The Wheel Of Fortune

Big boots to fill for young apprentice

Apprentice Shadlee Fortune steers National Forest to record his first career win (Coastal Photos)

Apprentice Shadlee Fortune steers National Forest to record his first career win (Coastal Photos)

Apprentice jockey Shadlee Fortune rode the first winner of his short career at Fairview on Friday when he steered Hekkie Strydom’s National Forest to an easy win in the last race. The Cape Town born and bred 17 year old concedes that he has huge boots to fill but says that he has the love, support (and plenty of advice) from his family that gives him no excuses but to go all the way.

Currently in his matric year at the SA Jockey Academy at Summerveld in KZN, the next generation of a famous family name in South African horseracing says that the feeling of passing the post first was ‘inexplicable and a euphoric feeling I will absolutely never experience again.’

Shadlee Luke Fortune is nephew to former SA Champion Andrew Fortune, and a cousin of top Cape rider, Aldo Domeyer.

“My cousin Aldo Domeyer rode in the same race on Friday and at the pull up I heard somebody screaming my name. I turned and saw Aldo showing me a thumbs up with a broad smile and he couldn’t stop congratulating me and said that he was proud of me. Then my Uncle Granville (Cupido) was on course as he had a runner on the day. Having them both there to share my joy made the moment for me. It was very emotional,” said Shadlee.

Shadlee Fortune

Shadlee Fortune has the world at his feet

Aldo Domeyer is on record as saying that he thought that his enthusiastic younger cousin would do very well and also added rather modestly that he ‘reminds me a lot of myself.’

Shadlee certainly has a huge family following behind him. Uncle Granville Cupido is married to Ingrid Fortune (Andrew’s sister) and his proud Mom Tina is Andrew’s younger sister.

“Andrew walked in one day after races and Shadlee looked up at him and said, that’s it. I am going to be a champion jockey!” she told us.

Shadlee completed his junior schooling at Claremont Primary and then went on to SACS before leaving for the academy at the end of Standard 7.

His decision to spend a fortnight in Port Elizabeth paid handsome dividends.

“I asked the Academy if I could go down to the Eastern Cape. I enjoyed every moment. I phoned Mr Hekkie Strydom and he said I could come and ride work and he would see what he could do. I really tried hard and helped him where I could. I am indebted to him for his help and support. National Forest was my last ride in PE and I was so determined not to leave without a winner. Nothing like a bit of pressure!” he laughed.

Of his winning ride, Shadlee said that he was third going into the 400m.

“I asked her and she kept giving me more. We hit the front 300m out and she ran all the way to the line. That race is playing over and over in my head!” he said.

Aldo Domeyer

Cousin Aldo Domeyer

Is the polytrack much different to turf? “No,not vastly. Just the turns are tighter but I have had plenty of advice,” he said with a grin.

National Forest was one of six rides that Shadlee had in PE and was his sixteenth career ride in total.

Now back in Durban, Shadlee said he has had plenty of guidance and assistance from former multiple champion jockey Garth Puller who trains out of Clairwood.

“Mr Puller congratulated me and said that I will now feel better and more confident after that win. I hope to get a few rides from him and I am determined to make a success of my career,” he said.

With his uncle an SA champion and his cousin a champion apprentice, Shadlee realises that the Fortune name doesn’t come without the leadweights of huge expectations.

He goes to scale at 47kgs.

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