Is FORTUNE set to smile on Jimmy?
TWELVE months ago jockey Jimmy Fortune was sitting on... well just that! The Irishman approached the stanjames Guineas Festival at Newmarket with his eyes firmly set on a Classic double.
Now, a year on, he will be trying to make up for that disappointment when Rainbow View attempts to become the third successive favourite to win the first fillies' Classic.
And if Fortune is successful, then it will be no more than he deserved after an unselfish act of sportsmanship robbed him of the biggest prize in his career so far.
That came at Santa Anita last October when Raven's Pass went to America for the Breeders Cup Classic - the race all of America, let alone the European assault team, wanted to win.
But there was a problem. Fortune had been hit by a ten-day ban and that ride would have been his first back in the saddle.
It was his decision to tell trainer John Gosden: "To go into a race as important as the Breeders' Cup Classic on my first ride in 11 days isn't fair to the horse, or to the owner. I would hate to have been the cause of the horse being beaten.
"It wasn't a case of me saying I wouldn't be fit enough, it was just that John asked me what was best to do and we decided to let Frankie Dettori ride him." There were cynics who suggested that Fortune would have lost the ride anyway because the colt was owned by HRH Princess Haya Of Jordan, the wife of Sheikh Mohammed, the man behind the Godolphin operation for which Dettori is the No 1 rider.
Anyone who thought that had conveniently forgotten that Princess Haya won the Derby at Epsom with the Jim Bolger trained New Approach with Bolger's stable jockey Kevin Manning in the saddle, and Dettori down in seventh place with the 20-1 shot from the Boys in Blue, Rio De La Plata.
The irony was not lost on Fortune. He had started his career with Bolger and, when he came to Newmarket, he was understudy to Dettori at Luca Cumani's stable.
As it turned out, the events of 12 months ago did not live up to expectations. .
Gosden colt began to drift alarmingly in the betting to such an extend that the sponsors suspended betting fearing that something was wrong with the horse.
Gosden thought the reports "bizarre", especially as the one filly who looked as though she would shake up the ante-post favourite, Fantasia, and in the same ownership, was not entered in the race and looks to be going for the Irish or French versions.
At one stage, Rainbow View was out to 9-1 but by midday was queen of the bookies' lists again. Rainbow View's critics advance her lack of physical stature as her Achilles' heel. The argument runs that last season's champion two-year-old filly was a mature specimen. Her opponents, by contrast, will have strengthened up over the winter recess.
"Size is not everything," he said. "I have been around a lot of good fillies that were diminutive, so that is not an issue. I'm in no doubt at all that she has trained on, ability-wise." It could not be argued that Gosden and Fortune have the best of records in the 1,000 Guineas. Gosden has only won the Classic once and that was in 2000 when Lahan won at 14-1 and ridden by Richard Hills. Fortune has had eight rides in the race and the fact he has to rely on outside rides is illustrated by the prices of some of his mounts.
Indeed, last year's mount Infallible was the best backed of them all at 4-1, he has ridden outsiders of 33-1, 50-1 and even Cartimandua who started at 200-1! The pressure will be on Fortune again but you would never imagine it. If he successful, there will no punching the air or flying dismounts. It will just be a confi- dent smile as he had a couple of years ago when he was top jockey at Royal Ascot.
Fortune is the consummate pro and, on this occasion, fortune can certainly shine on the brave at Newmarket today..
HOPES: Although he was riding two well-fancied horses, Ravens Pass and Infallible, both of them finished out of the frame, ending the mile trip in fourth place.
It's not as though he has not won a Classic and ironically enough, that particular "duck" was broken in 2007 when he was successful on Lucarno and like that horse, Rainbow View, is trained by Gosden and owned by George Strawbridge.
There is little doubt that apart from last year, this represents a cracking chance for Fortune to get off the mark in the Guineas.
Rainbow View caused quite a stir at Newmarket without getting involved in a race. During the Craven meeting, Gosden took his horse for a racecourse gallop and the reaction could not have been better.
Far better than a few days ago when the
HOPES: John Gosden CLASSIC CHANCE: Rainbow View and Jimmy Fortune hope to be in the winner's enclosure after today's big race at Newmarket