A GROUP of thoroughbred owners is daring to dream of $250,000 VOBIS Gold Rush riches for a second time with another bargain-basement buy.
Six years after the Danny Curran-trained The Big Dance bolted to glory in the rich two-year-old feature on Golden Mile race day, some of the same owners are chasing another rags to riches fairytale at Bendigo with Mobamba.
Trained at Kyneton by Mick Sell, the unraced gelding is the son of Mo'shelley, a mare who was purchased by the Sells on Facebook for a mere $1500.
The mare, who finished third behind the smart Crystal Fountain on debut at Werribee in 2016, went on to score her maiden win at start number four before suffering a career-ending tendon injury at her fifth start in May 2017.
As stable spokesperson Mel Sell explained, Mo'shelley was given to a group of his owners involved in the Woodend Hesket Racing syndicate, who decided to breed with her.
Her first foal - a bay gelding by Stryker - will make his debut on Saturday in the Listed race.
It's a case of déjà vu for some in the syndicate, made up of members of the Woodend-Hesket Football Netball Club, who had a small share in The Big Dance in 2015.
Breeder and part-owner Christiane Pennefather, whose husband Jeremy was one of the lucky ones with a share in The Big Dance, said comparisons were hard not to draw.
"We were joking with Mick (Sell) when he started training him to set this horse for the Gold Rush - we'd tell him we want another Gold Rush (winner)," she said.
"He would look at me like I'm an idiot.
"(Mobamba) had a couple of preps and was a bit backward, but all of a sudden he's come up and blossomed a bit and here we are back at the Gold Rush."
Pennefather said Mobamba's nomination for the race had been the cause for much reminiscing about The Big Dance's 2015 victory, which became the stuff of legend in Bendigo and wider racing circles after she landed a huge betting plunge.
"It was a win for us little guys, Danny (Curran) bought that horse for $750 and the Woodend Heskett syndicate my husband is in got a share for $75 and ended up winning the big prize," she said.
"It was such a thrill and the guys were pretty wild, so God help Woodend and Kyneton on Saturday night if they happen to win.
"Sadly, we didn't get to see the best of The Big Dance (who tragically died in a paddock accident in 2016), but hopefully we get to do it all again Saturday."
A start in the Gold Rush is a tremendous thrill for trainer Mick and Mel Sell, who are close friends with the bulk of Mobamba's owners, and also have shares in the horse.
Mel Sell said the gelding had impressed in his recent trials, which included a win at Kyneton and a fourth at Bendigo when matched against a genuine superstar of the turf and three-time Group 1-winning mare.
"We were probably pretty rough to have scored Arcadia Queen in her second trial, actually I'm sure we were a bit stiff," she said.
"But he jumped and led them up - and he was still a bit fat and green at that stage - but he held his own, with Arcadia Queen winning by four or five lengths as she should.
"His last trial was pretty good. We pretty much cuddled him and didn't ask much of him, but we wanted to give him a set of blinkers as he was wandering around a bit.
"But he's a lovely horse. To be honest, he will make a lot nicer three-year-old. He's a helluva horse now, but we expect he will improve out of sight as a three-year-old."
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