Gary Harley – Herald – 26.06.21

New South Wales country’s boom apprentices Reece Jones and Dylan Gibbons will be both riding at the Newcastle Jockey Clubs race meeting on Saturday. It will be the first race meeting in which the NJC’s $4 Million race day stables will be in operation.

Jones, apprenticed to Scone trainer Rod Northam has ridden 86 ½ winners for the current season which ends on July 31. He leads the NSW apprentice premiership with Kris Lees’ apprentice Dylan Gibbons in second place with 73 winners.

Jones has been riding for three years while Gibbons is in his first season. Jones has seven mounts on Saturday while Gibbons has four.  Gibbons who rode at Kembla on Thursday and Tamworth yesterday has three well fancied mounts. They are I Love Lucy, Significant Rule and Isorich while his other mount Sidereal will probably need the outing.

The 18 year old was travelling home from Kembla when I called him. “I rode I Love Lucy first up at Newcastle and she went super. She was wide no cover but tried hard and was only beaten a head in a classy 2yo race. If she has a softer run the filly will be hard to beat.

I am excited to ride for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott aboard Significant Rule. This horse was having his first start for fifteen months when beaten a nose at Gosford recently and he is a leader. Isorich is rising eleven year old but I rode him for the first time at Wyong last start and he was great.

I didn’t believe in my wildest dreams that I could ride this many winners in eleven months. I was hoping for fifty winners for the season so I am over the moon” the son of leading Newcastle Jockey Andrew Gibbons said.

Jones’ best chances appear to be Smart Success, Fragore and Unpredicted.

Kris Lees’ former New Zealand galloper Mattherhorn has his second Australian start in the 1200m TAB Venue Mode Benchmark 64 Handicap. Bred and raced by Gerry Harvey the 5yo was a narrow but convincing winner in his first start for Lees on this track on June 5. This is a stronger field and he rises two kilograms but he is talented.

Fantastic Baby was a ‘good thing’ beaten first up on this track on June 12. He sported blinkers for the first time first up and he travelled midfield and hit a flat spot before the home turn. Once clear Fantastic Baby powered home to fail by a neck. He has barrier one, and Aaron Bullock who reached a century of wins for the season earlier in the week has the mount.