By Phillip O'Brien
Dylan Gibbons has kept his Rising Star Series hopes alive – just – after winning Heat 16 at Scone on Tuesday 16th February.
Gibbons became the first apprentice to notch a treble of Rising Star wins for the current Series after piloting odds-on favourite Fleet Air Arm ($1.75) to victory for trainer Kris Lees.
The three-year-old remains unbeaten after sitting outside the leader Chico (Casey Waddell, $19) then sprinting away to a two-length win.
Chico held on for second in front of the fast-finishing Deepwood Vale (Reece Jones, $3.60).
Fleet Air Arm had previously won his debut at Port Macquarie by nearly three lengths and looks very promising.
Gibbons, boasting 29 points, has climbed to within seven points of Series leader Mikayla Weir on 36 points.
Gibbons needs to win the Final (run at Canterbury Park on Friday 26th February) to get the maximum seven points to draw level with Weir and having won more heats, would seize the Series on countback.
However, Weir only required a ride in the Final to get the minimum one point which puts her out of reach of Gibbons.
Brock Ryan had taken out the previous Rising Star Series heat at Wagga when successful on the favourite Nicci's Song ($2.50) for trainer Graeme Murray, defeating Patrick Scorse on Big Day Out ($4.40) and Madison Waters (Polyxena, $26).
RISING STAR SERIES SCOREBOARD
36 - Mikayla Weir
29 - Dylan Gibbons
21 - Tyler Schiller
16 - Chris Williams
15 - Jean Van Overmeire, Casey Waddell, Madison Waters
14 - Louise Day
13- Cejay Graham, Reece Jones
11 - Qin Young
9 - Emily Atkinson, Leah Kilner, Julia Presits
8 - Liam Blanch, Heni Ede, Brandon Griffiths
7 - Nyssa Burrells, Angela Cooper, Georgina McDonnell, Brock Ryan, Tom Sherry
Check out the Rising Star Series page for the latest point score, honour roll, conditions etc.