Journey of Fortune a pleasure for Smyth
By ROBIN PARKE
FORMER Sha Tin trainer Gordon Smyth has flown here from Britain to watch the horse he bought win tomorrow's $4 million Hong Kong Derby.
Smyth bought unlucky Classic Trial runner-up Fortune Ride for owner Brandon Ng and trainer Tony P. H. Chan. He said last night: ''It's a long way to come but I am very hopeful that it will all be worthwhile. The owner, whom I have known for a long time, is very happy with the horse and I have seen the video of the Classic Trial and I reckon he was a very unlucky runner. He could have won that.'' Smyth bought Fortune Ride because he was convinced the horse would develop into something really useful here.
''The horse was so backward that they weren't even going to put him in to training in England. He wasn't actually broken in until his early two-year-old year.
''He showed a lot of promise in an early run and I bought him with the feeling that he would be so much better with time. And the way he has been running this season suggests to me that's just what has happened.
''And he can win it, but you always need that little bit of luck,'' said Smyth who came closest to Derby success in Clear City's year.
That was in 1988 and the Smyth-trained Royal Sovereign finished fourth with Peter Leyshan aboard.
''We were unlucky although I don't believe we would have won. Tony Cruz interfered with us and got four days - but he also won the Derby. We'd have finished second,'' said Smyth.
But Smyth does know what it's all about to win a Derby. He captured the biggest of all when Charlottown won the 1966 Epsom Derby with Scobie Breasley up.