LEGENDARY Falkland Islands Bred racehorse Dashing Dancer has died suddenly, reports devastated owner Maurice Davis.
He said that the mare, which won an historic six Governors Cups at the Stanley Sports Association (SSA) race meetings, seven Governors Cups at the Darwin Harbour meeting, and was Champion Horse in Stanley on six occasions, had the previous day been successfully brought to the mainland at Swan Inlet from Johnson Island in Falklands Sound, using the traditional method of swimming horses to the shore.
Mr Davis said the mare, which was sharing a corral with other horses, and had appeared to be in good shape, took a step backward and collapsed to the ground, dying immediately.
Dashing Dancer was sired by the Nijinsky stallion Thyer out of an imported Chilean mare Pollerita which won the Governor’s Cup in Stanley in 1998. She made a dramatic debut on the Stanley racecourse in 2004 when she won the Maiden Plate in a record time of 39 seconds. It was quite obvious to all race-goers that she was incredibly fast, very special and had a great future ahead of her.
Dashing Dancer’s overall record showed an incredible 81 wins from 87 starts, being placed 2nd in the other six races; edged out on each occasion by Tim Bonner’s Zafonic, another famous locally bred horse. However Dashing had her revenge by beating Zafonic in five Governor’s Cup in Stanley and three at the Darwin Harbour meetings.
It is absolutely astounding to record that on the Stanley racecourse the mare won 43 times from 44 starts, losing just the once to Zafonic in the Falklands Chase of 2013.
There has never been a winning sequence to equal that performance. Another legendary mare Bambina recorded an 88 per cent wining total after 24 firsts from 27 starts during the 1930s, but Dashing Dancer’s wining percentage is 97 per cent.
Arthur Turner who rode Dashing Dancer to victory in 11 of her 13 Governor’s Cup triumphs said he was “devastated” when Maurice Davis told him the sad news. Arthur said: “she was an exceptional mare, very good natured, lively but tame, great at starting and was never agitated.
“She is up there at the very top with the best horses I have ever ridden. I was privileged to be her jockey on so many occasions.”
Asked to pick out one particular memory, he said that winning the Governor’s Cup in Stanley in 2013 gave him the greatest thrill of all. “Zafonic got a flying start and I was away behind but did not panic and allowed Dashing to make her own pace. As we approached 100 yards from the finish I said my familiar words to her: ‘come on the train’ and she responded with a magic burst of speed that took her past Zafonic and first past the post.”
Sadly the ‘train’ will run no more and Falklands racecourses will be poorer for her absence.