BY NICK GUTHRIE | Daily Liberal 7 November 2023

Three days after riding his 500th career winner, Clayton Gallagher got to celebrate another special moment at Dubbo Turf Club on Tuesday.

His winning treble wasn't just a highlight as it came on Melbourne Cup and Big Dance day, but also because it was on the jockey's birthday.

Gallagher won the day's first race before also taking out events four and five.

"A good way to start the day," Gallagher said after winning the first, before touching on milestone wins.

"It's always good. Ticking over the 500 keeps the confidence going. It's nice."

After saluting at Dubbo on Saturday aboard All I Have for Dubbo's Brett Robb, Gallagher combined with Gulgong trainer Brett Thompson to win Tuesday's opener with Apollo Star ($3 favourite).

Apollo Star was first-up from a 42-week spell in the Dubbo Plasterboard and Building Supplies Class 1 Handicap (1000m) but after a couple of trials he was far too strong for the rest of the field.

Thompson's four-year-old cleared away late to win by a comfortable two-and-a-half lengths in front of one of the better crowds seen at Dubbo on the biggest day of racing in the year.

Apollo Star now has two wins in seven starts and Gallagher, who hadn't ridden the gelding prior to Tuesday, expects more success in the future.

"It's quite a nice horse," Gallagher said.

"There's definitely a lot more improvement in it. He had them beat there today with ease so stepping up in grade will help a lot more.

"With more competition I think the horse will improve a lot more but we won't know until we try."

Have Mercy ($4.80, Ronald Simpson) and Island Rock ($4.20, Kath Bell-Pitomac) rounded out the minor placings.

Apollo Star's victory was followed by a win for Warrior's Kiss ($2.80 favourite, Wendy Peel) in the day's second event.

Gallagher then dominated the show by winning with the Gayna Williams-trained Gutsy ($3.60) and Hammoon Mayhem ($1.60 favourite) for Robb.

Meanwhile at Sydney, Coffs Harbour Cup winner Attractable ($19) took out the second edition of the $3 million Big Dance.

The feature event for country cup winners around the state went to Wyong trainer Sara Ryan.

Dubbo Gold Cup winner Iknowastar ($5.50) led for long periods before fading to finish 16th.

The best of the western area cup winners was Mudgee champion Camaguey ($61), who finished fourth for Kim Waugh.

Garry Lunn's Dubbo hope Knife's Edge finished 15th in the Little Dance later in the day.