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HE’S won two $2m features including a maiden Group 1 breakthrough, had his first rides in both The Everest and Melbourne Cup, and now collected another $1m feature on his first day competing at the Magic Millions carnival at the Gold Coast.

The career of Newcastle’s brilliant young jockey Dylan Gibbons continues to go ahead in leaps and bounds.

The 22-year-old had ridden in Queensland only once previously (at The Archer meeting in Rockhampton last April) when he saddled up for five mounts yesterday at the $11m Magic Millions meeting, and landed the $1m MM Cup (1400m) on $14 chance Semana for trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.

It was the same team which gave him the opportunity to clinch his first Group 1 success on $26 outsider Explosive Jack in the $2m Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick only three weeks before he ventured north to ride Gem Song for his boss, leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, in Central Queensland’s richest race, the $775,000 The Archer (1300m).

Semana was Gibbons’ 356th winner in a career which began in late July 2020, 41st in the current season, and his 14thfor the powerful Maher-Eustace team.

He also rode Buenos Noches and Okita Soushi respectively in last year’s The Everest at Randwick and Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

And he is a quick learner!

Gibbons’ jockey father Andrew, who himself has had a bit to do with Semana, today recalled winning a Muswellbrook 3YO Maiden Plate (1000m) on her on debut on November 1, 2022.

“It was about half an hour after Ciaron and David won the Melbourne Cup at Flemington that day with Gold Trip,” he said.

“I also rode Semana at her next start when a close third at Gosford, and more recently when second to stablemate and Group 1 winner Royal Merchant in the Wyong Magic Millions 3 & 4YO Stakes (1200m) last month.

“As Semana was resuming then, I rode her a bit quiet, giving her time to settle and she finished off strongly.

“It was one of her career best runs.

“Dylan rode in the same race at Wyong (he finished sixth on Lees’ Hellavadancer), and picked up a lot from how Semana raced.

He had ridden her four times previously, including both a win and a second at Rosehill Gardens last winter when he led both times on her.”

Dylan Gibbons deservedly gave his father due credit after Semana, who always travelled strongly even though she had to race wide from an awkward draw, surged clear in the straight to easily defeat Victorian Meridius ($15) and Sydneysider Revolutionary Miss ($5 equal favorite), who just nudged another co-favorite Far Too Easy for third.

“They rode her cold first-up at Wyong, and Dad probably showed how best to ride her,” he said.

“Even though I was three with no cover, she was smoking where she was, and when I presented I thought we were getting there a bit soon, but she is absolutely flying.”

Semana, the four-year-old daughter of Winning Rupert, is the second foal of the Nicconi mare Festivity (a three-times Sydney winner), and fetched $200,000 at the 2021 Magic Millions yearling sale.

From 14 starts, she has now won six races and been placed five times, and earned just over $862,000.

Newcastle’s Loch Eagle ($6), on whom Gibbons won the $2m Group 2 The Ingham (1600m) at Randwick on December 9, finished eighth in the MM Cup.

Provincial trainers were around the mark in several of the Magic Millions races on yesterday’s mammoth program.

Kris Lees ran second with Velvet Haze ($9) in the $500,000 Country Cup (1200m) and fifth with Willinga Beast ($13) in the $1m Fillies and Mares (1300m), fellow Newcastle trainers Rod Ollerton and Jason Deamer finished fourth and fifth respectively with $91 roughie Rivana (a Gibbons mount) in the $500,000 The Debut 2YO Fillies Plate (1000m) and Hard To Say ($14) in the $!m Snippets (1200m), and Wyong’s Sara Ryan was unluckily nosed out in the $1m Subzero (2200m) with $26 chance Parry Sound.

Story John Curtis, January 14, 2024 - Pic Magic. Millions

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