When John Ingham heard about the the concept of a $10 million horse race he knew he had to be a part of it.
He and wife Fran have become a unique part of The Everest, the only people with shares in two slots – those of James Harron and Chris Waller racing.
Proud slot-holders: John and Fran Ingham.
“It was very different but racing needed that,” Ingham said. “When I first met with Racing NSW the details were still being worked out and you couldn’t imagine what it has become.
“I thought last year was amazing, it has just got bigger.
"We went to England for Royal Ascot this year and the people who knew us wanted to know all about the Everest and the slots.
“I'm so happy I’m involved.”
The Inghams have owned winners of big races around the country. Last year they had shared in the Melbourne Cup success of Rekindling. It topped off a great year after Redzel had won the Everest in Harron slot.
“I walked into Randwick on Everest day last year and I had never felt that – vibe – on a racecourse. It was a young, it was new, it was exciting,” Ingham said.
“I would have taken that away from the day but it went to another level when Redzel won it. You didn't know what to feel. You don't own the horse but you do.
“I don’t think I have ever been in a party like that before, those owners were so excited. It was a different feeling as the slot-holder but we enjoyed it.
“Everyone wants to win the Melbourne Cup as owner and a couple of months later we did. It’s traditional, the Everest is new.
"It might not be at the same level as the Cup but it is certainly already in the Grand Slam.”
The Harron syndicate, which had won a Golden Slipper with Capitalist, quickly signed on for an Everest slot, but Ingham had a second offer for a share in a slot from Chris Waller.
“We as a family race a lot of horses with him and Chris liked the Everest concept as well,” Ingham recalled. “Before I signed on with him, I had to declare a conflict of interest being a part of James’ slot.
"I would have been happy to sit out.
“But Chris and James were happy that I was just a shareholder and really the decision is made around me, so we ended up in the two slots.
“We get updates from both slots but they are not really competing as such because they have different strategies
“It means I have two horses to cheer on Saturday – Brave Smash and Vega Magic.”
Ingham is looking forward to getting to Randwick again on Saturday but will also keep an eye on Melbourne as he has Homesman running in the Caulfield Stakes.
"Hopefully we are celebrating an Everest win when he goes round," Ingham said. "I might not even get to see that race."
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