Opie edging closer to a memorable Group 1 mark

4 min read
Champion jockey Opie Bosson has moved within touching distance of a decent slice of New Zealand racing history.

The 38-year-old took his career Group 1 tally to 60 at Ellerslie on Boxing Day when he again successfully combined with Danzdanzdance (NZ) (Mastercraftsman {IRE}) to take top honours in the Cambridge Stud Zabeel Classic.

Bosson is now just two behind Lance O’Sullivan, who retired in 2003 with 2479 victories to his name, 62 of them at the elite level and every top-flight race on the New Zealand racing calendar.

“I’m chasing Lance and I don’t really know how good this mare is, she’s still untapped.” - Opie Bosson.

“I’m chasing Lance and I don’t really know how good this mare is, she’s still untapped,” he said.

Bosson is unbeaten in two rides on the 4-year-old, having first reined her to victory in the G1 Captain Cook S. at Trentham earlier this month.

As expected at Ellerslie, Danzdanzdance settled in last spot and coasted along until she was asked to pick up ground 700 metres from home.

“I didn’t want to get caught napping and got pushed out a bit, but the ground was better out there,” Bosson said.

“I waited for as long as I could in the straight and she just sprinted away from them.” – Opie Bosson.

“I got on to the back of Lizzie L’Amour and she took me into it nicely. I waited for as long as I could in the straight and she just sprinted away from them.”

Danzdanzdance is trained at Ruakaka by Chris Gibbs and Michelle Bradley, the latter joining the partnership at the start of the season.

“It’s been amazing and means a great deal to all of us,” Bradley said. “The staff have done a fantastic job with the horse and I am just very lucky to be part of it all.”

Gibbs said Danzdanzdance's next New Zealand target would be the G1 Herbie Dyke S. at Te Rapa on February 9 with the possibility of an Australian campaign in the autumn.

“It’s definitely the Herbie Dyke and then the Doncaster has to be a big chance, after that I don’t know.” – Chris Gibbs.

“It’s definitely the Herbie Dyke and then the Doncaster has to be a big chance, after that I don’t know.”

Gibbs had concerns when the mare was forced to cover so much extra ground across the top, but once again her acceleration was evident.

“They all went and pushed them widest when they fanned out, but she was amazing again,” he said.

Danzdanzdance taking out the G1 Zabeel Classic

Danzdanzdance exploded clear in the closing 100 metres to give Bosson an easy time relegating Lizzie L’Amour (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}) to runner-up for the second consecutive year.

“She was beaten by a pretty good one, but she hit the line well and she’ll get another Group 1.” -Matthew Cameron.

“She was beaten by a pretty good one, but she hit the line well and she’ll get another Group 1,” rider Matthew Cameron said.

Her stablemate Jon Snow (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}) was a distant third and last year’s winner Authentic Paddy (NZ) (Howbaddouwantit {USA}) was fourth.

Danzdanzdance was bred at Blandford Lodge by Grahame and Helen-Gaye Bax, whose daughter Kylie bought the mare back at Karaka in 2016 for NZ$5000.

“It’s a real thrill for the whole family, we’re excited about it all.” - Graham Bax.

“It’s a real thrill for the whole family, we’re excited about it all,” Graham Bax said. “They are a great bunch of owners and some newbies to the game – I don’t think they know what they’ve got.”

Successfully syndicated by Kylie Bax, Danzdanzdance is out of the unraced Night Danza (Danzero) who is a daughter of the multiple winner and G1 South Australian Oaks runner-up Gretchen (NZ) (Bahhare {USA}).

She is a half-sister to the G2 Japan-New Zealand Trophy winner Silky Red Boxer (NZ) (Casual Lies {USA}) and to the dam of Lucia Valentina (NZ) (Savabeel) who won the Queen Elizabeth S,. Turnbull S. and the Vinery Stud S. at Group 1 level.

“It’s just unbelievable to get two Group 1s in a row,” Bax said. “It’s just an unbelievable feeling and great to hear the crowd calling her name.”