'Good feeling to be back a winner'

Back-from-injury Singaporean apprentice Darren Danis bounces back in New Zealand

Back-from-injury rider Darren Danis made his return to the winner's circle aboard outsider Sokitome in a Maiden race over 1,400m at Te Teko in New Zealand on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Singaporean apprentice jockey made his riding comeback only a week earlier, eight months after injuring his spine in a horror race fall at Washdyke on July 30 last year.

Indentured to Matamata trainers Wayne and Vanessa Hillis since 2014, Danis, who had 10 winners from 169 rides under the belt before his fall, said it was a "very good feeling" to cross the line first again.

This was especially so after his riding career hung in the balance, given the severity of his injury which resulted in plates having to be inserted to his fractured T4 and T5 vertebrae.

"It's a very good feeling to be back a winner. I've gone through a rough time in the last eight months but, with today's win, I can look forward now," said the son of jockey-turned-trained Luke Danis. "My horse sat handy from the start, but around 700m from home, he dropped the bit and dropped from fifth gear to third gear.

"But then, he picked up again and fought very well to the line to score by half-a-length. It's funny how my first win from injury came at Te Teko as that is the same racecourse where I rode my first winner - it's a good spot for me, for sure."