Fortuna NZ

Authorized Thoroughbred Syndicators

Fortuna’s HIDDEN PROMISE breaks through for his first win in Singapore

Fortuna’s John Galvin had a bit of a chuckle after watching HIDDEN PROMISE’s Maiden win at Singapore’s Kranji race course Sunday 19th February, “Hidden Promise is a great name for him, because he has been a very slow maturing horse who had us scratching our heads at times during his preparations in NZ and Singapore, but he delivered the ‘promise’ tonight.” he said.

Showing steady improvement in each of his four starts prior to his Maiden victory, HIDDEN PROMISE, a 4yo gelding by Postponed out of the Zabeel mare, Promissory, drew nicely in Barrier One in the 1699 metre Class 5 event on Kranji’s turf track. Ridden by Te Akau Racing’s stable apprentice R Zawari, he covered not an ounce of extra ground one back on the rail. Steadily bought into the race by his rider after a hot pace was set by the two leaders, Zawari pulled HIDDEN PROMISE out to the centre of the track to challenge with what looked like a winning run. Inexplicably, the horse (nicknamed “Bart”) ducked back to the inside and finished up on the running rail. Undeterred, he kept finding, poked through on the inside of other runners and went to the line to score by a long neck in the good time of 1.35.62. Click HERE to see race replay

HIDDEN PROMISE wins his first race in Singapore 19th Feb 2017 - Click HERE to enlarge

HIDDEN PROMISE wins his first race in Singapore 19th Feb 2017 – Click HERE to enlarge

Trained in Singapore by Te Akau Racings, Mark Walker the 2016 Singapore Champion Trainer, HIDDEN PROMISE was selected by David Ellis on behalf of Fortuna at the 2014 NZ Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale from the draft of Westbury Stud for the price of $65,000. John Galvin also paid tribute to Te Akau Racing’s NZ Trainers, Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards, who prepared HIDDEN PROMISE in NZ before he went to Singapore, ” Steve and Jamie kept saying to me ‘he’ll be right – just needs time and maturity to show his best’ – they did a great job,” he said.

HIDDEN PROMISE is owned by the Fortuna Hidden Promise Syndicate, an ownership group of 28 individuals

Fortuna’s MAJOR TOM scores decisively in Singapore

Fortuna Three year old Gelding MAJOR TOM could not have been more impressive in breaking through for his first Singapore at his fourth start. By Darci Brahma out of the Group Two NZ winning mare, Spin N Grin, MAJOR TOM was beautifully handled with a class ride from Rizuan Shafiq. Already knocking on the door for a while, the Darci Brahma three-year-old left his 11 rivals reeling when a saloon passage presented itself at the top of the straight.  Lengthening up under Shafiq Rizuan’s urgings, Major Tom opened up to a commanding break and by the 200m was well clear as he went on to hit the line 1 ¾-length clear of the fast-finishing newcomer Chalaza (Danny Beasley) with Mr Exchequer (Matthew Kellady) boxing on well for third place another 2 ¼ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 22.86secs for the 1400m on the Short Course.

CLICK HERE to watch race replay

MAJOR TOM winning in Singapore - click to enlarge

MAJOR TOM winning in Singapore – click to enlarge

“He’s a promising horse who has kept improving with every run, especially when he will get over a mile,” said the 2015 Singapore champion trainer, Mark Walker. “He is well above average, and I will now run him in a Novice race over 1400m. The Three-Year-Old series is something I have in mind for him, but he will skip the first Leg and go for the second Leg instead.”

Walker was referring to the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge which kicks off with the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1200m) on March 26 followed by the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1400m) on April 14 and the Group 1 Singapore Guineas (1600m) on May 14.

Major Tom was acquired by Fortuna Director John Galvin in November 2015 for $80,000 in a private sale deal. He is owned and raced by the Fortuna Major Tom Syndicate, an ownership group of 31 people. ” I couldn’t be happier for this group of owners,” said John Galvin, “five of them are also in the Melody Belle Syndicate – she recently won NZ’s richest horse race, the Karaka Million, a number of the others are long term Fortuna stalwarts and we have a handful of newer clients in there as well.”

Fortuna’s MELODY BELLE wins the Karaka Million

Scenes of unbridled jubilation surrounded a stunning win by Melody Belle (2 f Commands – Meleka Belle, by Iffraaj) in the $1,000,000 Karaka Million (Listed, 1200m), on the eve of the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales, at Ellerslie.

