Two more important figures were tonight inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame, in the "associates" section.

Robert Cooper Bagot, the first secretary of the Victorian Racing Club (VRC), and Woodlands Stud's Ingham Brothers were handed the amazing honour.

Bob Ingham was on hand at the Crown Palladium to be honoured on behalf of his family and late brother Jack.

Previous associate Hall of Fame members include The Thompson Family (Widden Stud), the Wootton Family, Theo Green, Bill Collins, Sir Chester Manifold, AB 'Banjo' Patterson and Sir Adrian Knox.

PROFILES OF THE ASSOCIATE INDUCTEES
(Provided by Racing Victoria)

ROBERT COOPER BAGOT

When the Victoria Racing Club was formed in 1864, it made the inspired choice of Robert  Bagot as its first Secretary. Bagot was to transform the fortunes of the Club, and to establish the Melbourne Cup as Australia’s premier horserace.

Bagot was born in Ireland in 1828, migrated to Australia in the 1840s, and established himself as a surveyor and civil engineer in Melbourne. His survey of the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1861 gave the oval the shape and dimensions it has today.

When appointed to his VRC post, Bagot set about rejuvenating Flemington. He realised that if the club was to prosper, the racecourse must provide amenities and facilities that would attract the racing public. The lawn area was renovated and beautified, a new grandstand seating 4,000 people was erected and ladies were encouraged to attend race meetings. The track was thoroughly overhauled, new stables constructed and improved facilities for the stewards and the press were introduced.

Perhaps even more importantly, Bagot was successful in lobbying the Victorian Government in support of the Melbourne Cup. In 1866 the Government declared Cup day a half-holiday for public servants and bank employees. In 1875 the Melbourne Cup was run for a first time on a Tuesday. Until that time the only public holiday in November was for the Prince of Wales’ birthday and the Cup was therefore run on that day. Soon thereafter the association with the Prince’s birthday was dropped and the first Tuesday in November became a general public holiday.

The success of Bagot’s administration was reflected in the enormous popularity that the Melbourne Cup quickly assumed. In 1865 the Cup attracted a crowd of 13,000. By 1873 this had risen to 63,000. And in 1880, 100,000 made the journey to Flemington.

Robert Bagot remained Secretary of the VRC until his death in 1881. His name is commemorated in the Handicap run each New Year’s Day at Flemington.

JACK AND BOB INGHAM

Jack and Bob Ingham inherited a small chicken enterprise in 1960 and turned it into a great business empire. Their partnership as thoroughbred owners and breeders took the same path.

When the Inghams’ father died he left his sons a broodmare Valiant Rose. From that small beginning the brothers’ Woodlands Stud has became one of the finest thoroughbred nurseries in the world. The two Woodlands properties will be home this year to 10 stallions including Canny Lad, Lonhro and Octagonal, 280 foals from Ingham-owned mares, and 236 yearlings from last year’s crop. To date Woodlands has bred 35 Group 1 winners and 120 individual stake winners.

Across the four Ingham stables in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, there are at all times more than 200 horses in work. A further 300 horses are either in pre-training or spelling.

Supervising this empire is trainer John Hawkes who has achieved superb results since his appointment to Crown Lodge in 1993. Prizemoney regularly exceeds $10 million each season. Since the beginning of their careers as owners, the Inghams’ stable has won over 70 Group 1 races.

When Jack Ingham passed away in 2003 the question was raised as to the future of the business. Bob Ingham’s reply was swift: “Business as usual”.

© Cyberhorse 2016 Greg Irvine Published 20/05/04