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Free My Heart ‘Didn’t Enjoy Being Bustled’

He won the Derby - but didn't stay the trip

‘The Candyman’ Andrew Fortune has conceded that his ride on Free My Heart, when running third behind El Picha and Young Rake in the 2000 Rothmans Durban July, was ‘probably not my finest moment’.

The retired former SA champion jockey was responding to the observation by Sporting Post commentator Gavin that he ‘gave Free My Heart too much ground to make up’ on a comment posted on The Last Rothmans July editorial.

Free My Heart in action

“I’m the last person who will argue against something that I know is probably a fair assessment,” said Andrew in a chat with the Sporting Post on Monday, day 11 of the lockdown.

The gelding Free My Heart won three Gr1 races during the 2000 SA Champions Season.

The top jockey says he was a horse that he was ‘lucky to pick up early on’ when few realised just how good he was.

“He was a much better miler and was a different horse over that trip. I must admit that I rode a brilliant race on him in the Natal Derby when they cantered and we got up to nab Young Rake on the line. We also won the Nissan Challenge and the Daily News. But the truth is that he was a horse that didn’t like being bustled and rushed along. So I rode him accordingly in the July. Maybe it was a combination of general July inexperience and knowing that he liked to be left alone that saw us a bit out of our ground. Today, I probably would have made sure he was two lengths closer. But not many horses win the July from that far off,” he observed.

On the general sentiment around the coronavirus lockdown, the charismatic Fortune said that it was obviously ‘a much bigger situation than racing’.

“We all want to get back racing and to normality as we see it as soon as possible. But my message is to just love your families and be thankful for the small mercies. It’s entirely by God’s grace how this pandemic evolves. Whether we race in a week, a month or six months – who knows? It’s important – but it’s not the most important thing,” he concluded.

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6 comments on “Free My Heart ‘Didn’t Enjoy Being Bustled’

  1. Pops says:

    Age must be catching up with Andrew.Not one little expletive for old time sake.
    But suppose he did give us, I must admit that I rode a brilliant race on him in the Natal Derby”, to know this is the same person that had us rushing to the TVs to hear his post race interviews.

    1. Editor says:

      Age has mellowed the champ, Pops
      Still calls a spade a spade …just more considered

  2. Cecil Pienaar says:

    What a Gentleman, others might have taken offence by being asked this question. I really enjoyed the Interviews he had with Laff on his visits to KZN …

    Nice article, reminder that Young Rake lost 2 big ones on the line.

    Lastly, good advice from a family man on what’s happening to the world right now.

    Andrew Fortune you are the man 👍

  3. Rajen says:

    Garth Puller rode Free my heart to victory at Kennilworth (think it was his maiden victory over 2000m). His comments in the the post race interview ponited to this horse one day being a champion.


    In 1991, I think, Mr. Andrew Fortune won the SA Guineas on State Control.

    Again, I think it was trained by Darryl Hodgson.

    What wasn’t a maybe was the silky smooth, commanding performance.

  5. Gavin says:

    Nice Andrew… Classy response… Cheers candyman… My dad had a giggle when I showed him you responded to me…

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