Gibbons takes lessons learned into Montefilia's Tancred tilt

Two rides on multiple Group 1 winner Montefilia have taught Dylan Gibbons everything he needs to know to give the mare her best chance of a fifth major – and a first for himself – at Rosehill on Saturday.

Jockey : DYLAN GIBBONS. Picture: Steve Hart

The five-year-old backs up in the Group 1 $1.5m Kia Tancred Stakes (2400m) after chasing home Dubai Honour in last week's Ranvet Stakes.

While there was 4-1/2 lengths between the pair at the finish, Dylan Gibbons said Montefilia was gallant in defeat and the run suggested to him that David Payne will have her ready to peak.

"It was a little disheartening getting beaten that way, by a handy one, because she deserves another Group 1 but she has a bit of improvement in her,'' he said.

"I thought her run was super, she was only second-up and if you take the winner out of the race she beat some of our best horses at that trip and beat them comfortably.

"The 2000m to 2400m is probably her sweet spot, David is a smart man and I'm sure he will have her ready."

Montefilia has raced five times at 2400m for a Group 1 win in The Metropolitan in 2021, a fourth in the ATC Derby and fifth in the ATC Oaks of 2021 and fourths in the past two Caulfield Cups. She's also finished third in the VRC Oaks at 2500m.

Payne has only backed the mare up within seven days twice in her career – as a three-year-old for a win in the Spring Champion Stakes and her fifth in the ATC Oaks.

Gibbons said what he's learned in his two rides is that Montefilia is a mare who needs to be ridden a certain way to be most effective.

"She's a horse you can't get too caught up in trying to ride tactically, you've just got to ride what suits her best,'' he said.

"That's being left alone and when you go for her you've got to let her get her revs up.

"She's a big girl and she can't ping off the mark and run home in 33 for you but if you give her that time to build up she can maintain it over a period of time.

"I learned that first-up and it was pretty good second-up to know that's the way to go about it with her and David's happy when you do that."

Gibbons is only 21 and the Tancred will be his sixth Group 1 ride. After fellow star apprentice Tyler Schiller's breakthrough at the top level last weekend Gibbons knows with a ride like Montefilia, second favourite at $5 with TAB on Thursday, he has his best opportunity so far.

But his approach to the race is a professional one and it's taken him to fourth place on the Sydney Jockeys Premiership with 41 city wins.

"I try not to think about it too much, if you get your head wrapped around that sort of thing you set yourself up for disappointment,'' he said.

"It would be very good to get it but there's no point stressing about it and trying to force it. I've got to go out there and do my job like any another race and if it's going to happen it'll happen."

Among his other rides, Gibbons said Miss Einstein ran a handy race first-up two weeks ago and is well placed in the Midway Handicap (1300m).

"She's only going to take benefit into it second up and a bit of rain around will help her too. She drew a soft gate again so that plays into her favour,'' he said.

Never Talk disappointed Gibbons with her first-up performance and is looking to the skies for some help in the Group 3 EGroup Security Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m).

The mare was never a factor first-up at Randwick a month ago on a good track in a run Gibbons said was still right out of character even considering the firm ground.

"She just never had any interest and took any part in the race and that's very uncharacteristic for her. I don't think she pulled up with any issues and just had an off day,'' he said.

"We'll put the pen through that and forgive her for that one, and we'll assess her after Saturday. She'd love a lot of rain, more the merrier for her. "

Racing and Sports