Vaal trainer Ashley Fortune saddled her first winner in champagne fashion back on Champions Day in May when Let It Rain won the Gr3 Gold Vase.
Not even five months later she celebrated a close to perfect day at Turffontein on Saturday with a feature double that suggested that folk start sitting up and taking some notice.
Bolstered by the charismatic and technical support of her legendary better half, former SA Champion jockey Andrew Fortune, Ashley has broken through the brick walls of a male dominated industry that is probably going through its toughest times in history right now.
And sticking to the basics, she has built her string slowly and marked a terrific feature double with her 21st career winner, courtesy of Big Mistake’s thrilling victory in the R250 000 Grand Series Consolation to follow up on her Grand Series Leg 2 success with Tsitsikamma Dance.
Ryan Munger rode both her winners and must take plenty of the credit for the 60-1 double.
He tracked the leaders Seventh Of June and Gimme Hope Johanna before pouncing at the 300m as S’manga Khumalo and Flying Winger looked dangerous.
With Khumalo throwing the kitchen sink at Flying Winger under a left-handed whip, Munger pushed Big Mistake with the hands and the son of Querari responded like a soldier to win by a short head in a time of 88.27 secs.
Andrew Fortune was full of praise for the young rider.
“This lad’s okay – believe me. I know he rides a lot of winners in Kimberley but he can hold his own anywhere. And remember the best started in the small centres. I rode my first winner in Bloemfontein,”he laughed.
A R425 000 CTS Ready To Run graduate, Big Mistake has won 3 races with 6 places from 14 starts for stakes of R376 300. He has improved dramatically with gelding and a change of scenery and is yet another second hand horse to gain a new lease on life with the Fortune yad.
The winner was bred by Normandy Stud and is by Querari (Oasis Dream) out of the one-time winning Hard Up mare, Marry For Money.
Originally with the Candice Bass-Robinson yard and a horse part-owned by Mayfair Speculators, Big Mistake was offered on the CRT Horses In Training Sale at Durbanville in July, but was not sold.
His current owner, Durban-based Chad Bushnell, leases him from Bryn Ressell.