A full day of racing at the Dubbo Turf Club will give Allan Gibson a chance for one of his most promising horses to secure a change in fortune.
Alaskan Aura, the three-year-old gelding that came to Gibson's stable mid-way through last year, seemed set for a big 2020 after scoring their first win in early January at home in Dubbo.
Unfortunately, disappointing turns in Dubbo and Mudgee followed, with a tenth and eleventh place finish at each event.
While Gibson's still got plenty of confidence in a return to form with Alaskan Aura, he's made a few adjustments in order to give his young horse the best chance possible in what could be a future with fewer and fewer races in the mean-time.
"I was a bit dsappointed with him in that last run, the blinkers have gone back on him and hopefully it will work," Gibson said.
While the blinkers have been serving Alaskan Aura well, removing them has also paid dividends, making it a risky proposition for Gibson and his stable.
"Originally, we put them on him and it made him run a lot straighter as you'd expect, but he didn't have the keen-ness to hit the line, so we took them off again and he won that race with them off," Gibson said.
"He's a very strange horse, he doesn't like being crowded up too much and in that next start he got crowded out and didn't hit the line, so we've worked him in blinkers since then and it seems to have made him a bit more keen to go."
Drawing barrier 13 might even be a lucky break for Alaskan Aura, who drew out wide in his winning ride in Dubbo back at the start of the year.
"Even though he's drawn out wide, he might get to travel without getting crowded too much, he's a very small horse, I don't know wether he worries about the squeeze and that turns him off or if it's something else that gets him about it, but that could help," Gibson said.
"That's the idea, at least."
Alaskan Aura and Gibson will once again be partnering with Dubbo jockey Ken Dunbar for the start, with Dunbar having ridden Alaskan Aura for all his previous rides since coming to Gibson's stable.
"Kenny does a great job and he rides all my work for me, so where possible I have him on if I can," Gibson said.
Alaskan Aura will be riding in the Class 1 Handicap, which starts at 2.37pm, with the 1400m distance well-trod terrain for the local.
However, even if there is a win or placing in the cards for the three-year-old, there'll be few voices cheering, with the Dubbo Turf Club operating a skeleton crew and not open to anyone considered non-essential under Racing NSW's new guidelines.