Sat around a table at the Centennial Hotel in Gulgong, surrounded by forms and other indiscriminate pieces of paper, a group of mates debate the merits of a number of country trainers and their horses.
The conversation is so serious because there's so much on the line. $1.3 million to be exact.
The syndicate were the lucky winners of a ticket in The Kosciusko, the richest race for country-trained horses in the world.
It's like Willy wonka and Chocolate Factory I say, we've got the golden ticket.Super Six member, Ray Pitt
One of just 14 tickets drawn around the state.
All 14 slot holders will go on to pick a NSW or ACT country-trained horse to race in the $1.3 million dash, The Kosciuszko, at Royal Randwick on October 17, 2020.
Made up of both Mudgee and Gulgong punters, 'Super Six' is the name of the 26 man syndicate that put in $20 each into the $5-per-ticket competition a few weeks ago as a lark, not really expecting to win.
"It's like Willy wonka and Chocolate Factory I say, we've got the golden ticket," Super Six member, Ray Pitt said.
Another syndicate member and schoolteacher, Gulgong's Steve Haney - who was on his lunch break at the time - said he couldn't believe it when he got the news.
"One of the blokes rang me and told me to check the ticket number - I told Bill [Egan], 'go to my house, the key's in the front door, look in the top drawer, don't touch the tickets and come back.'
"We checked the numbers, we went 'we got it', I cuddled him, he cuddled me - all the school kids are like 'what are they doing?'"
"I've been looking around corners all day thinking someone's playing a joke on me," Bill said.
"Everyone was in shock today because I do a lot of practical jokes on people, ringing me, telling me to get stuffed, saying 'show me proof' and that sort of thing," Steve laughed.
There are about 48 people in the Super Six betting comp according to Steve, which means 22 of the groups punters would be 'spewin'' that they didn't put the $20 in when the group bought the tickets.
"People said 'nah, I won't go in, you won't win'. Then they're ringing up today asking 'you sure I didn't give you twenty?'," Steve said.
So who was the lucky trainer the group picked?
On the Wednesday night, the group came to a consensus and picked the Brett Cavanough trained Fender, a four year old gelding from Scone.
Speaking with the Mudgee Guardian Brett said he was keen to race in yet another Kosciuszko race, having had a runner in numerous Kosciuszko races in the past.
"Look, it's a go-er of an event for country trainers and punters as well, we're all involved. It's a gala event, the party starts now and ends in five weeks time," he said.
Brett said his stable is Spring race ready, so for Fender there isn't any change to his training to be ready in October.
"It's just business as usual, these horses, they're obviously lined up for Spring campaigns. We're only ten days into Spring so this is pretty much... it's par for the course," he said.
He's in good form, he's unbeaten, we're not too sure where his level of ability is at. We don't know where his ceiling is at yet.Brett Cavanough
"We've been lucky enough to be picked, a lot of these horses were eligible for Sydney races and would have been racing at the carnival at some level but obviously trained in the country - and that criteria that you have to be a country horse allows them in to the $1.3 million race."
Fender is unbeaten thus far, so Brett likes his chances.
"He's in good form, he's unbeaten, we're not too sure where his level of ability is at. We don't know where his ceiling is at yet. We're just poking along at the moment, the horse is doing everything right and he's got above-average ability," he said.
The winning trainer will split the winnings between themselves and the ticket holder, the amount is generally negotiated beforehand.
It's unknown yet how many can go from the Super Six group but winners are also given transport and accomodation to the race and given the VIP treatment.
The Kosciuszko is a 1200 metre sprint contest run under set weights and penalties conditions on the same day as The TAB Everest on Saturday 17 October.
The race is restricted to NSW country and ACT trained horses only.