MELODY BELLE wins the $1m Karaka Million at Ellerslie - click to enlarge - Picture courtesy of Race Images

MELODY BELLE wins the $1m Karaka Million at Ellerslie – click to enlarge – Picture courtesy of Race Images

Click HERE to see Race Video replay

Owned by the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate, managed by John Galvin, the first foal from winning mare Meleka Belle was purchased on behalf of Fortuna for $57,500 by David Ellis , from the draft of Haunui Farm, at the 2016 NZB Premier Yearling Sale.

In his welcoming speech, on the dais, after the Karaka Million, New Zealand Bloodstock founder Sir Peter Vela announced: “Next year not only will we have a million dollar two-year-old race, but a million dollar three-year-old race as wellThis horse (Melody Belle) was there to be bought by everybody, but David Ellis and John Galvin did the work as part of a great Te Akau/Fortuna Team,” Vela said“It’s a great pleasure to congratulate John, his owners, and the Te Akau team who made a fabulous choice in purchasing this Commands filly, from the draft of Haunui Farm, and ridden today by Opie Bosson to produce a dream result. We all dream about it and this group behind me on the podium can enjoy every moment of it, and my congratulations also to Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards who have done an outstanding job in preparing this horse to win today, unbelievable. Well done and all the best for the sales this year,” he said.

From barrier three, with blinkers on, Melody Belle (nicknamed “Valerie” in honour of Olympian Valerie Adams) was out fast before steadying for cover in fourth passing the 900m and once clear in the straight she pounced on the leaders at the 250m, quickly asserted a two-length advantage and never looked like being beaten thereafter.

It was a terrific ride by Bosson and even better effort by the filly, who really did win well.

“I wasn’t too sure what to think after her gallop (Tuesday), but she’s a really laidback filly and the blinkers went on today, which helped, and she was really sharp on the bridle and turning for home I couldn’t believe how well she was travelling,” Bosson said. “It shows that it’s not that expensive to get into a racehorse, into syndicates that John and Dave (Ellis) have, and to have a win like this is just unbelievable. It’s good to be home in NZ and working with Stephen Autridge; he’s my godfather, as well, and to get a big win for him is really humbling.”

Early mentioned in pre race comment by the Racing Media but thought by some punters to be a far better chance than her odds suggested, Melody Belle returned $32.40 & $6.60 on the tote ($26.00 & $6.00 fixed).

On Good3 footing, she ran the 1200 metres in 1:10.9 and final 600m in 35.0.

“Steve and Jamie and all the staff have done a great job,” Ellis said. “This filly is in the stable run by Kerry Jones and Milou Grylls, two of the best girls Te Akau has ever had in our thirty-five year history. I saw this filly at Haunui Farm, around this time last year, and she was bred by one the best breeders in New Zealand, the Sarten family, and she was a filly I just fell in love with the moment I saw her. She is by a great Australian stallion in Commands, from one of the best female families in New Zealand, and I was just so thrilled that we got the name Melody Belle, because Melody Belle was a filly that I watched race in the ‘70s and she was absolutely top-class. She was by Taipan II and raced by Marie Leicester’s, who bred this filly, parents Jim and Annie Sarten, and trained by Ray Verner. So you get a big thrill out of choosing a filly, and really knowing her background, and it’s a great team we have with Mark Walker, Jamie (Richards), helping me buy the horses. And my vet of over thirty years, Dr. Douglas Black, is there helping us and it’s just a real team effort.

“It’s been an incredible start to Jamie’s training career and you can see in the decisions that he and Steve are making, it’s a setup that is working very pleasingly. We’re going to be buying more horses this week to try and win the race next year, too.

“John Galvin and his Fortuna Syndicates have been such an important part of the stable and that’s the second million dollar race we’ve won for him, the first million dollar race was Tell A Tale (winning the 2000 Guineas) and now to win another one with Melody Belle just shows that he’s running a really good ship. He’s a very good operator, a very good communicator, a great winner, and a very gracious loser when things don’t go well, and we’re lucky to have him as a great supporter of Te Akau Racing.” Ellis said.

