The pride of breeder, owner and trainer St John Gray and Hadlow Stud, Dancewiththedevil, has sadly passed away unexpectedly in Mooi River. She was in foal to Willow Magic.
A five-time Gr1 winning mare by Modus Vivendi, she was born at Golden Acres (now known as Yellow Star and she was the produce of a stallion swop between Craig Ramsay and St John Gray) and grew out at Cathy and Jonathan Martin’s Hadlow Stud in Mooi River, who stand St John Gray’s breeding operation on their property amongst their own horses.
Cathy recalled that Dancewiththedevil was always the plain bay who never stood out and kept to herself in the paddock – she was never a horse who drew extra attention.
The daughter of mare Emperor’s Dance by Caesour went into training late as a 3yo, and gave St John one of the major highlights of his career to take the Gr1 wins in the Summer Cup Gr1, Gold Challenge Gr1, Empress Club Stakes Gr1 and Horse Chestnut Stakes Gr1 twice in a row.
In the process, she defeated the likes of the mighty Igugu and The Apache – who both went onto overseas campaigns and Dancewiththedevil followed – going into training with Roger Varian and destined for Ascot.
Sadly it didn’t go as planned after the star #kznbred filly injured her pelvis in the UK, and when she was well enough to travel she was sent back to South Africa.
St John Gray has her Silvano filly in training, and she has a Querari yearling filly and a Gimmethegreenlight filly foal left behind.
Dancewiththedevil earned close to R4-million in stakes and was voted Equus Champion Older Filly/Mare in 2011 as well as KZN Breeders Award for Horse-Of-The-Year, twice in a row.
Our thoughts go out to St John and the Martins on the loss of a great mare.