Andrew Fortune gives thumbs up to speedy Winter Smoke
Straight-talking horseman can’t believe his filly is not favourite for the seventh race at Turffontein on Saturday
If there was a poll for the most popular personality in racing, Andrew Fortune would probably get the most votes. Even Donald Trump might not call for a recount.
Now in his fifties, Fortune’s career has had more ups and downs than a malaria patient’s temperature chart. The high was winning the jockeys championship in 2008/9 and the lows have been so many run-ins with the Jockey Club (NHRA) that he has probably lost count.
In a 2017 interview, he said: “Let’s be honest — we’re all human and we all make mistakes.”
While some racing fans consider Fortune to have somewhat of a wacky streak, they love the fact he tells it like it is — particularly in TV interviews.
“Sometimes people can be quite negative about racing and that makes me sad. Hopefully I bring a bit of humour and a bit of sunshine.”
There isn’t any negativity from Fortune in his interviews. While others trot out the same words race after race — “thanks for the opportunity” and “well done to the team at home” — this talented horseman says it like he sees it.
“Can’t believe we weren’t tipped first — don’t you tipsters study form?”
Fortune’s wife Ashley has sent out 32 winners this term and will be hoping to add to that tally when speedster Winter Smoke takes on Thumbs Up (the early 18-10 favourite) and five other rivals in the seventh race at Turffontein on Saturday.
What does her husband think of the filly’s chances? “I can’t believe we’re not favourite. She should be evens and Thumbs Up 3-1. She had a temperature for two days after her last run so we gave her eight days off. She’s probably 70% right, but she doesn’t have to be 100% to beat this lot,” said Fortune.
After Saturday, it’s a KZN campaign with a run there on May 9 followed by the SA Fillies Sprint at Scottsville.
With In The Dance having contested only one race since July 2020, Thumbs Up does rate the main threat to Winter Smoke. The daughter of Gimmethegreenlight romped home by five lengths on her most recent outing and was given an eight-point penalty.
Even so, the rating of the Johan Janse van Vuuren inmate is still nine points less than Winter Smoke.
Paddy Kruyer did a good job with Freedom Seeker in the Cape, but owner Hassan Adams has now moved the Aussie import to the Highveld. She might make the first three on Saturday, but it is certainly worth keeping an eye on her when returned to handicap company.
The first leg of the Pick 6 looks like a trappy contest with the principals likely to be Nebraas, Herodotus and Stone Cold. The form of the latter’s Egoli Mile win has been franked.
Bred at Heversham Stud, Herodotus has been knocking on the door for a third win and — drawn in pole position — the grey should go well in the hands of Chase Maujean. The gelding’s half-brother made R140,000 at the recent Yearling Sales.
In the sixth race, Alec Laird saddles the lightly weighted Contrail who caused a few heebie-jeebies for those who backed the colt at his early odds of 6-1 when winning at Scottsville recently. Firstly, S’manga Khumalo had travel problems but eventually made it to the course before running into traffic 400m from home.
Happily, Khumalo, being the talented rider he is, overcame the hindrance and Contrail escaped with a three-point penalty. The worry on Saturday is whether young Xola Jabobs can deal with a wide draw.
Tight Five has to be included in all bets as the Sean Tarry inmate ran third behind recent winner Bartholdi on his most recent outing. This is only the seventh career start for the Pomodoro gelding.
Racing is at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday and it could pay to follow the team of Dean Kannemeyer and Keagan De Melo. They have the possibility of a four-timer with What A Ryder (first race), Sir Michael (fourth), Meet At The George (sixth) and Silver Maria (seventh). The latter, a well-bred daughter of Silvano, may be the pick of the quartet.
1st Race: (2) Illuminate (6) Virocana (4) Consol Queen (7) Euphoriant
2nd Race: (1) Master Supreme (3) Bold Resolve (2) Techno Savvy (5) Liverpool Legend
3rd Race: (2) Bold Fortune (1) Castle Durrow (8) Making A Scene (3) Jive Express
4th Race: (2) Herodotus (7) Nebraas (4) Stone Cold (3) Nordic Rebel
5th Race: (1) Trend Master (6) Hotchiwitchi (8) Irish Rain (5) Waqaas
6th Race: (9) Contrail (2) Tight Five (4) Mohican (5) Euro Cent
7th Race: (1) Winter Smoke (3) Thumbs Up (5) Freedom Seeker (4) Rapid Fire
8th Race: (5) Full Velocity (7) Inherit The Rain (9) Supreme Dance (3) Written In Stone
9th Race: (11) The Makwakkers (1) Gilboa (5) Putins Promise (7) Blue Spark
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