The win by Melody Belle followed another smart winner for Fortuna Syndications: Its Our Showtime (Showcasing) had been an impressive fresh-up winner a day earlier at Pukekohe.

John Galvin said: “It’s the third time that Fortuna has had a runner in this great race, the first two were unplaced but third time lucky today.

“I would particularly like to thank New Zealand Bloodstock and Sir Peter Vela for dreaming up the concept and putting this in place ten years ago.

I’ve had a long association with David Ellis and Te Akau Racing and David and Jamie bought this horse under budget and she is a great selection, so thank you all. Steve and Jamie have trained her to a tee and we thought that with the blinkers on, she could deliver if she got the run – and she did.

“Opie Bosson is a class act as a rider and he rode his first winner for me thirteen years ago. Thank you to Jasmine Fawcett for strapping the filly, Kerry Jones and Milou Grylls for looking after her so well at the stable and last but not least thank you to all the 27  wonderful owners we have in this syndicate.”

Co-Trainer Jamie Richards said: “It’s a huge buzz and full credit to everyone behind the scenes that buy the horses. David (Ellis) selected her and John’s gone on and syndicated her and the rest is history. The team at home have done a wonderful job with her and it was a lovely ride by Opie –  he’s riding so well. It just shows in these big races how important a draw can be.”

Richards said her previous start was about having her spot on for this race, ‘but blinkers went on, Opie came down and galloped her on Tuesday and was really happy’. I’m thrilled for John and Team Fortuna, he puts a lot into the industry and he has a loyal bunch of clients and owners here tonight – it’s a big buzz, and we’ll be out there (at the sales) tomorrow trying to find another one for Team Fortuna for next year.

Fellow co-Trainer Stephen Autridge said: “She’s a great little filly, with great owners, so really pleased. Nothing went right with her in the run last time and I said ‘forget she went around’, it was run for today and everything went wrong anyway, but [today] she got the right draw, the right run, and right jockey”.

Story written by Jeff Dore and John Galvin

ITS OUR SHOWTIME wins stylishly at Pukekohe

After trialling superbly at Cambridge in early January, Its Our Showtime (4 m Showcasing – Be Inspired, by Zabeel) resumed with an impressive victory in the $20,000 Mount Shop Rating 65 1200 metres on Saturday at Pukekohe, to win for the send time in her 7 race starts career.

An easy winner in May for the Fortuna Its Our Showtime Syndicate  she had been patiently handled since then by trainers Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards and it was a more furnished article that fronted recently at the trials on 10 January at Cambridge.

The resultant fourth placing at the trials, without rider Opie Bosson moving a muscle, behind three stakes performers was enough for her to start a $3.50 & $1.60 favourite on the tote ($3.20 & $1.35 fixed).

David Ellis, Te Akau principal, picked up the story on her purchase: “After the yearling sales that year (2014) I hadn’t bought enough horses and John Galvin wanted to syndicate another horse. I looked at fifteen horses that were for sale in the paddock and I rang John and said I’d seen a horse in Cambridge that was owned by James Chapman of Jamieson Park. She was out of a Zabeel mare. So John and I inspected the horse,  purchased her on the spot (subject to a Vet check), and John  syndicated her”.

Away well from a tricky draw to settle in fifth, Its Our Showtime was pushed three wide at the 800m but rider Cameron Lammas never panicked. He kept her balanced rounding the home turn, quickened on to lead at the 300m and after changing stride a furlong out she came clear to win easily. Under a substantial weight impost (58.5kgs), and resuming off 203 days, Its Our Showtime galloped to a very good time of 1:10.9, last 600m in 33.9, for the 1200 metres on Dead4 footing. Click HERE to see Race Video replay.

ITS OUR SHOWTIME winning for the 2nd time -Pukekohe 28th January

ITS OUR SHOWTIME winning for the 2nd time -Pukekohe 28th January – Click to enlarge – Picture courtesy of Race Images

“Obviously she’s a very talented mare and Steve and Jamie have been very patient with her,” said  Fortuna’s John Galvin “She’s had a couple of injury setbacks throughout her career, but she won her Maiden race by four lengths last autumn, was unlucky when beaten a nose at Ruakaka, and the team think quite a lot of her. They feel she can be right up there with the best of them, so we’ll take her along quietly and see where we finish up. She’s a lovely athletic mare, doesn’t carry a lot of condition, so each campaign needs to see her lightly raced . In the run today she was three wide at times, four wide as they turned, but kicked away strongly and withheld all the challengers. It was her first run back for over six months, so it was a nice result.”

