There was extra confusion at the start of 2002 in Spain when the initials J.Fortune appeared on the card at the Mijas racetrack.
Straight from the off, J.Fortune, rattled in a winning treble, and experienced turf fans were singing the praises of Jimmy Fortune, that well known top 10 English jockey, ex-Luca Cumani, now with John Gosden, retained jockey to Robert Sangster and all that.
It took people about 4 weeks to realise that indeed it was not the ex-Luca Cumani Champion Apprentice but good old John Fortune, at least 10 years older and from Scotland.
The 40 year-old Scot has been everywhere in the world.....Macau, Scandanavia, Ireland, U.S.A., India, Australia, France, Germany. etc, etc. John admits to being a bit of a gypsy but has plied his trade well and made the most of the opportunities presented to him.
The Spanish turf fans were quick to name him "Popeye" and were impressed by his trick of flashing a complete set of false bottom teeth.
However, fans truly doffed their hats when John rode in the Listed Copa de Oro de San Sebastian on the aptly named Dangerously Good, an unconsidered 35-1 shot !
Going into the first turn, John bided his time and hunted his way around behind the fast pace. Indeed, he was last and a full 15 lengths behind turning into the 450m San Sebastian straight.
Yet, with patience and cunning, he cajoled the horse to improve its position in the run to the line and produced a marvellous victory, arriving late on the scene 50 yards from the post to lift the £22,000 purse together with a £14,000 solid gold cup. It was even more fitting as John had ridden the sire of the winner, Shareef Dancer, when he had worked for Sir Michael Stoute in the 1980's.
John is based at the Mijas track near Marbella and rides mainly for a strong group of English patrons.
In March, 2003, John rode a Spanish-trained, Argentinian-bred, English owned horse, Mr Tango, to victory in the Listed Sandbahn Grand Prix at Neuss in Germany, streaking in by a cosy 4 lengths.....showing once again that he likes to make things as international as possible!