By Abby Delucyk
After backing up last year’s breakthrough season, star apprentice jockey Dylan Gibbons has continued to soar after making the leap to the metropolitan grade and is now a leading contender to take out the 2022/23 Rising Star Series.
Currently ranking in the top 10 for the Sydney Jockey Premiership, the young riding talent has adjusted to the first-grade league perfectly well by becoming a familiar face in the city. Though he says it’s not as easy as it might look.
“Naturally the best part of being a jockey is winning but there are also hardships involved,” he said.
“The mental side of having to be at the races and get up and go can be challenging both mentally and physically. I think it’s all about having to adapt to deal with this side of it.
“As I am naturally a smaller build, I find it quite easy to manage my weight thankfully as this is also a physical challenge. I set my minimum riding weight at a comfortable weight and learnt very quickly what I can and can’t eat.”
With Gibbons getting increasingly more rides due to his good performance, his schedule is a lot more booked than the average 21-year-old.
“It’s all about finding a good balance between work life and social life. Making sure you have hobbies and things planned for days off otherwise it becomes an endless cycle which isn’t healthy for anyone,” Gibbons mentions.
However the young gun wasn’t born a star in the saddle, only kick starting his dream to become a jockey at age 16 where he sat on a horse properly.
“Riding was a bit of a shock to the system and was a whole new world. Starting to ride was a pretty cool experience and felt like a relief to start my dream to be a jockey,” Gibbons said.
With no better inspiration than his respected father Andrew Gibbons, Dylan has plenty of experience and knowledge to call upon.
“I was always obsessed with racing growing up and had a one-track mind to becoming a jockey. Watching dad ride and the excitement he got when he won was enough to get me hooked and I just couldn’t get away from it. From day one, dad has always been the jockey I look up to.
“I used to make my grandparents take me to the races every Saturday at Newcastle and on school holidays I would go with dad everywhere no matter how far,” Gibbons said.
Gibbons gave an early glimpse of his potential by scoring his first major win, a Group 3 on Festival Dancer at his home track at Newcastle last season for Matthew Smith.