Jockey who had ‘no dance in me’ swaps racecourse for ballroom to win television show

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  • Former Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey Nina Carberry has been crowned champion of Ireland’s Dancing With The Stars.

    Nina danced her way to victory in the final of the Rte One television show on Sunday evening (27 March) with professional partner Pasquale La Rocca.

    The show ran for 12 weeks and included Rugby Union player Jordan Conroy, Paralympic swimmer Ellen Keane, Olympic cyclist Nicolas Roche, singer Erica Cody, and model Missy Keating among its 12-couple celebrity line-up.

    Credit: Sportsfile/Corbis via Getty Images)

    Nina became the first female jockey to ride a Cheltenham Festival winner in 18 years in 2005 – and went on to ride three more Cheltenham winners before her retirement in April 2018. When it was revealed in January she would be taking part in the television show she said it was the “hardest thing” she had ever done, and initially “wasn’t really sure” about taking part.

    “I’ve no dance in me at all,” said Nina. “I found it very hard in the first week, but at least in the second I started getting the hang of the steps.”

    Nina impressed judges Arthur Gourourlian, Brian Redmond, and Loraine Barry from the start, scoring 19 points and the highest mark of the opening night on 9 January.

    In Sunday’s grand final Nina and Pasquale fought off competition from Ellen and her dance partner Stephen Vincent, Erica and Denys Samon, and Jordan and Salome Chachua, scoring a maximum 30 points for their first performance of the evening, a Viennese waltz.

    They went on to earn a standing ovation for their final performance to If They Could See Me Now, after which judge Arthur said: “The big question, can you improve on perfection? The answer is yes, you can!”

    In a public vote Nina and Pasquale were crowned champions. Pasquale described Nina as a “dream woman” following the win.

    “I can’t sum it up. This is an incredible show and I’m delighted to be part of it,” said Nina.

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