Nelson stars with a bang
Three-time champion jockey Dane Nelson started the new season with a bang at Caymanas Park yesterday, thanks to three winners on the CTL Fan Appreciation Day programme, including TARANIS, (7-2) in the opening race over 1300 metres for the New Year's Day Trophy.
Nelson also won the fourth race with 4-1 chance PRINCESS SHEMIKA for trainer Steven Todd, and came back in the closing race to win aboard the lightly raced 5-1 shot RAS EMANUEL for trainer Peter McMaster over 1200 metres.
On an eventful day, which saw the stewards of the meet disqualifying two winners, Nelson was actually first past the post, aboard a fourth winner, PAPER N LACE (3-1) for trainer Fitzgerald Richards in division one of the McKay Security Trophy (claiming $180,000) supporting feature over 1820 metres, only to be disqualified and placed sixth, for causing interference to highly fancied OH MY GRAND PA (4-1) in the early stages. The race was awarded to long-time leader GRAN CORAZON, the 5-2 favourite.
Despite the misfortune, Nelson, champion jockey from 2012 to 2014, said he was happy to emerge the leading rider with a triple on the first day.
"I am pleased with all aspects of my riding, and although the plan is to do another stint in North America on and off this season, mainly at Woodbine in Toronto, Canada, I will always do well here for the benefit of my fans', said Nelson, who is popularly called 'The Warrior Chief'.
The Richard Azan-trained four-year-old gelding TARANIS ran on strongly to win the New Year's Day Trophy in a driving finish from highly fancied SOUTHERN CRUISE (5-2) with newly crowned champion jockey Shane Ellis aboard, this after the howling 1-5 favourite DRIPPING IN GOLD led until giving way to the third horse SHINING LIGHT (6-1) early in the straight.