ITS OUR SHOWTIME is raced by the Fortuna Its Our Showtime Syndicate, an ownership group of 33 individuals

EATONS GOLD makes it eight career wins in Singapore

EATONS GOLD showed his race rivals a clean pair of heels once turning for home in the Class 4 event over 1100 metres at Singapore’s Kranji racecourse, Sunday 15th January. Now an eight year old, who had his first Singapore start way back in July 2011 as a two year old, EATONS GOLD (Jet Spur-Road Ranger) has been a fabulous servant for his connections, starting 62 times for his eight wins and a myriad of minor placings and in excess of S$460,000 of earnings. Click HERE to watch race replay. Ridden by stable apprentice R Zawari, who rode two winners on the night, EATON capped off a highly successful weekend for Trainer, Mark Walker, who produced three winners on Sunday night to go with his two winners on Friday night.

Eatons Gold in action Kranji  Racecourse - 14th January 2017 - Click to enlarge

Eatons Gold in action Kranji Racecourse – 15th January 2017 – Click to enlarge

Purchased by David Ellis on behalf of Fortuna Syndications for NZ$75,000 at the 2010 Karaka yearling Sale, EATONS GOLD is raced by the Fortuna Eatons Gold Syndicate, an ownership group consisting of  21  individuals.

FORTUNA acquires DENMAN Colt 1st Day of Magic Millions Sale on Gold Coast

Fortuna’s Thoroughbred Selectors, David Ellis and Jamie Richards have selected a classy Yearling Colt for Fortuna by the Stallion DENMAN out of the Fastnet Rock Mare, LONDON REBEL. This mare is a 3/4 sister to the outstanding Hong Kong galloper Scintillation (12 wins -several at Listed Level and 4th placings in the Group One Hong Kong Sprint and the Group One Hong Kong Mile) and also a 3/4 sister to Shania Dane, (5 wins in Sydney, two at Group Two and one at Group Three) and a half sister to Risk Aversion (5 wins in Australia including one at Listed level). His Pedigree page is full of black type with a definite speed bias in the pedigree. DENMAN, a son of the Champion LONHRO was a nine time winner on the track himself including the Group One Golden Rose in Sydney.

I had told David and Jamie that I would like to buy a Colt that was physically correct, an early type and one who looked as if he had the physical attributes to be a runner as a 2yo, so that we could have a crack at the A$2m  Magic Millions 2yo event to be run on the Gold Coast on the 2nd Saturday of January 2018. Jamie called me about an hour before this horse came into the ring to say that they thought this horse met all of that criteria and would probably meet our budget criteria as well. Here is what he said to me after their successful purchase; “John, this is a really athletic type of horse, physically correct and who passed his Vet checks with flying colours. Of average height and an early foal (24th August), he looks to be a real running type and we are confident he can make a nice Two-Year-Old. His pedigree page is hard to fault with a lot of natural speed in the bloodlines; we are really happy to secure this horse to train for you and your owners.”

Denman-London Rebel Colt - Click to enlarge

Denman-London Rebel Colt – Click to enlarge

Click HERE to see a video clip of this lovely horse parading

The plan for this horse is to bring him back to NZ in the next few days, let him have two to three months in the paddock at Te Akau Stud, then break him and give him his first stable preparation with the aim of getting him to one of the first sets of trials in the new season commencing 1st August. Assessment at that time will then determine his ongoing racing plans, but the A$2m race on the Gold Coast 15th January 2018 is very much in our sights.

 Shares Available as follows  – 10% share – NZ$12,500; 5% share – NZ$6,250; 2.5% share – NZ $3,125; 1% share NZ$1250 – Ongoing monthly costs commencing 1st April 2017  of NZ$340 per 10% share, $170 per 5% share, $85 per 2.5% share and $34 per 1% share.

