There might not have been a win for Ken Dunbar at Dubbo Turf Club on Tuesday but it was still a meeting filled with plenty of meaning for the veteran jockey.
Of Dunbar's four rides on the day, two were for the late Allan Gibson.
The Dubbo trainer passed away on Sunday at the age of 78, following a short battle with cancer.
Dunbar was a regular rider for Gibson but what occurred on the track was just a small part of a strong mateship which developed over the course of more than two decades.
"It's still a bit surreal," Dunbar said of Gibson's passing.
The horses in Gibson's stables are set to be taken on by his son, Ashley, who has already indicated he will take out his own trainer's licence.
But on Tuesday it was still his father's name beside that of Zurburan and Alaskan Aura.
"We had those horses aimed specifically for those sort-of races and it was just disappointing he passed away a couple of days before the races," Dunbar said.
"But to still produce the horses and have them go around in his name was good."
While there was no perfect result and victory on Tuesday - where all jockeys wore black armbands - the Gibson-Dunbar team had enjoyed plenty of success over the years.
In more recent times there was some of the best results with the likes of Cowboys Karma and California Fox.
"Cowboys Karma won about five straight at one stage and I rode him to eight or nine wins," Dunbar said.
It was late in 2017 when California Fox won four successive races and Dunbar was in the saddle for two of those while he was also holding the whip when cup prelude events were won at Orange and Dubbo in 2019.
"They were two satisfying wins because he was a very hard horse to ride and to be able to get him to win a couple of races worth that bit more money was pretty good," Dunbar said.
California Fox also won a Winter Country Classic feature at Dubbo Turf Club.
As reported by long-time western area racecaller Col Hodges this week, Gibson was raised in Sydney and that's where his interest in horses started as Brian Thomas was an uncle of his wife Eileen Gibson.
Thomas was an apprentice jockey and later became a trainer at Canterbury.
As a trainer, he had the galloper Grey Reflection that was part-owned by Gibson and won at Royal Randwick and twice at Rosehill.
After becoming a licenced trainer Gibson had a small team of horses in action at Warwick Farm, with Island Joe a standout who scored wins at Randwick, Canterbury and his home track.
It was 1998 when Gibson headed west to Dubbo and as a gas fitter he established Western Gas Service, a business which he retired from in 2019.
I learned a fair bit from him in the past 20 years.Ken Dunbar
"I used to go to a fair few jobs with him and give him a hand with jobs he couldn't do on his own," Dunbar added.
"I learnt a few skills from him away from the race track as well. I learned a fair bit from him in the past 20 years so we had a good relationship that way, not just in racing.
"He was very knowledgeable and pretty switched on in the majority of things mechanical or industrial. He had a pretty good work ethic and there wasn't many who could go with him when he got going,": Dunbar added.
Gibson is survived by his wife and his son.
"Ashley is the man who will have to fill his Dad's shoes and that will be hard job for awhile," Dunbar said.
"But it will be a work in progress and I'll be there in the background trying to help him so we'll see how we go and hopefully in the next 12 months we can make a bit of a go of it."
Gavin Edwards, another friend of Gibson's, simply referred to the trainer as "just a bloody good bloke" to Racing NSW.
Allan Gibson's funeral will be held from 1.30pm on Tuesday, December 14, at St Brigid's Church on Brisbane Street, Dubbo.
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