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    Gibbons Family Aims for Historic G1 Double at Wentworth Park
Gibbons Family Aims for Historic G1 Double at Wentworth Park
Lilly Banner. Source: newcastleherald.com.au

Gibbons Family Aims for Historic G1 Double at Wentworth Park

The Group 1 Peter Mosman Opal (520m) will always be a cherished memory for the Gibbons family, thanks to Lilly Banner's victory in the 2020 female feature. Owner/breeder Barry Gibbons and his son, trainer Barry Jr, are hoping for a repeat performance on Saturday night with Tulsi Banner, Lilly Banner's daughter.

This occasion might be even more remarkable as the father-son team pursues a G1 double at Wentworth Park. 

Tulsi Banner's littermate, Boston Banner, born in March 2022 to Blue Moon Rising and Lilly Banner, is also set to compete in the prestigious Vic Peters Classic (520m) for males.

Barry Gibbons Sr shared his excitement, recalling his previous Group 1 victories: "I’ve won two Group 1 races—the Peter Mosman with Lilly Banner and the Association Cup in 2003 with Big Sam Banner, trained by my nephew, Jason Mackay." 

Tulsi Banner is the fastest qualifier for the Peter Mosman, thanks to her impressive all-the-way heat victory in 29.59 seconds. This was her eighth win out of 13 starts and her second win from three races at Wentworth Park. Tulsi Banner is the $ 3.60-second favourite, with her early speed being crucial in overcoming her box six position. Gibbons Sr commented, "I think she can win, even though we have our usual boxes, six and seven. She’s got the early zip to offset the box, whereas Boston Banner doesn’t. She ran 5.32 early last week. That's rocketing!"

Boston Banner, who had his winning streak halted at five when he was the runner-up in his Vic Peters heat, clocked an impressive 29.44 seconds despite being narrowly beaten. This was the fastest time the Gibbons family has ever recorded at the Glebe circuit. Boston Banner is listed at $12 from box seven in the final.

Gibbons Sr explained Boston Banner's unexpected return to sprinting: "He was being set for a staying career, but there were no races for him, so we switched him back. He won at Richmond over 622m in 35.50, and we hoped he might become a front-running stayer, but what's the point when there aren’t enough races for him? He ran 29.44 last week, which is the quickest we've ever had one go at Wenty, and he gets beaten! I was just shaking my head."

As an experienced breeder, Gibbons Sr took a risk with the sire Blue Moon Rising, a son of Fernando Bale and Chica Destacada, and a dual G1 winner over 730m at The Meadows. "I took a risk with Blue Moon Rising, but we hit the jackpot!" he said. "He ran 29.58 at Wenty Park—that's not a stayer—and I reckon he was out of the litter of the decade. I copped plenty of criticism for using him, but I've had the last laugh. I would have used him again, but we’re not breeding anymore because of the state of the industry."

Despite having the best bitches, he has ever owned, Gibbons Sr cannot breed more due to industry rules. "I’ve got the best bitches I've ever had but I can't breed with them, because of the rules. I've got no room for any more dogs, and you've got to wait 18 months to get them into the GAP. Lilly Banner has had another litter of nine to Aussie Infrared, which are getting ear-branded today, but I can't breed with her again because I’ve got nowhere to put them. The people running the industry are dictating what you can and can’t do with your dogs. It’s a disgrace, and that's the truth."

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