Danielson has plenty of natural talent, being a superbly balanced rider with good hands, and his fine record in Gr1 events points to a good ‘big match’ temperament.
However, he has often been seen as one that should be higher on the national log and as he approaches his 30s the signs are that he could soon break through and become a genuine championship contender.
He recently acquired the nickname “super sub” from the Gauteng Tellytrack presenters for his ability to make the most of the opportunities given to him by leading trainer Sean Tarry.
Danielson currently travels between Gauteng and Port Elizabeth. On December 23 he had six rides at the Vaal and rode four winners, three for Tarry, and in his next meeting on Boxing Day he rode a treble at Fairview, two for his regular yard, Tara Laing, and another for Renate du Plessis, for whom he also rides often.
Tarry said, “Raymond is a good rider, he has plenty of ability, is balanced and always gives a horse a chance. The only thing he has probably lacked is self belief but his confidence is now growing day by day.”
Tarry added that Danielson rode more work than the other jockeys he used. “He has an affinity with horses and usually gets to know them quickly.”
This was illustrated in his relationship with the Gavin van Zyl-trained The Apache, whom he partnered to some notable victories in the 2010/2011 season. He learnt from his first ride on this unimposing colt in the Gr3 Graham Beck Stakes and the next time he rode him, in the Investec Dingaans over 1600m at Turffontein, was able to make up ground steadily in the straight before unleashing the kick that the horse was to become known for and which saw him sweeping through to win comfortably, despite odds of 40/1.
He then partnered him to victory in both the Gr1 Daily News 2000, at odds of 16/1, and the Gr1 Champions Cup, where he was backed in to 11/2. Danielson’s victory in the 2011 Champions Cup was the third time in succession he had won the race. He won it on the Joey Ramsden-trained 25/1 shot Ivory Trail in 2009, beating the mighty Pocket Power, and was victorious in 2010 aboard the Herman Brown-trained 20/1 shot Orbison, who beat the like of Pocket Power and the subsequent Vodacom Durban July winner Bold Silvano.
Danielson is 10th on the National Jockeys log at present with 41 winners at a strike rate of 14,09%. He looks set to surpass his 71 winners of last season, which earned him 16th place on the national log and which was achieved at a strike rate of 11,16%.
More than a few trainers will have noticed his recent confidence and he will likely be even more sort after for big races than he usually is.