Another chapter in the fast unfolding success story of Fortune Racing – the Yin and Yang of the Sport Of Kings – was written at Turffontein on Saturday.
In Chinese philosophy, Yin and Yang symbolise how opposite or contrary forces can be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent and that is how Ashley described herself and hubby Andrew at the launch of Fortune Racing earlier this year.
Having worked hard on throwing the concrete of their fledgeling business’ foundation phase, they struck with a sweetly taken feature double on a grand day. Their Vaal based famous family operation is unashamedly optimistic about the future after a dream run in their first six months.
Teamwork makes the dream work – it seems.
“Hey, I am always a bit nervous about these fancy Google motivational clichés, but you have probably hit the nail on the head,” said the charismatic Andrew Fortune as the satisfied smile lingered on his face five days after a super Saturday.
It took a while – through no fault of theirs – but the victory by Tsitsikamma Dance in the Grand Series Leg 2 and Big Mistake in the Grand Series Consolation was an extended plan come together.
“We have a nicely balanced team,” says the boss Ashley as she modestly hands the interview baton to Andrew.
“Ashley is so bloody patient – and she loves the horses and the people. She sorts out the niggles and our charges get plenty of love and care and physio. She gets them fit and they eat well. I know I do a lot of the marketing and the talking – but all these aspects are collectively important ingredients in the mix of a successful yard. We also have Derryl Daniels and Brett Bailey working for us now, so the string and the team is growing – and we are a happy motivated bunch,” adds the former SA Champion jockey, who cautions that if one doesn’t love the job then ‘rather throw in the towel’.
They have an exciting string of 2yo’s in the wings, but their success with second-hand horses has been particularly remarkable. Jumat Cola’s Tstsikamma Dance being one example.
“He has won two from two for us and we would love to take all the credit. But to be fair to his former trainer Brett Crawford, he had him for one run after he was gelded. He is a big fellow-500kgs plus. And he is only finding his feet now and maturing. So he is still improving,” muses Andrew, who adds that the smart son of Captain Al had once run to a best rating of about 100 in the Cape.
“It’s so easy to be a clever buyer when the horse is in the winner’s box. But I like to monitor that peak run as, unless there are unique circumstances, if they do it once they can do it again. Ashley is possibly looking at the Christmas Handicap at Greyville for Tsitsikamma Dance if things go to plan. But one has to be wary of the KZN heat at that time of the year.”
How does he feel about the Grand Series Match Race provisionally rostered for 8 December?
“I have never ridden in a match race. But it’s a great idea for public interest – I suppose it will be a winner takes all. Both our horse and Soldier On are improving sorts. It could be very interesting! I hope that they confirm the date soon. We want to give Tsitsikamma Dance a sharpener – maybe on 3 November – rather than run him over extra ground, which will be counterproductive,” he added.
On the merits of jockey Ryan Munger, who rode their feature double on Saturday, Andrew could not praise the young man enough.
“Ryan ticks all the boxes. He has the talent. The disposition. The personality. He is likeable and willing to listen. My words won’t be cold and he will be holding the SA champion jockey trophy aloft. And it’s strange – some of the senior jockeys don’t listen to instructions. Maybe they think I am not riding anymore so don’t take me too seriously! But Ryan is willing to act on what he is told. Ash and I watched the race over and over. Every detailed instruction was adhered to – at the right time. The big boys must watch out. This lad is going places,” chirped the former champion.
Ashley and Andrew will be attending the BSA Ready To Run Sale on 4 November.
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“I have ridden a good few of the horses at Summerhill and Far End. There are some lovely 2yo’s amongst them. We have a mandate to buy for existing and new clients. These are exciting days. But there is no time for gloating. Every day is a new day. We are all only as good as our next winner!” he laughed.