Dylan Gibbons ready for city challenge

Having bided his time on the provincial and country circuits, promising young apprentice Dylan Gibbons is set to become a familiar face in town over the coming weeks.

The 20-year-old has already given an insight into his talents, snaring a Group 3 win aboard Festival Dancer at the feature Hunter meeting on his home track of Newcastle last spring, and booting home the Bjorn Baker-trained Arapaho at Rosehill last Saturday.

With many of Sydney’s leading jockeys riding in Brisbane during the winter carnival, Gibbons’ master Kris Lees says the time is right for the budding talent to hone his skills in the city.

“It would be an injustice not to use him at the moment. On the wet tracks, he can utilise his three-kilo claim,” Lees said.

“He is riding ahead of his age and the way he has matured into a really fine young man, he deserves his opportunity now.

“At the end of the season when they are all back in July, we may hold him back again, but that’s something we’ll discuss down the track.”

The son of popular Newcastle-based jockey Andrew, Gibbons has been carefully managed by the team around him, who have been at pains not to rush him into the metropolitan scene too soon.

Lees is one of many astute judges who believes Gibbons has the skill set and attitude to develop into an accomplished rider.

“He does his homework, he’s got terrific balance, he is very mature and he puts horses in the right spot,” Lees said when asked about Gibbons’ strongest assets.

“He has got a lot of attributes of a good jockey.

“The whole stable is proud of where he’s come from.”

Lees has booked his stable apprentice for six rides at Randwick, including stakes winner Enchanted Heart who resumes in the Taylor Construction Handicap (1100m) after undergoing a knee arthroscopy in the spring.

The mare boasts a first-up victory over top sprinter Lost And Running and has looked sharp in two recent trials.

“She has come back in really good form in terms of her trials and trackwork,” Lees said.

“She likes soft ground, whether she can beat Andermatt first-up we’ll see, but she is quite capable fresh.”

Andermatt drops back in grade and distance after enduring a tough run when fourth as an odds-on favourite in the Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Scone and is a clear market pick at $2.15 with Enchanted Heart at $9.

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