Sport

I was born to ride horses – Dane Nelson

Popular jockey rides 1,000th winner, believes She's A Maneater is the best he has ever sat on

BY RUDDY ALLEN
Observer staff reporter

Friday, December 14, 2018

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It all started in 2002 when apprentice Dane Nelson rode his first winner, Guardian Angel, for trainer Paul Campbell.

The career of Nelson, which is far from being over, reached a crescendo on Wednesday, December 8, 2018, when the man from Waterford, St Catherine — a stone's throw away from the race track — brought home his 1,000th winner on the back of Musketoon for trainer Anthony Nunes. That's an average of approximately 62 winners per year recorded by Nelson.

In doing so, the “Warrior Chief”, as Nelson is known to racing fans, became the eighth rider to win 1,000 or more races in local racing history.

“What can I really say after I just won 1000 races? The feeling is so amazing and I am happy that I have won so many races as this is a very great achievement in my career. I will treasure this moment for the rest of my life.

“Not many have ridden 1,000 winners or more, so I must give thanks to reach this milestone as it means a lot me. This is something that I can look back at and be proud of,” an emotional Nelson said.

Only Winston Griffiths, (1,663), Trevor Simpson, (1,469), Charles Hussey, (1,239), Shane Ellis (1,194), Andrew Ramgeet (1,149), Emilio Rodriquez (1084), and Omar Walker (1,009) have won more races. Nelson won riding titles in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

“Over the years I have been working really hard at my profession. There is a lot of dedication, determination and commitment that I have been putting into this as riding is what I love and I have the belief in myself to do greatness.

“My career started out with the ups and downs, but it then began to pick up. I have worked so hard to be on top and I will continue to do the extra work to stay on top,” Nelson added.

The then named some of the better horses he has ridden.

“The best horse that I have ridden in my career so far is the brilliant filly She's A Maneater and I have won the biggest race of my career on her as well — the Diamond Mile last year.

She's A Maneater is a really great horse and also one of the best to race at Caymanas Park. I was happy that I got the opportunity that day to ride her in the biggest race of the year.

“I have also ridden the likes of Clock Work, who was also a brilliant horse; you have Ahwhofah as well. I cannot leave out Blast Them Away as he was a really nice horse.

Nelson recalled some of his most treasured moments.

“I am grateful for everything that has happened to me since I started my riding career. I have won three championships, a very good accomplishment. I have ridden Classic winners [and] I have ridden a Superstakes winner along with many Grade One winners.

“That slip-saddle ride aboard Kal Kal was a really good one and I rode six winners on November 17, 2013, which earned me a nomination for the RJR Sportsman and Sportswoman People's Choice award. So there is so much that I have accomplished throughout the years.

Are there any regrets? “I was born to ride horses; that is what I love and everything has turned out great for me and so I have no regrets choosing a profession as a jockey,” Nelson said.

Nelson's career statistics now stand at 1,000 local winners, 190 international winners, including five at the Santa Rosa Park racetrack in Trinidad and Tobago.

In total, Nelson has ridden 1,190 winners all time.

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