Fortune rides his luck with run of success
FORTUNE smiled at Sha Tin last night - the quietly spoken but devastatingly powerful visiting Irish jockey that is.
Jimmy Fortune had been without a winner until Saturday's meeting, the ninth of the season, the heat was on as it can be in no other racing jurisdiction and there was no more timely success for him than the David Hill-trained On The Beat.
'I'd like to think there's a few more to come,' Fortune laughed at the time.
Last night he was true to his word as his enormous strength and vigour in a finish secured a 153-1 back-to-back double on David Hayes' newcomer, Above All, in the feature Wayfoong Centenary Bowl, and Alex Wong Siu-tan's Jive Boy in the following fourth event.
'That's more like it,' beamed Fortune as he left the track last night.
'To be honest, I never really felt under too much pressure despite going those meetings without a winner.
'I just took the attitude that if I kept working hard and kept picking up the rides, the winners would eventually come because the thing about this place is that the handicapping is so close that virtually every horse in a race has a chance.' Not that Fortune hasn't examined his style and his riding tactics and adapted them slightly from what is required on the tough north of England circuit.
'Yes, I've worked on getting them out of the gates,' he said.
'In England it is best to just let them fall out of the gates but here you must be quick out. They also rider tighter here and you've got to know your tactics really well.' Fortune knew exactly what he wanted to do on the Australian import Above All who had been working the track down yet still managed to jump at over 9-1.
Drawn in barrier 12, Fortune had him out and across to be racing on the rails just off the pace set by Namjong and Green Supreme.
The Irishman moved off the rails turning for home and had a good five lengths to make up on Green Supreme with 200 metres to run as Namjong dropped away.
When Fortune is in full cry there aren't too many jockeys who can combine his dynamism and his balance and he powered Above All to win going away by a neck from Green Supreme.
Hayes said: 'At this stage, Above All is one of more more forward and possibly better first-season imports.' Hayes, enjoying a bright start to his Hong Kong training career, then conceded with a broad smile: 'I was tossing up between running him tonight or in another 1,200-metre race at the end of the month.
'I'm glad it has all turned out how it did - and full marks to Jimmy.' Fortune then came from way off the pace to take a rough house 1,900-metre fourth event on Jive Boy.
As they turned for home there was a deal of scrimmaging between Time Fit and Drifting Away, with Kevin Manning on Time Fit lashing out at Basil Marcus after his attempts to barge his way through on Drifting Away.
As this was happening, Aim On Kris was travelling well but had no where to go.
Fortune found a neat path through on Jive Boy and when they burst clear in the final 100 metres they were never going to be caught.
Drifting Away kept on well for second and is going to be winning a good staying event this season.
There's also a decent prize over a mile or farther awaiting Patrick Biancone's grey, Glamorous Palace, the way he rallied to take the 1,400-metre fifth event from Highland Laddie.
'It's funny how racing can work out,' mused Biancone whose horses are really starting to fire.
'This horse only came here by accident.
'The owner's original horse went wrong and we picked up this one late as a replacement when there weren't too many to choose from.' Glamorous Palace was given another good ride by apprentice Simon 'Hong Kong' Yim who now needs just 11 winners before he graduates to the senior ranks in one of the success stories of local racing.
James K. C. Chan is another apprentice with a future.
He remained well balanced throughout as Bogie's Pride put in a big effort to take the last from the fast-finishing Basic Instinct and give Tony P. H. Chan his fourth winner of the season.
Piere Strydom rode a copybook race to take the first on Gagne Vite, tracking favourite Grand Prize into the straight before unleashing his race-winning challenge.
Last night's Triple Trio was only won to a $5 ticket leaving another $25 million for next Wednesday's dirt meeting.