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Image: Steve Hart
Fangirl has broken a Group 1 drought for the Ingham family with her Vinery Stud Stakes success

Chris Waller might have won 135 Group 1 races, but he admits capturing his latest major with the Ingham-owned Fangirl is extra special.

Fangirl joined his list of elite race victors with a narrow decision over stablemate Hinged in the Vinery Stud Stakes (1850m) at Newcastle on Monday.

Sporting the Ingham family’s famous all-cerise colours, the filly took Waller back to his early days in Sydney when he was yet to train his first Group 1 winner and was approached by the late Bob Ingham, who put his faith in the then-fledgling horseman to train his team.

“They are very special (colours),” Waller said.

“They brought me to tears a few times, I have matured a little bit since the early days when they came to me without a Group One winner.”

That was in 2008 and Waller has gone on to be the dominant training force in Sydney.

Surprisingly, his Group 1 wins with the Inghams have been few and far between, with Japonisme’s 2015 Coolmore Stud Stakes victory the lone one he could recall before Fangirl’s Vinery heroics.

“Japonisme won a Coolmore, and this filly,” Waller said.

“There hasn’t been too many but a great family to train for and they’re back in the big time.”

Fangirl and stablemate Espiona were expected to be two of Waller’s autumn carnival stars after they ran the quinella in the Light Fingers Stakes.

But both have struggled on heavy tracks since, although Fangirl was able to handle Monday’s slow conditions well enough to bounce back from her last-start defeat as an odds-on favourite in the Phar Lap Stakes.

“Well deserved,” Waller said.

“It has been a tough autumn for so many of the horses, especially the fillies.”

Hugh Bowman on Fangirl ($6) stalked Hinged ($3.90) throughout and had a half-length to spare over her stablemate at the finish, with previously unbeaten Queenslander Gypsy Goddess ($3.80 fav) another 4-1/4 lengths away.

“It’s lovely to win a Group One in the all-cerise,” Bowman said.

“The Ingham family were obviously huge in racing since before I was around and of course they’ve been with Chris (Waller) and the team for so long.

“I’ve ridden so many wonderful horses for them, but I think this is actually the first Group One – Group One winner anyway.”

Gypsy Goddess remains a $4 favourite for the ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick next month with Fangirl and Hinged sharing the second line of betting as $6 chances.

 
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