When Elusive Fortune won Friday’s Listed Jamaica Handicap at Kenilworth, it marked an auspicious moment for owner Pamela Isdell, who watched the race all the way from sun-drenched Barbados.
Pamela and husband Neville spend three months of the year in South Africa and also live in Florida and France.
The racing bug bit Neville at an early age.
]He followed racing as a young boy in Zambia and when his family moved to South Africa, would go racing with his dad at Turffontein.
That passion for the Sport of Kings continued when he married Pamela, to the extent that in addition to Elusive Fortune, the couple also has shares in quite a few horses, amongst which the Dynasty three-year-old Salvator Mundi, an own brother to Gr2 winner Bunker Hunt
Trainer Justin Snaith admitted in the post-race interview that all credit for Elusive Fortune’s success has to go to Pamela for it was she who insisted that the daughter of Elusive Fort remain in training when he recommended retirement at age three!
Patience paid off in a big way, for the five-year-old is now a valuable commodity as a stakes winner of seven races!
Memories being as short as they are in the bloodstock world, Elusive Fortune’s success took us back in time, to the nineties to be exact. That’s when Dr Marianne Thomson of Ambiance Stud acquired the multiple Gr3 winner Jessamine, the third dam of Elusive Fortune.
Marianne remembers her fondly: “I bought her from Jean Heming, for whom she had won the Oaks Trial Futurity and the Gerald Rosenberg. She was a big, bold mare with a big head, a typical Del Sarto.”
Jessamine also boasted a pedigree out of the top drawer. A half-sister to the Gr1 Mercury Sprint winner Shoe Express, she was out of Try Your Best, a stakes winning half-sister to the top stayer Art De Vivre, while the family descends from Ofa, the dam of supreme champion Politician.
Jessamine proved an inspired purchase.
Rarely does a broodmare produce two Gr1 winners with her first two foals, yet Jessamine could lay claim to that achievement as the dam of the outstanding Al Mufti brothers The Sheik and Al Nitak.
The former was a classic winner of the Gr1 Cape Derby and Gr1 SA Guineas for Dennis Drier, while Al Nitak excelled at the other end of the stamina spectrum.
Trained by the late Buddy Maroun, he won both the Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint and the Gr1 Merchants and was voted the country’s Champion Older Sprinter in the same year Jessamine received the accolade as Broodmare of the Year.
Marianne retained most of Jessamine’s daughters, including Oyez, sired by National Assembly.
“She proved a difficult breeder and I eventually gave her away,” she said of the mare, who produced just three foals, one of which a filly by Al Mufti called Muhtaram. In contrast to her illustrious three-part brothers, she showed little on the track and after foaling Elusive Fortune, Marianne gave her to fellow veterinarian Dr Ashley Parker of Ascot Stud, where she produced foals by Vercingetorix and Global View before her death last year.
As fortune would have it, Marianne still has Jessamine’s last foal, the Jet Master mare Hi Jessie, whose Silvano daughter In Jest carried Mary Liley’s silks to a third career victory as recently as last week.
Hi Jessie is currently in foal to Rafeef.
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