TO SAY former Sunraysia trainer Terry Gange and his wife Jacinta are relishing the move south to Bendigo might be a bit of an understatement.
That's even accounting for a few unforeseen complications or teething problems with their small team of horses since their arrival in May.
The Ganges, formerly based at Merbein South, have established themselves at fellow trainer Danny Curran's former property at Marong and have quickly settled into Bendigo life.
A total of 14 starters from their new base have produced a pair of winners and five placings, not to mention a few near-misses.
"We've loved it, the place we have got is just brilliant. It's like we are living in a dream," Terry Gange said.
"It's like we are on holidays and not permanently based here - it's hard to describe.
"Most of the people I know down here, I would know maybe 80 per cent of them just from racing down here and of course Jacinta's parents live here, so we have been coming the last five years a bit more regularly.
"We're really enjoying it There has not been one dust storm since we've been here, which would be a common occurrence up at Merbein," he laughed.
"We had been talking about moving for a while, but the timing was never quite right with our work and my elderly mum, but we've worked all that out and put on a few extra staff."
The couple is continuing to operate their successful public relations, communication and marketing services company Newsalert PR, overseeing a small team of employees based largely in Mildura.
An obvious drawcard for Gange, who has four horses in work, is the property's central proximity to a host of race tracks, including Charlton, Maryborough, Shepparton, Kilmore and of course nearby Lord's Raceway.
"I'm just loving the meetings being so close to Bendigo - there's regular meetings at Bendigo, while the other day we went to Charlton and Melton's only an hour, 40 away," he said.
"We travelled down to Melton about seven years ago (from Mildura) and it turned into a three-day journey - Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
"We did it again about a month later and said never again.
"We couldn't believe going back there with Mister Jimararingle the other week just how easy it was getting there."
Gange was quick to notch up his first success from his new base just six starts in with Mr Jimaringle at Bendigo on June 9
He added a second at last Sunday's July 4 Independence Day-themed meeting at Charlton with Happyaslarry, who was driven by Ellen Tormey.
If ever a horse deserved to breakthrough for an overdue win it was the seven-year-old gelding Happyaslarry, who Gange admitted was close to not making the cut for the move to Bendigo.
"Michelle Phillips has had 14 goes on him for 10 seconds, which is absolutely amazing," he said.
"We weren't going to bring him; he's a bit of a plodder.
"I wouldn't be getting carried away with him, but Ellen Tormey just got a 10 out of 10 for the drive. She just rated the tempo beautifully.
"It was a perfect drive. She had to work pretty hard to hold the lead. He doesn't have the greatest intestinal fortitude, but he stuck to his guns good."
Gange has much higher hopes for the emerging Mister Jimaringle, who has mixed his form since calling Bendigo home, for one win and an eye-catching third at Melton from five starts.
The four-year-old gelding shows signs of obvious promise and was again not far from the winner when fifth at last Saturday night's metro meeting at Bendigo, when driven by Alex Ashwood.
"He (Mr Jimaringle) is adjusting to a completely different style of racing down here - they do not take a breather," Gange said.
"He's putting in 100 per cent just to keep in touch.
"He's a very good horse, and Alex is really happy with him, but he will take a bit of time to adjusting to the racing down here. They just do not have a lazy section.
"He was tipped by some to win at Melton and tipped to go well at Bendigo. You can sometimes get a bit blindfolded by it all, but he will get there."
What was originally intended to be a three-horse team for Gange at Marong quickly became four with the addition of the three-year-old trotter Bullapark Beno.
The three-year-old gelding, who is owned by the Ganges, was until recently trained by Chris Svanosio, but due to growing numbers at his Romsey stable, found a new home last month
Bullapark Beno had two starts for his new stable for a third and a fifth, but is currently recovering in the paddock after developing a nasty foot abscess.
Gange has no plans to grow the stable any further.
"I'm really over big teams. I used to do 12 or 13, but the thought of it absolutely horrifies me now. No thanks," Gange said.
"It's hard work. In some ways the horses become like your closest friends, you are with them every day, and then you put in the real hard yards.
"I'll never go back there. I have had a few offers to take other people's horses and I know I have a property that could handle four times as many as I've got without a problem, but I'm comfy just choofing along with four. I'm happy with that number."
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