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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Thursday, June 29 2017

Danielle Johnson will take on the best female riders in the world when she travels to Sweden to compete in the inaugural Lady Jockeys’ Thoroughbred World Championship.

“I leave this Saturday, straight after the meeting at Te Rapa. I’ll head straight up to Auckland airport to fly out that night and will land in Sweden on Sunday night their time,” Johnson said.Danielle Johnson - Trish Dunell Photography

The competition will take place on July 4 at the newly built Bro Park, located 40 kilometres outside of Stockholm.

The track isn’t foreign to Johnson who competed in a similar competition at the venue’s opening last year, but was plagued by bad draws.

“They had a really good turn out last year,” Johnson said. “It was a great day with a lot of people attending, but this year I hope to get better luck with the draw of my horses.”

She will compete against nine other riders over five races on Bro Park’s 1900m dirt and 2100m turf tracks, including Britain’s most successful jockey Hayley Turner who is coming out of retirement for the competition.

“I’m really looking forward to returning to Sweden and competing against some of the best female jockeys in the world,” Johnson said.

Trotting dominates racing interest in the Scandinavian country, but Johnson said the thoroughbred industry is trying to increase its popularity. They have some star power assisting their cause with former ABBA member Benny Andersson backing the competition under his Chess Racing banner.

“Harness Racing is so big over there, galloping is such a small part of their industry. But they are trying to make it bigger with events such as the Female World Championship and investing in tracks like Bro Park,” she said.

“It’s an amazing set-up that they have over there. Last year was such a fantastic experience, but the track was still maturing, so going back over there I’d say there would be a huge change.”

After the one-day competition, Johnson will take advantage of being in Europe and will visit family in England and France before flying back to New Zealand.

“My mum’s family is from Europe so I’m going to London on July 5 to catch-up with a few uncles and then I’ll travel to Nice as well to see my other uncle.

“I’ll then arrive back in New Zealand on the 13th, before Stephen (Marsh) and I go to Hawaii for a proper holiday for two weeks.”

A front-runner for New Zealand’s jockey premiership, Johnson said she was going to go to Sweden regardless of her position, but with Chris Johnson now 11 wins ahead of her she has elected to extend her stay.

“Chris has kicked quite clear of me now. He’s going to keep travelling and will be very hard to beat,” she said.

“I was going to go to Sweden regardless of where I was on the premiership, it’s an opportunity that you just can’t pass up.”

Before jetting off to the other side of the world, Johnson will ride five runners at Te Rapa on Saturday and rates last start winner Sacred Guru as her best chance on the nine race program.

“He’s got a lot of natural speed. He’s drawn nine over 1400m. I’d say he’ll jump and go forward, but hopefully I won’t need to use him too much early on,” she said.

Posted by: Racing Desk AT 03:27 am   |  Permalink   |  Email