Shayleigh Ingelse won the second Country Cup of her career and the first for her new boss, Michael Mulholland, as Sea of Flames held on for a gutsy win in Sunday’s Gilgandra Cup (1600m).
It was an exciting race, with the Kieren Hazelton-trained Not Too Bad (Clayton Gallagher, $3.20) leading them up in the $50,000 feature before the Clint Lundholm-trained Macchina Volante (Ron Simpson, $7) took the race to him.
Ingelse was trailing the leaders before unleashing a strong run on Sea of Flames before the home straight, and with a furlong remaining, the pair led.
From there, the two-kilogram claiming apprentice got everything out of the five-year-old as they held off the fast-finishing stablemate Athena’s Lad (Nick Heywood, $7) by a long neck and in third and one and a half lengths away was the Kieren Hazelton-trained Turgenev (Jake Pracey-Holmes, $4.60).
“We had a massive weight drop on the stablemate, and I wanted the race to pan out like it did,” Ingelse told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.
“The leader was the other horse to beat, and when I saw him starting to tire, I thought, ‘I can pretty much ride him like a four-kilo claimer’.
“I knew he (Athena’s Lad) would be running me down late, and it was a good run, but I’m not sure it handled the track as well as us.”
Sea of Flames has been a good, consistent galloper for Mulholland and connections, with the $5000 Inglis Digital purchase now a six-time winner, earning his owners almost $150,000.
“On Sunday, he really showed up,” Ingelse said.
“He’s had a few niggling issues and sometimes doesn’t show up, and his last prep, he had a lot of bad luck stories but ran a nice first-up in the Warren Sprint, and I knew he was in for a good prep.
“He was probably outgraded and a little unlucky at his last two starts, but Mick knows how to get them ready, especially for meetings like this that he targets.”
Ingelse was thrilled to bring up the feature win on Sea of Flames for her new stable, with the Dubbo-based apprentice loving life at the moment.
“Mick has won a few of them, and just recently, I’ve become his apprentice, and it’s good to team up with him and get him another cup,” Ingelse said.
“I am happy, and I’ve really settled in. Mick and the team are great, and it is a really good work environment.
“It’s a positive environment, and they want to see me succeed, and they will sit down and go through things with me.
“Plus, if I have a bad run, they help push me through that, and it has opened up a few outside avenues with Brett Robb across the road and with Mick Lunn, so it’s a good place.”
Unfortunately, Ingelse was issued a four-meeting suspension for careless riding on the Gilgandra Cup winner and won’t get to partner with the Pluck gelding in the upcoming Cowra Cup.
“Unfortunately, I was given a suspension for the ride, but Athena’s Lad is the pick of them for the Cowra Cup,” Ingelse said.
“Mick does such a good job when he specifically sets these horses for these races; he is a freak at it, and if he says a horse will be ready, it will be.”
On a big day at Gilgandra, it was another stable quinella in the Gilgandra Town Plate, with the Clint Lundholm-trained Beauchamp (Jake Pracey-Holmes, $2.80) defeating stablemate Raging Rush (Ron Simpson, $2) in a tight photo finish.
Apprentice Braith Nock pinched the jockey’s honours on the day, winning four races on the eight-race showcase program.