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DYLAN Gibbons had a concise answer when asked why he liked riding in 3200m races!

“Winning them” was the star Newcastle apprentice’s reply on Sunday after adding the $400,000 Group 2 Brisbane Cup at Eagle Farm a day earlier to his career tally, now sitting at 385.

Gibbons partnered Sydney stayer Alegron ($8), who upset $2.25 favorite Mostly Cloudy in the 3200m feature.

“Aside from winning these 3200m races, I do enjoy riding in them,” Gibbons said.

“It’s great to ride nice stayers and get them into a good rhythm.”

Gibbons had ridden the rejuvenated former Godolphin gelding, who was placed as a three-year-old in both the Group 1 Victoria and ATC Australian Derbies and won the VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington two years ago, only once previously.

That was at the five-year-old’s prior start when runner-up to Hezashocka in the Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm a fortnight earlier.

Alegron was purchased online last November for $40,000 by Bjorn Baker Racing, and in four starts for his new stable has collected $271,750 prizemoney.

Gibbons added the Brisbane Cup to his maiden Group 1 Sydney Cup triumph on $26 outsider Explosive Jack at Royal Randwick last year… and that’s two on his mantlepiece.

Now for the big one!

It’s every jockey’s dream of course to win the Melbourne Cup, and Gibbons whet his appetite to achieve that when he made his debut in the ‘great race’ last year, finishing 11th on overseas stayer Okita Soushi (now trained by Ciaron Maher) for Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien.

“That’s the aim,” he said. “I’ll be doing my best to win it for sure.”

Alegron was Gibbons’ 70th winner of the current season, which will see him conclude his apprenticeship toward the end of next month (July 27).

And he has firm views on his plans when he becomes a senior jockey.

“My boss Kris Lees has been very lenient, allowing me to split my time riding work and trials between Newcastle and Sydney,” he said.

“I’ll still live in Newcastle and continue to do that. When it isn’t broke, there’s no need to fix it.”

Gibbons made his riding debut on Star Raider at Taree on July 28, 2020 and his first winner came little more than a week later on Ocean Ruler at Coffs Harbour on August 8.

He rode 86 winners in his first full season (2020-21), a benchmark 116 the following season, and 113 last year.

Without the benefit of an allowance, he has done another terrific job this current season.

Whilst understandably he has ridden the most number of winners (126) for his boss, leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, his second best success rate has been with Alegron’s trainer Bjorn Baker (28).

It’s back to normality this week as Gibbons returns to NSW racing at Hawkesbury on Tuesday, and he’ll be in action at Royal Randwick on Saturday, and not the corresponding Ipswich Cup meeting in Queensland.

But’s he still hoping to add a second Group 1 to his resume, returning north of the border on Saturday week for the final major of the season, the $700,000 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m).

His mount will be Semana, whom he rode when 10th to Baker’s three-year-old filly Stefi Magnetica in the $3m Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap over the same course at the Brisbane Cup meeting.

Gibbons won the $1m Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast in January on her, and also when subsequently placed in both the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) and Queen of the Turf Stakes (1600m) at the Sydney autumn carnival.

. Meanwhile, Lees also shared in the Eagle Farm spoils, winning the Listed Hinkler Handicap (1200m) with $9 chance Willinga Beast (Craig Williams).

The former Australian Bloodstock-raced mare was recently purchased for $675,000 by Arrowfield Stud, which sold her as a Magic Millions yearling at the Gold Coast in 2021 for $625,000.

Story John Curtis, June 16, 2024 - Pics Brisbane Racing Club


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