Kirwan’s Lane (NZ) Heads Karaka Trifecta in The Ingham

12 December 2022

Kirwan's Lane (NZ) heads a Karaka trifecta in the G2 Ingham Hcp (1600m).

The former Group Two Villiers Stakes (1600m) has been transformed in 2022, renamed The Ingham and having its prizemoney more than doubled to A$2 million. Saturday’s inaugural running at Randwick was dominated by Karaka graduates, with Kirwan’s Lane (NZ) (Charm Spirit) heading a clean sweep of the top three placings.

Bought by trainer John O’Shea for $170,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2018, Kirwan’s Lane has earned more than 10 times that amount in prizemoney. His 38-start career has produced 11 wins, eight placings and A$1,823,475.

Kirwan’s Lane had previously scored black-type victories in the Group Three Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) and Listed Ladies’ Day Cup (1600m), but this was on another level – coming up against a capacity field of high-quality milers.

The six-year-old rose to the occasion brilliantly, settling in fifth spot for jockey Brenton Avdulla before exploding into contention midway down the Randwick straight.

But his job wasn’t over yet – horses were lining up across the track to take their shot, including fast-finishing fellow Karaka graduates Lion’s Roar (NZ) (Contributer) and Atishu (NZ) (Savabeel) down the outside.

Kirwan’s Lane dug deep and defied them all, edging out his O’Shea-trained stablemate Lion’s Roar by a half-neck. Less than two lengths covered the first eight horses past the finish line.

“Kirwan’s Lane was one of the first horses I bought as a yearling, over in New Zealand, when I first came back training,” O’Shea said. “His record is unbelievable at a mile, and he’s a gun. He’s the winningest horse I’ve trained. My wife has got a share in him, so she will be pretty excited.

“A perfect ride by Brenton. We were so happy with him coming into the race, I just felt the 57 (kilograms) may be a bit much for him. That was the only issue I had with him, the ground was fine.

“We knew that Lion’s Roar was ready to run a big race too, so we were really happy with both horses. It’s a great honour for our team, and particularly to do this for Ron (Finemore) and his owners.”

Bred by Christopher Grace, Kirwan’s Lane is out of the Savabeel mare Galway (NZ), a full-sister to Group One winner Shillelagh (NZ) and stakes winners Tullamore (NZ) and Grazia (NZ). Kirwan’s Lane is himself a brother to Johny Johny (NZ) (Charm Spirit), who won at Listed level in New Zealand earlier this year.

Saturday’s runner-up Lion’s Roar was bought by Champion Thoroughbreds for $65,000 from Book 2 of Karaka 2019. He has banked over A$1.5m, winning four of his 18 starts headed by the Group One Randwick Guineas (1600m) as a three-year-old.

Third-placed Atishu was a $260,000 purchase by syndicators Go Racing from Book 1 of Karaka 2019. She has had 28 starts for seven wins, nine placings and A$883,370 in stakes.

Vendor Little Avondale Stud
Purchaser John O’Shea Racing (New South Wales)
Breeding Charm Spirit – Galway
Sale Lot 226, Karaka 2018 Book 1, $170,000
Bred by C R Grace