Never has the description “a game of two halves” been quite as appropriate as for trainer Richard Gibson’s current racing season.
Switching to the all-weather track, Forever Posh (Chad Schofield) became the latest part of that rebound when he won at the 16th time of asking on Saturday but only his second start for Gibson.
An 8-1 chance, Forever Posh won like a short-priced favourite, box seated to the turn then coming around only the leader to shoot clear.
“I actually didn’t think his first run was too bad from the wide draw but I was always confident about him going on to the dirt,” Gibson said.
“I think that was the key. Before he ran the first time for me, I thought he trialled exceptionally well on this surface and I knew he’d handle it well. We were lucky enough to get a good draw and that enabled him to sit up a lot handier and Chad did the rest. He put him into the race early and gave him a great ride – 10 out of 10.”
The first half of Gibson’s season was adversely affected by the pressures of having been the victim of an internet scam and, by February, the stable was barely treading water with only four wins for the campaign.
“I did say all along that I was sure the second half of the season would be better than the first half, and it’s certainly working out that way. We’re finishing the season off well and full credit to the staff,” Gibson said.
The turnaround in fortunes has been impressive, with Gibson landing nine wins in the last two months and now a winner at each of the last five meetings as he regains momentum.
Where Gibson had been looking in serious danger of missing the Jockey Club’s performance benchmark for the season, he is now needing another three wins in the remaining 17 race meetings to hit that mark.