Gulgong punters go oh so close in Kosi punt

Big day for Gulgong's lucky Kosciuszko slot holders

Horses
Some of Gulgong's Centennial Hotel punters who made their way to Randwick to see their pick Fender run in the Kosciuszko.

Some of Gulgong's Centennial Hotel punters who made their way to Randwick to see their pick Fender run in the Kosciuszko.

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Seventh place for their top pick

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It wasn't the grand win the faithful punters from Gulgong's Centennial Hotel were hoping for, but just being part of the richest race for country horses in the world was a victory in itself.

There's even talk some of the members of the Centennial's punters' club that won a slot in The Kosciuszko, were still making their way home this week after the big day at Royal Randwick.

Their chosen horse, Fender, ran seventh, beaten just over 2.8 lengths, so instead of sharing in the $685,000 for first they had to accept their 40 per cent cut of seventh place ($15,000). That means they all ended up with just $192 each.

Gulgong syndicate's slot pick Fender returns to scale with Kerrin McEvoy after running seventh in the Kosciuszko at Randwick. Photo by Virginia Harvey.

Gulgong syndicate's slot pick Fender returns to scale with Kerrin McEvoy after running seventh in the Kosciuszko at Randwick. Photo by Virginia Harvey.

But for 17 members of the 26 syndicate members who were at Randwick, just being there was enough, to soak up the big Everest atmosphere and with free members' tickets worth nearly $400 - all from a small stake placed at the Centennial's TAB to enter the Kosciuszko draw.

Dunedoo's famous son Hugh Bowman was due to ride Fender but he chose to ride at the Melbourne carnival - but the replacement rider wasn't too bad - three times Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who later in the Randwick program went on to make it three Everests, winning on Classique Legend.

So what are the boys and gals from Gulgong going to do with their winnings?

"We are going to arrange a big day later in the year and put it on the bar at the Centennial," syndicate member and Gulgong real estate agent Bill Egan said. "If we won a ticket next year we'd put Fender in again," he said.

He said there was no bad blood in town after the syndicate decided not to go with Gulgong's own topliner Kookabaa in the race.

"Everyone's handled that and we see the boys (trainer Brett Thompson's sons) a fair bit, so it's all okay."

Ironically it was another Brett Cavanough horse that won the big race - It's Me.

The Centennial wonders how it might cope with the big day when the syndicate puts its money on the bar. Hopefully by then people in NSW will be legally allowed to stand up to drink.

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