There’s few who have been around the Dubbo Turf Club track more times than Ken Dunbar but trainer Wayne Martyn felt few of the veteran jockey’s rides would have been better than his performance on California Fox on Friday.
From out wide in barrier 12 in the Give Me 5 For Kids Class 1 Handicap (1310m), Dunbar got California Fox to streak around the field early on and settle into second spot behind Big Surprise ($101).
The Gibson-trained California Fox ($4.20) tracked the leader for much of the journey and when the field spread across the track down the straight he was tough enough to hold off the chasing pack to make it two wins from seven career starts.
“Unbelievable,” Dubbo-based Gibson said of the ride after the win.
“From that alley, he’s done it before and has now done it again. It was a very good ride.”
After seeing California Fox battle with tricky barrier draws at times during the early stages of his career, Friday’s victory made it successive wins for Gibson’s gelding.
It also meant it was two wins in three starts since making the move the Gibson’s stables at Dubbo.
California Fox only placed once in four starts when based with the highly-regarded training team of Peter and Paul Snowden, but Gibson is hopeful for stronger showings next preparation.
“We thought it was a hard one today. There was some hard horses to race against and a bad barrier again but very luckily we overcame that, like we did last time,” Gibson said.
“He showed some potential when running third at Wyong and then he had a spell and we bought him and his work has been good and he’s racing well.
“We’ll see how he stands now but we’ll give him a spell and then bring him back and hopefully he’ll win us a couple more.”
California Fox showed enough in Friday’s win to give Gibson plenty of hope for the future.
When he got his nose in front in the straight there was a host of other contenders looming.
Stoke It Up ($21) was pushing alongside Cutlass ($3.80) while Cameron Crockett’s Good Verdict ($6.50) was hurtling along the outside.
But Dunbar got California Fox to hold on and win by half-a-length from Stoke It Up while Good Verdict ran home for third.
That was Dunbar’s lone win for the day while Greg Ryan, Jake Pracey-Holmes and Anthony Cavallo all finished the eight-race meeting with doubles.