Being in the right place at the right time changed Darren and Elizabeth Dance’s life some 21 years ago.
The Dances had no intention of becoming involved in racehorses but fate decreed otherwise. “I was driving a work mate home one day and he asked if I minded stopping at the yearling sales,” Darren recalled. “It was the Inglis Autumn Sale and I was introduced to Mark Riley.
“Mark was excited about a Jugah yearling that he had bought for $8,500. I thought about the colt on the way home and called him that night to buy a share in him.”
It was a classic case of beginner’s luck. Registered as Mookta, the colt won by six lengths on debut at Yarra Glen and raced on to G1 success in the Newmarket Handicap and Oakleigh Plate.
Before they knew it, Darren and Elizabeth had more horses and that led them to breed Mookta mare Skewiff who won two Group 3 races at Flemington.
The Victorian couple also bred Hobart Cup winner True Courser (Racer’s Edge), last-start G3 Bletchingly Stakes runner-up Rue Maple (Rubiton) and brilliant sprinter Uxorious (Choisir).
Uxorious made amends for Rue Maple’s narrow loss at Caulfield on July 30 when he won the G3 Spring Stakes at Morphettville last Saturday.
The Dances catalogued Uxorious for the 2006 Inglis Easter weanling sale under their Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock banner but took him back home when bidding only got as far as $34,000.
The Spring Stakes took his record to 7 wins in 13 starts and over $287,000 in prizemoney.
They also have a new-season 3yo half-brother to Uxorious by Bel Esprit. “He’s a cracking type,” Darren revealed. “And we are giving him plenty of time to find his feet.”
Darren purchased their dam Shiny Mai after visiting the Caulfield stables of trainer Alan Bailey. “She only had three starts and Alan told me she had plenty of ability. He regretted pushing her a bit too early and recommended I buy her. It’s proved a good move!”
Darren and Elizabeth retain a share in every horse they sell and there are another 25 foals due this spring including one by Choisir from Shiny Mai.
“That’s not necessarily a good commercial decision,” Darren admitted. “But we’re not in it for the money, we’re in for the fun of it!”