By Ray Hickson
For racehorse owner Steve Leonard, getting involved in The Kosciuszko is a no brainer if you have anything to do with country racing.
Barely a day after the concept was announced and the $5 tickets went on sale Leonard organised a group of 10 people, all connected to the Cathleen Rode stable at Coffs Harbour, to snap up 1000 tickets without even thinking about the possibility of winning a spot in the $1.3 million race.
“We don't expect to win,’’ Leonard said.
“The way we look at it, we're contributing to country racing and every (stable) in the country areas should get their owners to chip in a couple of hundred bucks each and finance the race as much as possible.
“If this one goes very well it will continue next year.’’
The $1.3m The Kosciuszko (1200m) is run at Royal Randwick on October 13, on The Everest program, and is for 12 NSW country trained horses.
Every $5 ticket is placed in a draw on September 14 with 12 winners owning the power to select one of the 12 runners as well as a share of whatever prizemoney that horse wins in The Kosciuszko race.
At least $130,000 will be donated from the sale of the tickets will be made to Aussie Helpers (call 1300 665 232) which offers aid to drought-stricken farmers.
The Leonard syndicate’s tickets were purchased at the Coffs Hotel and having crunched the numbers he said while they don’t expect to win a slot they are in with a realistic chance.
“The statistics of winning at this are pretty low, it's not like 41,000-1 to win Lotto, 82,000-1 to win Powerball or 3.5 million-1 to win scratch lotto,’’ he said.
“It's a winnable thing. With 1000 tickets we've got to a point where it's like you've gone to an RSL where there's 250 tables with one ticket and 12 shots at the pie.’’
The group includes trainer Cathleen Rode's foreman Steve Thompson and some local tradesmen.
Of course, Rode is no stranger to winning a major country feature having taken out the 2017 Country Championships Final with Free Standing.
“They've had their ups and their downs, their lovely horse won the Championships then passed away,’’ Leonard said.