Danielle the key to Dangerous Pony

Dangerous Pony (Danielle Johnson) forging to the winning post to record her second win at Avondale today.

Dangerous Pony (Danielle Johnson) with her ears pricked as she forges to the winning post to record her second win at Avondale today.

Danielle Johnson should expect another call-up to ride Dangerous Pony from trainer Shaune Ritchie after she again delivered the goods on the Shocking mare at Avondale today.

Dangerous Pony took her record to two wins from six starts and on each successful occasion Johnson has been in the saddle.

The pair combined to win a maiden 1200 metres at Matamata last month, but then a six-day suspension Johnson incurred aboard She Brings Joy at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day ruled her out of the ride on the four-year-old in her next start at Ruakaka on January 6.

That day she was ridden by apprentice Sam Weatherley and she dwelt at the start and was then held up in the run home before finishing fourth, a length and three-quarters behind the winner Bruce Arthur.

In today’s Alloway 1600 Dangerous Pony began well for Johnson and enjoyed a lovely run in the trail, third or fourth to the home turn. Then early in the run home there looked the threat of another unlucky run when Dangerous Pony was held up, but Johnson didn’t panic despite being in a pocket until inside the final 200 metres.

Johnson angled Dangerous Pony out with 150 metres to run and the mare stretched out well to record a strong win, turning the tables on the runner-up Floating Heart, who had been two placings ahead when runner-up behind Bruce Arthur at Ruakaka.

Johnson’s only other ride on Dangerous Pony was when finishing ninth at Ruakaka last September in the mare’s second start when the promising galloper was still learning the racing game.

Dangerous Pony is raced by her breeder, Gerard Petersen (under the GG Syndicate banner), and, being a daughter of Melbourne Cup winner Shocking, she gives the indication she will be even better when stepped up to a staying test.

Zuma (Jason Waddell) breaking through for her first win at Avondale today.

Zuma (Jason Waddell) breaking through for her first win at Avondale today.

The Cambridge centre was in the winner’s circle again two races later on today’s Avondale programme when the Chris McNab-trained Zuma broke through for her first win in the AJC Members Maiden.

Bred and raced by Windsor Park Stud, Zuma had been placed twice in six previous starts with the best result being a third behind Heaven Forbid over 1600 metres at Te Rapa last July in her second start. She then ran fourth on that same track when resuming last October.

She showed much improvement on her last-start sixth when she ran about at Tauranga and got in the deciding stride today.

Ridden by Jason Waddell, Zuma was midfield on settling but soon improved along the inner to be just behind the leaders, a position she held until early in the run home when being angled out to make her run.

Grand Soleil looked likely to score when in front 100 metres out, but Zuma wore her down and got up by a neck from the Tony Pike-trained filly.