Fortune favours Fortune

Jimmy Fortune showed he is bang in form as he warmed up before hopefully lighting up Bonfire in the Dante this afternoon with a 701/1 treble at Lingfield yesterday.

Roserrow, at 12/1 showed little in his racecourse debut in the Wood Ditton Stakes at Newmarket last month, but like many of trainer Andrew Balding’s runners showed the benefit of that first run for a comfortable victory.

Woolston Ferry was the middle leg of the treble. The horse was having his first run for Henry Candy. The combination of a four month break, a change of scene and a new jockey worked wonders, and Woolston Ferry posted his first success since September 2010 at odds of 8/1. The way he did it, sprinting clear in the final furlong suggests he’ll go up a few pounds in the handicap, but he’s on a mark of 66 at the moment, and has won off 84 in the past. Fortune said, “He did it well and he’s an old handicapper who likes he track and likes the surface.”

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Fortune closed off his across the trainer trio in the final race, piloting Alfraamsey for Sheena West to a five length success at 5/1. I don’t, however, see any omens in this win for the new England manager’s team in this summer’s European championships.

Fortune has enjoyed big race success in his previous job when riding for John Gosden, with wins in the 2007 St Leger on Lucarno, and Group 1 victories at Ascot in 2008 on Raven’s Pass and Rainbow View. But since the break up of that partnership two years ago things have been much quieter for the jockey. Bonfire, currently second favourite behind Camelot for the Derby, represents the best chance since then of putting the 39 year old Irishman back in the spotlight.

Trainer Andrew Balding was confident that the friskiness before a race Bonfire showed last year when he had to be accompanied to the start by a pony, has gone, and the horse will be straightforward to deal with at the start. He said, “I don’t think we will need to pony him. He was a bit tricky last year but he’s been as good as gold this year. He’s a decent horse whose form is in the book but he’s having his first run of the year.”

Fortune will be hoping his next one sees him win the Derby.

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