Promising apprentice Dylan Gibbons has limited experience on the Provincial circuit but goes into Wednesday’s Wyong meeting with two strong chances.
The 19-year-old has only had 10 Provincial rides to date, tasting success on the Ron Quinton trained Hibiscus Lady at Gosford in late October.
At her subsequent start on November 18, Gibbon’s first race ride at Wyong, he was runner-up but hopes to go one better on Wednesday.
He partners Siesta Key and No Laughing Matter part of a strong team his boss Kris Lees has at the meeting.
“I’d ridden in a few trials at Wyong before the race ride with Hibiscus Lady and found riding on race day a whole lot different.
“The home turn was a lot sharper race day than it seemed trial day. I got a bit lost and let my horse wander right off, so I’ll be navigating a bit better than I did that day.
“It’s all experience and I’m still learning so much. It’s a different level again riding against the best jockeys at Provincial meetings.”
Gibbons has had a flying start to his apprenticeship with 26 winners to date.
He is coming off a double at Tuncurry on Saturday and Port Macquarie double on January 8.
He now claims 2kg in the country and is happy to do the most of his riding around the bush tracks.
“I’m not in a hurry to take more rides at the Provincials. I’d like to outride my country claim before I concentrate on that. I know I’ve still got so much to learn, and the country is a good place to do it.”
So You Think mare Siesta Keys starts in the Benchmark 58 over 1300m, with Gibbons having partnered her to a second at her last outing at Taree on January 4.
The four-year-old was beaten in a photo by stablemate No Laughing Matter and Gibbons is confident she’s a winning chance.
“The only time I’ve sat on her was last start at Taree when we just got beat by No Laughing Matter.
“It was a super run. She got caught wide with no cover outside the leaders and had to do all the bullocking work. No Laughing Matter nearly put a length on her, and she fought back to get pipped by a nose.
“She’s got all the right attributes for a race like this. She’s got ability and the physical and mental toughness that gets her through challenges like getting caught wide without cover.
“She’s definitely seasoned and ready for it. She’s a tough, honest mare who will give me 100%.”
Gibbons rides No Laughing Matter in the 1350m Benchmark 64, a heat of the Rising Star Series for apprentices.
The Exosphere filly has won three of her six starts and is shooting for her third successive win.
“I’ve won on No Laughing Matter before in an apprentice race at Taree,” he said.
“She’s a young filly going through her grades and is doing everything right.
“It looks like an ideal race for her.”
Race 1 – 1.45pm: KIM WAUGH RACING 4YO & UP MAIDEN (1200m): 1 SPANISH PEARL, 2 Stark, 3 Doppelpunkt, 4 Blue Sky Moon.
Race 2 – 2.20pm: KRISTEN BUCHANAN RACING CG&E MAIDEN (1350m): 1 KAPTIVE, 2 Bytact, 3 Right Bower, 4 Deliberation.
Race 3 – 2.55pm: TRACEY BARTLEY RACING F&M MAIDEN (1350m): 1 BIG ANGEL, 2 Mon Amore, 3 Correlate, 4 Princess Amira.
Race 4 – 3.30pm: MARK CROSS RACING 2&3YO PROV & CTRY MAIDEN (1000m): 1 PRESS AHEAD, 2 Mystic Gem, 3 Express Award, 4 Hamoon Money.
Race 5 – 4.05pm: ALLAN DENHAM RACING CLASS 1 (1100m): 1 QUATUM, 2 Gunnamatta, 3 Colonel, 4 Go For Gold.
It was a Kris Lees trifecta in the $150,000 final of the Sky Racing Summer Provincial Series with Itz Lily a dominant winner over stable mates Spanish Point and Game Of Thorns.
The win gave Lees his second successive final win in the popular series.
Itz Lily, the $3.30 race favourite, relished the heavy conditions and despite being caught three wide throughout, Alysha Collett kept her cool hitting the lead on the turn and drawing away to score by almost two lengths.
Successful syndicators Australian Bloodstock race both the winner and third placegetter.
Danny Greer, representing the Lees stable, said it was a terrific effort by Itz Lily, a $80,000 yearling, after a tough run.
“She didn’t have a lot of luck in the run but was very dominant working into the race nicely and putting them away a long way out,” he said.
“It’s good to see her come back in really good order.
“Australian Bloodstock provided us with a couple really nice horses in this race.
“We were also happy with the effort of Spanish Point, who is improving with racing.”
Greer was full of praise for the ride by Collett.
“She didn’t panic at all and improved into the race at the right time. It was good to see her sustain that sprint and she put them away a long way out from the finish.”
The win brought up back-to-back victories for Itz Lily, who took out the Newcastle heat on December 19.
The consistent Snitzel mare has now had six wins and seven placings from 21 starts.
A terrific training effort by Kylie Gavenlock to taste success with Go For Gold after more than 15 months off the scene.
The five-year-old was having only his third career run but was sent out at $3.50 on the strength of a strong barrier trial at Wyong on December 18.
The Exosphere gelding was first past the post on the Kensington track on December 17 but lost the race on protest.
At his previous two starts he was runner-up at both Kensington and Newcastle.
He wasn’t to be denied at Wyong breaking through for his debut win in the best possible way.
Apprentice Brandon Griffiths had the $1.26 favourite just behind the leader in the early stages, before hitting the front around the 600m mark and drawing away in the straight for an effortless win. Ben Bloore, representing the Snowden’s, was full of praise for the victory.
“It was agood win. Brandon put him outside the leader, let him settle and balance up, and then coming to the corner he let him go and said goodbye,” Bloore said.
“It was a good ride. Brandon has nice, strong good hands and can get them to relax in the run.”
He said Exoboom, a $70,000 yearling, had taken time to come to hand.
“He’s still very immature. He’s a big lanky horse with plenty of scope about him. The more he races the more mature he gets.”
Exoboom beat the Perry trained Mon Amore ($20), with Mandalorian ($41) from the Coyle stable, third.
It was a double for the Snowden stable and their apprentice Brandon Griffiths, when Sahra ($2.15fav) greeted the judge in the CAVARNI DESIGN BENCHMARK 64 over 1200m.
Griffiths put in another strong ride to claim victory on the Hinchinbrook filly, her second win in six starts.
Ben Bloore described it as a “very good win.”
“She will take a lot of confidence out of that. Brandon rode her well and didn’t panic.
“He took off at the right time and didn’t panic, just cruised up around them, hit the button and away she went.
“She’s had a few little setbacks here and there. The drop in grade today has helped her a lot and she will take a lot out the win.
“Two winners from two runners should keep Pete happy for another week.”
Cathay ($8) from the Portelli stable was second, two lengths behind the winner, with Godolphin’s Raison D’Etre ($3) third.
Godolphin filly Geist made it back-to-back wins in the 1100m CANADIAN CLUB CLASS 1 courtesy of a great ride by Christian Reith, the first of a winning double for stable and rider.
The in-form jockey had to weave a passage in the straight after coming from behind the pack on the turn.
He drew away in the final stages to win by three quarters of a length.
The double brought up 14 wins for Reith in just over a month, the jockey having posted 36 victories to date for the season for a 20 percent win ratio.
Geist was having her 10th career start, having raced in Victoria for the early part of her career.
She was unable to break her maiden in the southern State despite finishing third in the Group 2 Blue Diamond Prelude at Caulfield in February.
She broke her maiden at Hawkesbury on December 13 over 1100m and again found the distance ideal at Wyong to bring up successive wins.
She beat Kim Waugh’s Tinka’s Lad ($7), with Harmonium ($6), from the Richard and Michael Freedman stable, third.