Fortune playing her part as females make waves in 2021
But trainer has a tough task with the favourite Winter Smoke in the Sycamore Sprint on Saturday
The song Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves springs to mind when reflecting on what the female sex has achieved in the first weeks of 2021.
Kamala Harris was sworn in as the US vice-president, Rachael Blackmore was riding winners at Cheltenham this week and Ashley Fortune saddled her 27th winner of the season at the Vaal on Tuesday.
Twelve days on from International Women’s Day, Fortune is again demonstrating her talent in her profession and she saddles the favourite Winter Smoke in Saturday’s Sycamore Sprint at Turffontein.
March 8 was Women’s Day, which commemorates the cultural, political and socioeconomic achievements of women. Fortune has done her bit in the sporting world in the past 12 months and finished in ninth place on the 2019/2020 national trainers log.
Fortune married charismatic former champion jockey Andrew Fortune in 2016 and — knowing racing as well as he does — he will be aware Winter Smoke has no easy task in Saturday’s R125,000 race.
For starters, the daughter of What A Winter is the only three-year-old in the race and the filly has to concede 4kg to Sean Tarry’s four-year-old Tropic Sun.
However, Winter Smoke’s formline is impressive and it was no disgrace to be beaten into fourth place behind True To Life in February’s Tommy Hotspur Handicap.
It was a shrewd move of leading owner Chris van Nierkerk to send Jet Master’s son Skitt Skizzle to Bosworth Farm Stud and the Klerksdorp-based stallion has produced a number of decent performers, notably six-time winner Tierra Del Fuego. The five-year-old runs in Saturday’s second race.
Skitt Skizzle’s daughter Tropic Sun is a two-time winner from eight starts and she has bumped two talented sorts in MK’s Pride and Sweet Future in her past two outings.
Jockey Calvin Habib, who rides Winter Smoke, partnered Tropic Sun in her most recent race when finishing nearly four lengths behind Sweet Future. He will have a fair idea which horse will win.
Stephen Moffatt has done a sterling job with Rio’s Winter with his Oratorio filly having earned six times her purchase price posting four wins from 17 starts. The four-year-old may have to settle for a minor placing as she is 4.5kg worse off with Tropic Sun compared to their clash at the Vaal in December.
Both Double ‘O’ Eight and Risk Taker have place prospects, but this looks a favourites exacta with Winter Smoke taken to hold off the challenge of Tropic Sun.
Sean Tarry sends a team of 18 runners to the city track and the stable’s best chance of success lies with Putontheredlight in the final leg of the jackpot.
The son of Pomodoro escaped with only a three-point penalty for his recent Vaal win and — drawn in pole position — can prove too smart for the bottom-weight Nordic Rebel.
Category Four — now a seven-time winner — is enjoying an outstanding season for Grant Maroun and is another promising ride for Calvin Habib. However, the gelding’s merit-rating has risen to 95 and the handicapper may now have his measure.
In contrast to the Sycamore Sprint, the supporting feature, the Jacaranda Handicap, sets punters a real poser with the majority of the 11 runners in with a chance.
Sparkling Water, fourth in the recent grade 1 Fillies Classic, makes plenty of appeal with just 52kg on her back and could edge out another light weight, Seehaam.
Dorrie Sham’s filly Shivers is overdue a fourth win and comes into the reckoning along with Ballet Shoes and Anton Marcus’s mount Jet Start.
Tarry introduces a R2.3m Silvano juvenile in the first race. The champion trainer’s comment to Winning Form was: “On the sharp side but will be running on.”
1st Race: No Selection
2nd Race: (5) Bingwa (2) Kelpie (4) Marygold (3) Captain And Master
3rd Race: (6) Hollywoodbound (11) Route Sixty Six (2) Freed From Desire (14) Voltron
4th Race: (2) Eyes On Tiger (3) Grappler (1) Royal Wulff (9) Country Mile
5th Race: (11) Irish Willow (1) Grimaldi (2) Manterio (3) Track Commander
6th Race: (9) Sparkling Water (7) Seehaam (5) Shivers (1) Jet Start
7th Race: (2) Winter Smoke (8) Tropic Sun (3) Rio’s Winter (4) Double ‘O’ Eight
8th Race: (4) Putontheredlight (8) Nordic Rebel (5) Category Four (3) Approach Control
9th Race: (7) Mohican (4) Silver Master (1) Last Of The Legend (5) Cleveland
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