Singapore born apprentice Darren Danis continued his recent run of good form when he produced a patient ride to guide Cambridge galloper Elusive Treasure back to the winner’s circle at Te Rapa on Saturday.
The Martin Cruz-trained six-year-old had hinted he was set to regain winning form with a bold run for fourth in the Gr.3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie at the start of the month.
Facing just five rivals in the open 1600m contest, Danis bided his time with the Northern Meteor gelding as race favourite The Mitigator set a muddling pace in front.
Despite being last on the home corner Danis didn’t panic as he worked Elusive Treasure into the clear before unleashing a powerful burst to post a comfortable two and a quarter length victory.
It was Elusive Treasure’s fourth career win, with three of those coming at Te Rapa, while Danis notched his 18th victory for the season with a winning double on the day that sees him sitting comfortably within the top twenty on the national jockeys’ premiership.
Danis admitted he had been confident of a bold showing, especially with his three-kilogram claim reducing his mount’s weight down to a competitive 54kgs for the contest.
“I knew there was a bit of pace in the field and he always tries his best in the last bit,” Danis said.
“I wasn’t too far back in the field, so I thought I would probably run over the top of them carrying 54kgs.
“I have to thank the Cruz family for giving me the ride as he showed a lot of class in that field.”
Danis had some special support for the meeting with his family currently in New Zealand to watch him ride. His father Luke is a former rider who now trains in Malaysia and he was on hand with the camera to capture his son’s delight at the win.
“I just hope he gets a good one (picture),” Danis said.
Danis has made every post a winner this season after returning from a serious back injury following a nasty fall at Timaru in August last year. He spent eight months on the sidelines with two fractured vertebra in his back.
He returned to riding in March and has hit his straps in recent months where he now sits just six wins behind Corey Campbell in the race for the leading apprentice title this season. – NZ Racing Desk