NEWCASTLE jockey Andrew Gibbons grabbed his first NSW jockeys premiership with a winning treble at Manning Valley Race Club's TAB meeting at Taree on Tuesday.
Two of the winners were for Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, who with 191 wins took his career winners past 2000 and secured the NSW trainers premiership from Rosehill's Chris Waller on 175.5.
Gibbons could add to his total of 124 with the season finishing Friday as his closest rival jockey Blake McDougall is suspended and on 122.5.
Gibbons celebrated his feat quietly after a long day riding on the heavy 9 rated track but it didn't surpass his personal best of 137 wins notched in the previous season.
He and Lees have combined for a large number of their wins at Taree, including numerous trebles and multiple wins, and it was somewhat fitting that Gibbons achieved glory at a track he has been so dominant on.
"It is different when the rail is out...it plays into my hands," Gibbons said of Tuesday's rail position.
He said keeping the inside untouched during the wet weather augured well for the club having fresh ground for its Taree Cup Carnival on August 21 and 23.
His first win was on promising two-year-old filly La Girl ($1.55) for Lees in the Stacks Law Firm Maiden Plate over 1250m.
She got further back than the stable thought and in only having her fourth start she was said to be a work in progress with plenty of upside.
No worries when they combined with three-year-old filly Jaja Chaboogie ($3.20) as she waltzed to a nearly two lengths winner at her third start after leading all the way in the Adrian Owen Equine Vet Class 2 Handicap over 1250m.
Gibbons also employed front-running tactics on consistent Taree three-year-old gelding Men In Tights ($2.70), trained by Wayne Wilkes, which scored by a half-length from Port Macquarie's honest Condover Hall, trained by Neil Godbolt, in the National Jockey Trust Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1800m.
Wilkes was impressed with the way his charge "toughed it out" at its first start beyond a mile and "was still giving at the end".
Mid North Coast gallopers which survived the multitude scratchings due to the wet had a good meeting.
Godbolt's four-year-old gelding Flying Mojo ($7.50) ridden a heady race by Jeff Kehoe, was rewarded for its consistency with a narrow win from another Port galloper, Razano ($9.50), trained by John Sprague, in the Taree Cup Carnival 21 & 23 August Class 1 & Maiden Plate over 2000m.
Godbolt said he was pleased connections had stuck with the horse as its form prior to getting it was okay and maybe there were more wins in store over similar distances.
The betting money proved spot on ($4.80 to $2.40) with four-year-old Taree gelding Flash Palace, trained by Jim Louizos for a big bunch of friends and ridden by Belinda Hodder, leading all the way for a 2.9 lengths win from Godbolt's Typhoon Bonny in The Galoots Benchmark 66 over 1250m.
The former Les Bridge galloper was having its fifth run for Louizos and was badly checked in a Sydney Highway at its previous start.
Port's six-year-old gelding Bangalley Lad ($17) staved off a late challenge from Taree's Peachies Dream, trained by Bob Milligan, in being in the first three horses most of the way in the Book Now Taree Cup Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1000m.
The winner's trainer Allan Kehoe said "I got it all wrong" when he tried Bangalley Lad over 1400m at its previous start and would now concentrate on shorter distances.
Easiest win of the meeting was a five lengths romp by Qadira Star ($4.40), trained by Sally Taylor from Coffs Harbour and ridden by Jon Grisedale, in the Mid Coast Automotive Maiden over 1000m, it only having its second start.
Taylor said her charge was a "bit of a dope" in looking everywhere but responded well to the addition of blinkers for the first time.