Wanda Ings reminisces on career after taking the road less travelled to Bathurst

Wanda Ings. Photo: Racing Photography.

While preparing her team for the Bathurst Cup meeting next Sunday (September 26), local trainer Wanda Ings reflected on the path travelled from the New Zealand North Island to her present location at Bathurst in the New South Wales Central West tablelands.
Born at the village Te Kuiti, south of Hamilton in the Waikato, Wanda’s father was a butcher and her mother a grocery shop owner and they later moved to Auckland.
“I was mad keen about horses and from about twelve years of age I would rush from school to be around the Barney Meyer stables at Avondale , then the main track in Auckland,” Ings recalled.
“Barney Meyer was a wonderful horseman who bred Group 1 winners and any kids who showed interest he would take around the studs to see champion sires like Zamazaam and Sovereign Edition.
“From an early age he taught me how to ride in a racing pad and he was such a wonderful mentor as to caring properly for horses that all these years later I still follow  many of the ways he did things.”
A close associate of Barney Meyer was the great trainer Syd Brown who first ventured to Australia for the 1969 Melbourne spring carnival with three horses and won the Cox Plate and VRC  Derby with the champion Daryl’s Joy, the One Thousand Guineas with Woodcourt Inn and the Caulfield Stakes with Hamua.
Syd Brown later won the AJC Derby with Classic Mission, the Stradbroke Handicap and Epsom Handicap with Triton and finished second with Stormy Seas in the Caulfield Cup.
Before taking on a training career, Wanda Ings rode in races known as Bracelets for female riders, as women were barred from obtaining a jockey licence.
In some of those races Wanda rode against Linda Jones who became a trail blazer being the first female to receive a jockeys licence in New Zealand, as a 25 year old in 1977, the first female to ride a Derby winner, Holy Toledo Wellington Derby 1979 and the first female to win in Australia against male jockeys, Pay The Purple at Doomben 1979.
Linda Jones In 1990 was inducted in to the New Zealand Racing Hall Of Fame.
Wanda Ings also was a trail blazer, believed to be the youngest, at 21 years, to be granted a trainers licence in New Zealand after moving to Rotorua.
The venture was a success with numerous winners for the her stable however the lure of much higher prizemoney in Australia proved tempting and initially in 1987 and  again shortly after brought clients horses over from New Zealand.
Making a permanent move , Wanda was the foreman for Rosehill trainer Barry Lockwood and then a trainer at Canterbury and Newcastle.
When a client purchased a property at Pitt Town, Wanda moved to nearby Hawkesbury and with her first runners at the Provincial track had a winning double with Brothers and Capital Cee.
Raced by a loyal client, Michael Lee, Watson was a good performer for the Ings stable winning six races, at Wyong (3), Hawkesbury, Goulburn and Scone and included three in succession with Rodney Quinn in the saddle.
Rod Quinn and Jason Lee each won on Merconman while the Ings trained galloper also beat a field of 15 on a Saturday at Rosehill when ridden by Tye Angland.
Of all her many winners, Wanda Ings regards Two Towers as the favourite, attributing that horse as being “ responsible for our survival “ in the racing industry.
“Although Two Towers did not win a lot of races he was so honest and could be relied on to earn good prizemoney on a regular basis from placings in very good company,” Ings recalled.
Highly respected Sydney jockey Rodney Quinn (formerly from Nyngan) often rode Two Towers and according to the trainer “ loved the old horse”.
A winner over 2000 metres at Hawkesbury and Randwick for the Ings stable,Two Towers is however best remembered for numerous placings on Sydney tracks including in black type Listed races.
Over 2400 metres at Rosehill in 2009, Two Towers finished second in the Winter Cup (Listed) to Niwot, a Sydney Cup winner and 8th of 23 in the Melbourne Cup after winning the Group 3 Lexus at Flemington.
The following year Two Towers ran fourth in the Winter Cup and second in the 2400 metres McKell Cup (Listed) at Rosehill and tested over the Melbourne Cup distance of 3200 metres came from 10th on the home turn when 5th in the Stayers Cup at Rosehill.
During a 55 start career, Two Towers earned $199,500 prize money and at 18 years of age lives in contented retirement at Bathurst with the Ings family.
In August 2019, Wanda Ings moved to Bathurst and now has 24 horses in work at the Tyers Park Racecourse.
“Initial doubts about whether it was a backward step moving to the country after being a city and provincial trainer have been completely unfounded,” Ings said.
“The Bathurst Club has been great to deal with, the horses love the environment, there are races to suit all classes of horses at tracks that are not too far away and there is great atmosphere and fun still to be had at race meetings in the country areas.
“When our 17-year-old trackwork rider Will Stanley, at his first race ride, won the Maiden Handicap on our horse Dot The Eye at Bedgerabong Picnics he received a great reception and a bit later when he won the Bedgerabong Picnic Cup on the Bryan Dixon, Gilgandra trained Song One the crowd cheered like he had just won the Melbourne Cup”. 
Ricky Blewitt, the multiple premiership winning Picnic jockey has a big opinion of the well-mannered and likeable Will Stanley and predicts he would quickly become the leading apprentice if he joins the professional ranks.
Wanda Ings has two daughters who are very much involved in racing, Lindy Wharekura who has worked for leading trainers Peter and Paul Snowden for 15 years and is a foreman at their Randwick stables and Chelsea Ings who is a professional jockey.
“Chelsea is the backbone of our Bathurst operation, she breaks in all the young horses  
and after trackwork gallops can tell me exactly how are each one is going”, Ings explained.
Despite being sidelined at times with serious injuries, Chelsea Ings has ridden 81 winners, at tracks over a wide area of the State.
According to Wanda Ings, the future looks very bright for all involved at Bathurst with a $3.5 million grant from the State government to be used for more on course stables. treadmills, horse walkers and reconfiguration of the course proper.
The Showcase meeting next Sunday will feature the 1800 metres Bathurst Cup and the $80,000 Panorama over 1300 metres which appeals as an ideal lead up race for the $1.3 million Kosciusko at Royal Randwick. 
For further information regarding the Bathurst Cup Showcase meeting, readers can click here.