A self-confessed “fitness freak”, Harri Ingram was dominating on the football field back home in Ballarat when he decided he wanted to be a jockey.
That was two years ago, and after making the move to Adelaide to pursue his dream, the 18-year-old is gearing up for his first race ride on Sunday at Penola.
“I didn’t really get into it until late. I was more interested in footy and motorbikes and that, but I had a change of heart late,” Ingram said.
“My aunty (Shay Keating) is a trainer back home and she gave me the idea when I got into it that Adelaide would be a really good place to get started, so I got in contact with a few people over here and they encouraged the move as well.”
Ingram initially moved over with his mum before the rest of the family followed. He’s worked hard to shed the bulk he put on as a football player.
“Back home I was interested in footy and I really wanted to see how far I could go with footy so I actually started getting really big and strong trying to pursue footy.
“Obviously had a change of heart late and you want the opposite for riding horses, so I ran into a bit of a sticky situation there but I got onto a few people to help me out and I got my weight down quite low. I got it down to around 53kg back home and then I shot back up in height and a little bit more weight came on then,” Ingram said.
“But I really love what I do so I’m willing to work quite hard to stay in and get all these opportunities. I’m a bit of a fitness fanatic anyway so I do enjoy it, but at the end of the day I look back and wouldn’t change a thing now.”
Losing the bulk has been a gradual process for Ingram. He’s started swimming and boxing, and jogs regularly which is as much about clearing his head, as it is for staying lean.
After getting to know Briony Moore and Dean Pettit through Racing SA’s Track Rider Professional Development Program, Ingram progressed to the Apprentice Academy in August 2022.
“Once that button flicked in me that horses was what I wanted to do, I’ve got all the time in the day for them. I really like working close with them. Just getting to know their little quirks and how to work around them, and at the end of the day when you really work with a horse and you get it going calmly it’s really rewarding,” he said.
Ingram grew up on the family farm with horses and was taught to ride by his pop – trainer Daryl Brown. His natural affinity has impressed his Morphettville Master, Travis Doudle.
“He’s a lovely relaxed rider, I think that he takes that into his track work and his trials he really tries to get the best out of his horses. He tries to understand them a little bit deeper and just that extra time that he spends with the horse is really important, and I think that’s going to pay dividends come race day,” said Doudle.
“He’s on the stable pony Jaguary. He’s won nine races that horse so he’s been around plenty of times and I think he’s a perfect ride for Harri. He’ll get back in the field and just run on late so he’s a lovely nice smooth ride for him, and it’s going to be a good way to kick off his career.”