Apprentice Dylan Gibbons rode his fifth winner in two days when he landed a treble at the Newcastle race meeting on Thursday. The Thornton boy steered home two winners at the Kensington midweek metropolitan meeting on Wednesday. The twenty-year-old had the most wins of any apprentice in Australia last season. Kris Lees was the only local trainer with a winner on the day, and Gibbons was aboard.
Irish import Spangler, trained by Lees for Australian Bloodstock was very impressive in lumping 61.5kg to victory in the New Zealand Bloodstock Class 1 Handicap (1400m). It was the five-year-old’s fourth race start and his second in Australia. Spangler was a beaten favourite on the Kensington track on July 20, but he was much better placed on Thursday. He travelled sweetly midfield on the rail, and he was ready to pounce when he straightened up. Spangler had a good tussle with stablemate Highly Ambitious in the closing stages, and despite the big weight the grey prevailed.
“He had come on nicely from his first up run and it was probably a slight drop in grade, but he had to carry a big weight. Dylan had to expose him a touch early and our mare gave him a fright, but he was good late” Lees said.
Former Hong Kong galloper Diamond Diesel maintained his unbeaten Australian record when a narrow winner of the final event, the Jennings Print Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m). The six-year-old was given a nice trail in fourth place by Gibbons who steered Diamond Diesel to the outside of the track in the straight, and he finished strongly under hard riding. The gelding had one run in Hong Kong in June when unplaced. Gosford trainer Adam Duggan produced the son of Mossman to win first up at his home track on July 23, and Gibbons praised both horse and trainer.
“Lucky we have a nice big course proper at Newcastle. Credit to Adam, it’s a great training performance to get him to win first up after a long break and then to back him up in a brutally run race. Adam had to have him very fit”.
Gibbons also piloted the Allan Kehoe trained Dragon Dream, an $18 chance to victory in the Coastline Pools Benchmark 64 Handicap (1600m).
Champion jockey James McDonald had three rides at the meeting for two wins and a placing. J Mac’s winners were Bayezid for James Cummings and Pharoah’s Reign for Richard and Will Freedman.