Gibson has one eye on Picnic Champion Series following win

Zara Lewis and the Ashley Gibson-trained Foxstorm were good winners at Grenfell on Saturday. Image: Jeff Hanson/NSW Country and Picnic Racing.

Following another win at Grenfell on Saturday, Gilgandra trainer Ashley Gibson is setting Foxstorm on a path toward the $50,000 Picnic Champion Series

The 1400m final will be held at Coonamble on October 19. The top 12 picnic horses will compete, and with 24 points to his name, Foxstorm is tied in seventh place with the Darryl Rolfe-trained Final Showdown and looks a likely qualifier.  

“The final is the plan, and he definitely has a bit of ability,” Gibson told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.   

“I’m looking forward to getting him into the Championships race because the 1400m at Coonamble will suit him down to the ground.”

The six-year-old raced well at Grenfell, storming past his rivals to triumph in the 1200m Class Two Trophy Race. 

It was an intelligent ride by Zara Lewis, who seems to get the best out of Foxstorm. 

“He gets on well with the girls, and even with my wife, he’s a real good horse and acts like a kid’s pony, but with me, he can get a bit pushy,” Gibson laughed. 

“It was a good win for Zara, and she was so happy. She’s got that great big smile, so it was good to see her win.” 

The Foxwedge gelding also won at Condobolin in February, and before that, when under the care of his previous trainer, Bryan Dixon Junior, Foxstorm won at Mungery in October. 

“We were quietly confident going to Grenfell,” Gibson said. 

“He is a funny horse, and when the right horse shows up, he is on song, but if something goes wrong, it can knock him around.

“Like at Tottenham, when they loaded them in the barriers, one broke through, and they took them out and loaded them in again, and he had run his race.”

With the final in October, Gibson wasn’t sure if he would turn Foxstorm out for a spell, but he will target meetings at Tomingley on April 27 and Moree on May 25 before making a decision. 

“We’ll play it by ear, but he is a pretty tough horse, and we’ll see what happens,” Gibson said. 

“We’ll go to Tomingley, then out to Moree Picnics; it (the Golden Triangle) is definitely on the cards, but I don’t want to plan too far ahead because anything can happen.”
A five-time winner, Foxstorm has been well placed while earning over $120,000 in prizemoney. 

At his last two wins, he’s taken out Class Two Trophy Races, and Gibson isn’t rushing to place the Gilgandra galloper in Open Class company.

“I think it’s where he is best suited,” Gibson said. 

“If he keeps performing well, he will gain weight in these trophy races, and then we’ll have to go to the cups.

“Still, while he is earning these good cheques, we’ll take what we can.”

Gibson believes his galloper will be up to the task when eventually tested in a Picnic Cup.

“I would like to think so, but again, it depends on the horse that shows up,” Gibson laughed. 

“He’s quirky at times, but when he gets the right run in his races, he’s got the pace, and with the way he finishes his races off, you’d have to think he’d be thereabouts.” 

There is no picnic racing this week, but action heads to Tomingley on Saturday, April 27. 

Readers can click here for the 2024 NSW Picnic Racing calendar.