villiers in 1969 on Sir To Me as an apprentice. As a senior jockey, he won the race again in 1980 this time aboard Tuna Too (NZ).
  • William (or Billy as he was known) Cook, Peter’s father) won the Villiers aboard Riverton in 1942. Ten years later he won again on Carioca. As a jockey Billy amassed over 2000 winners in Australia and overseas, including two Melbourne Cups.
  • Duggan had two wins in the Villiers, both as an apprentice. First on Silver Points (NZ) in 1970 and next on Torumba (1972).
  • Brenton Avdulla enhanced his apprenticeship with a win in the Villiers in 2010 on Dances On Waves. On reaching the ranks of senior jockey, Avdulla added to his Villiers tally when he won in 2015 aboard Happy Clapper.
  • Rachel King is a dual winner in the Villiers. She came out of her apprenticeship in 2018 having topped the apprentice premiership the previous season. King would have her first major win in the Spring Champion Stakes aboard Maid Of Heaven for Mark Newnham. She teamed up with Newnham again to win the Villiers on Quackerjack in 2019 and then again the next year the pair won with Greysful Glamour.
  • Trainer Helen Page won the Villiers in 1989 with Spot The Rock. It was the Brisbane based trainer’s first Group win. Page went on to have another win in the Villiers in 2014 with Rudy.
  • Jockey Ron Quinton, after his success in the saddle, has become a well-respected trainer. As a jockey in the Villiers, he had two wins. First on Dear John (NZ) in 1978 and then in 1981 on Zing Along. Quinton then trained Monton to the win in 2011.
  • Kevin Moses was another jockey who took out his trainer’s licence once he’d finished in the saddle. He’d won the Villiers as a jockey on King’s Ideal in 1979. Then in 2012 G. Schofield crossed the line for him aboard All Legal.

Race statistics

  • Dead heat – in 1964 Gay Song (NZ) and Blue Era (NZ) crossed the line with nothing between them.
  • Ike’s Dream held the mile record set in 2004 in the Villiers 1:33.13.
  • 27 mares have won the race.
  • 1 nine-year-old has won the race, Honor In War in 2008.
  • Equine Influenza brought racing to a halt in 2007. Amongst many other spring and summer races, the Villiers did not run that year. In 2008, however, it ran twice. In January, Honor In War (USA) was given the race, the first major Sydney race after EI. Takeover Target crossed first but ultimately lost on protest. The Villiers ran again in 2008 in its usual December slot. Something Anything won narrowly with C. Munce aboard.
  • Run over the famous Randwick mile, the Villiers can be connected to some of the other major mile races, though wins across the mile races are rare. Happy Clapper achieved an unusual treble. He won the Villiers in 2015 and went on to manage the Doncaster and the Epsom in succeeding years.

Key winners

  • Cetigne (1917)
  • Rimveil (1940) – also started in 1941 coming in third.
  • Bernborough (1945)
  • Carioca (1952)
  • Baystone (Melbourne Cup winner) missed out on the win in 1956. Empire Link with jockey Neville Sellwood aboard won a short neck from Compound, with Baystone in third.
  • Rising Prince (1984)
  • Soho Square (1992) – Pharaoh (NZ) missed out on the Villiers to Soho Square. He started again in 1993 but finished third.
  • Happy Clapper (2015)

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