Country boys find early syndicate success

\"\"Caption: Plenty of smiles when Lilly Street scored an early win at Ipswich for the just-formed Murgatton Syndicate. Pictured are trainer Nathan Evans and owners Russell Backmann and Neil O’Brien. (Photo: Just Greyhound Photos)

By David Brasch

(Each month Chase puts the spotlight on a person and/or their ‘best friend’ – a story that gives an insight into the true heart of greyhound racing.)

SEVEN Queensland country mates – fruit shop owners, car dealers, buddies who like to share a drink in the local, a game of golf and the likes – have ventured into greyhound racing with instant success.

They call themselves the Murgatton Syndicate because they combine Gatton locals with a Murgon pal and a St George motor dealer.

They are Russell and Chris Backmann, Pat Coughlin, Chris Bowe, Neil O\’brian, Tyler Frizzell and Paul Brunies.

Their promising race bitch Lilly Street (Aston Dee Bee-Bogie Lilly) is their first greyhound purchase and already she has won twice at Ipswich.

\”I\’ve been mates with (Brisbane Club president) Les Bein for years,\” said Russell. \”Yes, we enjoy a few beers together at our local and no, Les has never tried to tempt us into buying greyhounds from him.\”

Russell had raced a few horses with not much success in the past and while on one of those pub visits, he gathered a few of those mates around, including Les, and came away with two young pups.

\”It was easy to get the boys together into the syndicate,\” said Russell. \”In fact, it took just a few minutes. And, then the others came on board to make up the seven of us.

\”Neil was down from St George for a game of golf and he joined up as well.\”

They bought two pups from Les, which they named Lilly Street and Jury\’s Out (Jury-Bogie Princess).

\”Tony Apap reared them and broke them in,\” said Russell. \”He liked the bitch but didn\’t have any room in his kennel.

\”I\’ve been on and off in the Gatton rugby league club committee and knew Tony Brett whose son is an A Grade player for us.

\”I tried to tempt Tony into taking them both but he could only fit in the one.\”

Which led to former Toowoomba track rider Wade Clasohm coming in with a word of advice. Wade has been wheelchair bound since a track fall and he and Russell are mates as well.

\”Wade suggested we give them both to Nathan Evans, the jockey who also has a team of greyhounds,\” said Russell. \”And that\’s what happened.\”

\”The boys love a punt,\” said Nathan who has seven dogs in work at his new seven-acre property at Helidon at the foot of the Toowoomba Range plus four thoroughbreds stabled at the track in Toowoomba.

\”No, I don\’t sleep much,\” said Nathan who is out of bed every day at 1.45am to head to Toowoomba to ride 10 to 15 horses in trackwork, train his own team of four, and back home by 8.30 to 9am to train his dogs.

\”Then I\’m back to Toowoomba to do the horses in the afternoon,\” he said.

Nathan has hopes for Lilly Street and believes she has the potential to win a city race or two.

And, Jury\’s Out has kept on improving to the stage the syndicate is very confident in him as well.

When Lilly Street won her maiden at Ipswich in November the syndicate was well represented.

\”We can struggle to get to the races in a group because of where some live of course,\” said Russell. \”But a few of us have been there for the wins.\”

First-time success will always attract an audience … especially the Murgatton devotees.

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