IT’S lucky Andrew Gibbons enjoys his own company.
When you’re in the car travelling up and down the east coast chasing winners more often than not, it’s a trait that comes in handy.
Kembla Grange one day, Coffs Harbour the next. It’s part of the grind of being a member of the jockeys’ room.
“I am racking up a lot of k’s, but while the winners keep rolling in it makes it a lot easier,” Gibbons says.
At the moment those winners are certainly flowing.
The experienced hoop is midway through a sensational season in the saddle, which sees him sit second in total winners across all tracks in New South Wales.
Gibbons has already amassed 69 winners on the season, with Greg Ryan (77 winners) leading the charge in 2018-19. With more than six months remaining in the campaign, Gibbons haul has already topped his total of 65 ½ from last season and also has him in touching distance of the 78 winners he booted home in 2016-17.
He puts his success down to hard work and the support of leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees.
Lees also sits second in the NSW trainers premiership with 90 winners for the season and only trails Sydney powerhouse Chris Waller (119 winners) at the beginning of January.
“Kris has been the main factor. His horses are flying,” Gibbons said.
“I am riding the majority of country horses and quite a few of the provincial ones. The way his stable is set up now with the pre-training farm, there is consistent numbers and quality horses.
“He has got me on a good roll and other people have jumped on-board.
“Plus I have just had to work harder. I had a bit of a quieter season last season so I put my head down and worked out that I have to work harder.”
Gibbons comes to Kembla Grange on Saturday without a ride for Lees, but several chances to add to his tally.
He will link up with promising three-year-old Kylease, trained by Joe Pride, in the Ken Phillips Memorial Maiden Plate (1000m).
The Choisir filly is yet to visit the races, but has put together a pair of sharp trial victories heading into her debut.
“I haven’t had anything to do with the horse just yet so only know what I have seen watching the replays, but those trials look pretty impressive,” Gibbons said.
“I expect a forward showing, especially from Joe’s stable because they are always well prepared for their first start.”
Gibbons will also pilot Tootz in the JRO Services Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m).
It will be the mare’s first start for Danny Williams after transferring from Benjamin Smith last year.
Joe Pride’s Nijinska (race five) is the second emergency while Gibbons links up with Fraudulent in the last.
- Gibbons’ Rides
Race 3 - Kylease (Joseph Pride)
Race 4 - Tootz (Danny Williams)
Race 5 Emergency - Nijinska (Joseph Pride)
Race 7 - Fraudulent (Anthony & Edward Cummins)