TRAINER David Nieuwenhuizen was relieved, more than anything else, when his runner Delightful Dancer skated home by 3.25-lengths in a Maiden Plate over 1600m around the bend on the Classic track at the Vaal on Thursday.

Delightful Dancer was drawn 15-16 for this, her second career start, and Nieuwenhuizen explained: “We expected her to win first time out, we wanted to get her Maiden out of the way so we could aim her at something bigger. When the draws came out I was very upset, but as it happened she galloped them off their feet anyway and we are delighted.”

Delightful Dancer, a chance ride for Piere Strydom, had to race fast around the field early to set the clip. Despite this disadvantage, she got stronger as the race unfolded and kicked clear impressively to win, unchallenged.

“We were lucky to get Piere after Andrew Fortune was stood down with a rib injury. Piere originally phoned just to ride our older runner Green Crest. He ended up without a ride in Delightful Dancer’s race and then got on her after all that. He is a different class jock, must have felt her stride well down to the start to have all that front-running confidence from a wide draw.  We’d like to use him again.”

Delightful Dancer is by top stallion Dynasty, and she is the fourth foal of Justin Snaith’s former superstar Dancer’s Daughter, the multiple Grade 1 winner and public darling. That she was sold for an unbelievably low R400,000 at the CTS Select Sale in April 2015, is quite astonishing.

Niewenhuizen told:  “I guess sometimes one has a bit of luck on your side. We really liked Delightful Dancer at the sale and my patrons Danny and Ronel Collins decided to take chance for the sake of it. We thought she’d go for R800,000, perhaps  more, but she was weak behind and immature so that may have put most buyers off. Danny couldn’t believe it when he raised his hand at 400k and we secured her.  It was a stroke of good fortune for us.

“I wasn’t worried about Delightful Dancer’s lack of maturity, Dancer’s Daughter also started late and then beat whatever they brought to tackle her.  We laid off Delightful Dancer, gave her time. She is still on the small side with some growing to do, but she is stronger and getting better. She looks like her mother, except that she has black hind legs, Dancer’s Daughter had white hind legs.”

Danny Collins hails from the insurance industry and recently started to expand his interests in the thoroughbred industry. Nieuwenhuizen said: “Danny and Ronel have been with me from day one and their love for the game has grown over the years, they deserve every bit of success. Danny has a few broodmares at Winterbach Stud, he is keen to breed and Delightful Dancer is one of a number of fillies he has invested in with a future view.”

Delightful Dancer will next be prepared for a minor feature race in Gauteng, but the longer-term aim is one of the CTS $500,000 races early in 2017. “I will be looking at the programme and discussing it with Danny and Ronel. Next year’s Triple Tiara is also a possibility for her,” Nieuwenhuizen said.

Photo by JC Photos.

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