"He's been a real heavyweight in my career in terms of support and the opportunities he's given me and I'm honored and grateful to have shared part of his life."
Jack Ingham, who with his brother, Bob, comprised the leading entity among Australian Thoroughbred owners and breeders, died today, the Australian Associated Press reported. He was 74.When their father, Walter, died 50 years ago, the brothers were left with a poultry business and a Thoroughbred. They built Ingham Enterprises into a business that today produces more than a third of the country's poultry, employs more than 6,000, and has assets of nearly $1 billion. The money from that business allowed them to explore their true passion, horses.In 1967, Sweet Embrace won the Golden Slipper and it took nearly 30 years for Jack Ingham to say she was replaced as his favorite. That happened when Octagonal came along.The winner of the Cox Plate in the spring of 1995, Octagonal came back the following year to win a four group I races in less than a month, culminating in the AJC Australian Derby.Octagonal's success came just a couple of years after the Inghams made the inspired decision to retain John Hawkes as their private trainer, a move that coincided with the establishment of stables in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide in addition to the state-of-the-art Crown Lodge at Warwick Farm in Sydney's southwest. In the 10 years Hawkes has been training for the Inghams, he has prepared almost 60 group I winners and set earnings records enabling the brothers to realize their dream of establishing the biggest and best Thoroughbred operation in the country.Darren Beadman rode their best horse Octagonal to memorable victories in the mid-1990s and in the past year has been on Octagonal's son Lonhro, the winner of a host of group I races."It's really tough losing someone you love and someone who has been a good friend and supporter," Beadman said.