All things considered, last Sunday’s Bourne Kennels Mount Gambier Cup heat day at Tara Raceway didn’t turn out too badly for Adelaide-based guru Ross Schurgott and three of his disciples – Garry Siney, Stephen Maguire and Steven Mason.
These days known as the Nineofus Syndicate – an offshoot of the Viking Syndicate – they made the trip down to Mount Gambier to cheer on Double Vision, Silent Jacko, Call Me Billy, Fantastic Flame and Sweet On Me in heats of the cup.
In the end they got their finalist – Call Me Billy, trained at Lewiston by Ben Rawlings, and comfortably into the final after running 29.82 seconds to finish second behind Sunset Milo.
Purchased late last year after a maiden win at Sandown Park, the nicely-bred son of Barcia Bale x Call Me Gee now finds himself in another cup final after winning a heat of the Murray Bridge Straight Track Cup (350 m) back in May.
Schurgott will now be hoping for a case of third time lucky as far the Mount Gambier Cup and the syndicate is concerned after Striking Viking contested the 2014 cup won by Veetee Express and Thanks Captain was a finalist in Fabregal’s 2017 cup.
And later in the day, the syndicate members had plenty to cheer about when the Rawlings trained Our Man Zed led all the way in the second heat of the Formula 400 (400 m), the son of Smart Missile and Flying Trance defeating Exciting Times by 5¼ lengths in 23.17 seconds.
Now back with Allendale East trainer David Peckham, Our Man Zed will clash with kennelmate and heat one winner Keen One who clocked a personal best 22.92 seconds when leading all the way for Tarpeena owner Malcolm Keenan.
Tracie Price’s Elle Limes gave plenty of cheek when chasing Keen One throughout, eventually going down by three-quarters of a length and also clocking a personal best time of 22.98 seconds. Also through to Sunday’s Formula 400 final are Cawbourne Cross, Ramified, Chief’s Sidekick and Fernando Deeds.
A win by Mrs Flintstone in the JB Irrigation Mixed Stake (600 m) kicked off a good day for Price with High Fly Dorothy and Proud Fernando successful in the final two races – the Winmore Greyhound Kennels Stake (512 m) and the Swallow Drive Meats Stake (512 m).