The inaugural Punters Challenge couldn’t have been more of a hit in its popular debut at Gosford races last Saturday. The competition saw teams vying for the title for the top punters club at the Gosford races. But it was more than recognition they were after. The winners landed a fully-catered TAB corporate box experience at Royal Randwick for 10 people. The runners-up also walked away with an impressive prize, scoring a corporate box for the upcoming Sydney FC vs Mariners clash at Central Coast Stadium. 

So how did it all work?  

For the eight-race card, each group was presented with $190 in virtual bets. This included 7 standard bets of $20, and 1 big bet of $50. Punters were only able to choose one horse in each race, and could either split their virtual bet for an each-way play, or just put it all on the win or place. At the end of the day, the group with the highest winnings were declared the winner.

Simple, right?

The groups were able to keep track of their winnings on the virtual leader board powered by, that was displayed throughout the day. This was in Gosford Racecourses’ Lakeview Room, that not only offered a panoramic view of the track, but also a buffet lunch and a 5-hour beverage package for those taking place in the Punters Challenge. In the money or not, they all walked away with a smile on their face.

The debut edition couldn’t have been more thrilling, coming down to the last race on the card.

Going into the 8th and final race, CCCPuntersClub were in a narrow lead. This was a group of local teachers and their partners, led by team captain Paul Betts, a primary school teacher from Woy Woy. This group had just jagged the winner in Race 7 with their all-important big bet. They went with the talented filly Cafe Royal, that saluted at the odds-on price of $1.80. With their big bet of $50 on the nose, CCCPunters club took the lead with an overall total of $221.

Incredibly, this was just one dollar ahead of the second-placed group, TonyNewing2, who sat on $220. Gosford racing fans would recognise Tony Newing as one of their star local trainers. Newing had two tables contesting the Punters Challenge, which he filled with owners and connections of some of the horses he trains.  

Newing’s other group, TonyNewing1, sat in third-place, well back in single-figures with $91. But how quickly things can change!

For their final horse racing tips on the day, CCCPuntersClub went with an each-way bet on 11/1 shot Chewbacca. Meanwhile, TonyNewing2 still had their big bet up their sleeve. They played it safe and used it to tip the $3.20 favourite Anethole each-way.

TonyNewing1, knowing they had plenty of ground to make up, put all of their $20 virtual bet on roughie Gumshoe to win.

And would you believe it? Gumshoe got up.

The lightly-raced gelding from the Marc Quinn yard powered to the line, paying $16.20 on the tote. For TonyNewing1, this meant $324 in virtual winnings, taking them to an overall total of $415 and first place.

But they weren’t the only ones to tip Gumshoe. LoganGranger also went with the roughie, and it more than paid off. Granger is the owner of his own garden and lawn care company that operates in and around Gosford. After tipping Gumshoe and securing $324 in virtual winnings, his group surged up into second place, to claim the runner’s up prize. 

Punters will be happy to know that another Punters Challenge has been scheduled for Saturday the 14th of March. Horse racing fans up and down the country will be keen to get in on the action, and have a crack at this exciting new race-day event.