A familiar duo combined for a winning double on their home track at Dubbo Turf Club on Saturday, with popular Central Districts hoop Ken Dunbar getting the job done for trainer, Allan Gibson.
Dunbar jumped aboard five of Gibson’s gallopers on the day, winning the 1300m Maiden Plate on Zurbaran and the 1000m Class Two Handicap with Alaskan Aura.
“They had all been showing a little bit, so it was nice to get a couple of winners,” Dunbar said.
The pair almost had three winners on the card when Crimson Petal finished a very close second in the 1600m Class One/Maiden Plate.
“She run second, and she only got beat half a head,” Dunbar said.
“She doesn’t go too bad; she can be a bit erratic and over race at times, but she went well the other day.”
Dunbar and Gibson, who previously tasted success with Cowboys Karma on the Country Cup circuit, have spent years working together, and it looks as though the Gibson stable has a few more handy types for Dunbar to ply his trade on.
“I’ve been riding on and off for Allan for nearly 20 years,” Dunbar explained.
“He used to have that good horse Cowboys Karma and we had a bit of fun with him.
“It’s more like a partnership than anything. We go through track work, and we go through how they are feeling and how they are performing and things like that.
“We discuss whether the horses need changes with gear and whether they need a chiropractor and things like that and it’s good, because I know the horses.”
Dunbar rides most of Gibson’s track work, which is how he ended up developing such a strong relationship with the trainer.
“It all came about due to a lack of track work riders to start with, and Allan said to me he needed a fairly strong rider for a couple of horses he had, and it’s been like that ever since,” Dunbar said.
“I go in to ride everyday bar Wednesday, which is my day off, and most mornings I ride most of his horses.”
The Dubbo jockey has an opinion of both of Gibson’s winning horses, who look to have a lot of up side.
“The first one (Zurbaran), he is a nice big grey horse,” Dunbar said.
“He has come along but he has taken a fair bit of time.”
The Not A Single Doubt gelding started his career in Victoria back in 2019, then spent a year and a half off the track before returning to the races earlier this year.
“He is a big strong horse, and he is still learning the trade,” Dunbar said
“He come from Victoria, and we held him in high regard, and it is starting to work for him.
Alaskan Aura is another nice four-year-old, who is a proven sprinter, now having won three races from 20 starts.
“He was on a short freshen up and he is only a little horse, and he doesn’t handle a great deal of racing, but he goes well when he is right,” Dunbar said.
“It was a nice win, and he is now looking to go to Dubbo in a Class three 1000m.”
Dunbar said the stable took their time finding the right races, which he believed would lead to more success on the track.
“Allan is looking ahead all the time, going through the calendar with his sone Ashley Gibson,” Dunbar said.
“He gives his dad a fair bit of support, and we try and give ourselves two or three different options for each horse.”
Gibson will be hoping Dunbar can keep up the good form in the saddle in the coming weeks, with Dubbo set to race on both June 4 and 11.
“In the next fortnight, we have the Dubbo meetings, and we should have the five of them racing again,” Dunbar said.
“It’s handy when we have a couple of meetings, and the locals can win a few races.”