Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

When it comes to being outspoken, UK politician Boris Johnson and former SA champion jockey Andrew Fortune are pretty much in the same boat.

Johnson, the former foreign secretary, commented that Muslim women who wear face veils look like "letterboxes" and "bank robbers".

Fortune, speaking to the Sporting Post, has ruffled a few feathers by stating that the new crop of jockeys in this country are "plain average".

"There’s a niche group at the top and the rest are plain average, ordinary," he said.

Fortune’s wife, Ashley, has made a successful start to her training career and the former champion feels a lot of hard work can be undone by a jockey not having the necessary skills.

"Why would you take an owner’s hard-earned cash for months and work your butt off to get a horse fit and then engage a jockey who is probably going to mess it all up in 60 seconds?"

Fortune did single out two jockeys, Richard Fourie and reigning champion Lyle Hewitson, as not falling into the "plain average" category.

Fourie cemented Fortune’s viewpoint with a treble at Durbanville last Tuesday, winning three of the past four races on Angel’s Trumpet, Talitha Borealis and Summer Moon.

Regarding Hewitson, who returns to race-riding after being sidelined by injury, Fortune said: "Hewitson has had a good grounding, he has a good brain too, and that helps."

Hewitson, due to ride in the SA team in Premier Gateway International Jockeys Challenge in Singapore on September 25, has two rides for Sean Tarry at Turffontein on Tuesday. The best chance of Hewitson returning with a winner may be Count Tassilo in the ninth race. He is a useful sort, but so is stablemate Pilou (S’manga Khumalo), who could take some pegging back if establishing a big lead

In the early market, World Sports Betting quotes Mike de Kock inmate Pietro Mascagni as the 9-2 favourite, with Count Tassilo on offer at 15-2.

Hewitson’s other mount is New Zealand, who rates a sound each-way chance in the sixth race. Penny From Heaven looks a big runner in this contest, while both Flowing Gown and Elegancia enter the calculations.