Debutant jockey Dylan Gibbons believes the washout of Cessnock on Monday could be a blessing in disguise as his family and boss Kris Lees eye a big day at Taree.
Gibbons was due to partner the Lees-trained Star Raider in his first race ride at Cessnock on Monday but the meeting was postponed after consistent heavy rain left the track waterlogged.
However, the Newcastle combination were also entered for race six on Tuesday at the Taree meeting, which looked set to go ahead following a track inspection on Monday morning. The course was rated a heavy 9 with favourable conditions to come.
Star Raider, which had a wide draw at Cessnock, has gate four in the benchmark 58 handicap over 1000m at Taree and was the $2 favourite with TAB Fixed Odds on Monday.
Gibbons rode the three-year-old Star Witness gelding to a trial win last week and he resumes after a win and two seconds in three starts in his first preparation.
"If I'd had the pick of the two days I would have picked Taree over today anyway," Gibbons said on Monday.
"Hopefully he goes tomorrow and it proves a blessing in disguise getting called off today.
"He was drawn a bit sticky at Cessnock and a couple with speed had drawn in.
"At Taree, depending what emergencies get a run, there's a chance he could jump from three or even two. And just the way the race sets up there, he looks to land second or third pair, somewhere you need to be, and he looks the best horses in the race."
While the meeting could be the race debut of Gibbons, it also shapes as a memorable program for his father, Andrew, who needs just two wins to lead the NSW jockeys' premiership which wraps up on Friday.
Gibbons snr has a full and impressive book of rides at Taree, including five in the mix for favouritism across the seven races.
He has first starter Gold Invest ($4) for Adam Duggan, Wild Sheila ($3), La Girl ($2), Jaja Chaboogie ($3) and Illecebrous ($5) for Lees and Men In Tights ($3.80) for Wayne Wilkes.
In his son's first race, Gibbons will ride Nicconi Lass ($18) for John Sprague.
"If no emergencies get a run, I'm in barrier three and and Dad's in barrier two, so I'll be trying my best to keep him in a pocket," Dylan laughed.
Andrew, chasing his first state crown, has 121 wins for the season in NSW to sit behind suspended premiership leader Blaike McDougall (122.5). He is sixth in Australia.
Lees has his maiden NSW trainers' premiership all but secured with 191 wins already this campaign. Chris Waller is the only trainer in sight on 179.5. Lees is fourth in Australia on 213.5.
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