 Shares include Cost of Horse, GST, Promoter Fees, Magic Million Fee, Transportation to NZ, Insurance to 31st January 2018 and Syndicate Working Capital of over $8,000

Applications can only be made after Investors have perused and signed the NZ Thoroughbred Racing approved Disclosure Statement. This can be obtained from the Syndicate Promoter, Fortuna Ltd (Director John Galvin), by emailing HERE or calling John 021 921 460. Visit

Fortuna Ltd is an Authorised Syndicator under a Code of Practice administered by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Inc for regulating Thoroughbred Syndications. Details of the Offer are contained in the Disclosure Statement relating to the Offer


See Pedigree Below (click to enlarge)


Fortuna 3yo COLORADO PRINCE wins on debut


Story contributors Jeff Dore and John Galvin

Colorado Prince in action -Tauherenikau 2nd Jan 2017 -click to enlarge - Picture courtesy of Race Images

Colorado Prince in action -Tauherenikau 2nd Jan 2017 -click to enlarge – Picture courtesy of Race Images

A half-brother to stakes winning stable-mates Darci’s Dream and Windborne, both by Darci Brahma (Danehill), Colorado Prince  scored on debut in the B & B Contracting Maiden 3YO 1400 metres on 2 January at Tauherenikau.

Having produced a pleasing gallop to finish third when trialling over 1200 metres on 13 December at Te Aroha, Colorado Prince (3 g Alamosa – Sweet Dreams Baby, by Van Nistelrooy), presented in terrific order for trainers Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards and despite receiving no favours through the run he displayed some resounding attributes to score narrowly.

In the hands of talented rider Hayden Tinsley, Colorado Prince got his head up in the early shuffle for positions and ended up three wide without cover. Held together in fourth at the 600m, he was coaxed into second a furlong out and extended fully under persuasion when challenged near the line. Click HERE to see race result and Video replay

“He was good before the race, pretty relaxed about the whole experience and Hayden said that although a bit green he was pretty happy with how he found the line,” said Te Akau Racing Manager Brad Taylor.

Bred by Te Akau principal David Ellis & Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM, he is owned by the Fortuna Colorado Prince Syndicate, managed by John Galvin, who also had Darci’s Dream and Windborne under his Fortuna banner.

Darci’s Dream won the Canterbury Belle Stakes (Listed, 1200m) before finishing second to Platinum Witness in the 2014 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m), while her year younger sister Windborne won the Murdoch Newell Stakes as a two-year-old and also won the Canterbury Belle Stakes as a three-year-old.

“John Galvin bought the first two filly foals out of this mare and Colorado Prince was a really lovely strong yearling, and it was a good effort to win today,” Ellis said. “He was three wide and really showed a bit of ticker, and I was really pleased for John (Galvin) because the Fortuna team had some bad luck yesterday with Dame Margo Fonteyn being a late withdrawal from the Royal Stakes at Ellerslie – it looked a winnable race for her. John is a true sportsman and he understands that these sorts of things can happen with thoroughbreds. He runs a terrific ship at Fortuna and he’s great to train for, and I’m really thrilled that another horse with the DE brand won for him – that’s three from three.

On Good3 footing, Colorado Prince ran the 1400 metres in 1:25.7, paid $5.40 & $1.90 on the tote and $4.80 fixed.

“It was a really good win, especially after being caught wide, three deep without cover, and he stuck to the task really well,” co Trainer Jamie Richards said, “He’s a lovely big horse, but has taken a bit of making and can be quite green in his action. Across the top you could see him get a bit awkward, but then he found a good rhythm in the straight. Hayden (Tinsley) said that when he balanced up he just took a little while to find his action, but he really attacked the line strong. We think he has the makings of a horse that is going to continue to improve, his trials had been good and it’s great to have another winner for John Galvin and the Fortuna team.”

Fortuna Director John Galvin, who could not attend today’s Tauherenikau meeting was understandably very pleased for his charge, “Patience is a virtue at any time, but never more so in horse racing – and we have been particularly patient with this horse – it is now paying off – hats off to Steve (Autridge) and Jamie (Richards) for producing this horse to win on debut. We have a great crew of owners, many of whom were in the two half sisters and also two sets of new owners for whom this was their very first race day runner,” he said.

Colorado Prince was acquired by John Galvin at the 2015 Karaka Select Sale for $90,ooo and is raced by the Colorado Prince Syndicate, an ownership group of 29 individuals.

OUR RIVER DANCER leads all the way for his 5th career win

“He’s the toughest horse I have ever trained – he just won’t give in,” were the comments of Fortuna’s Malaysian based Trainer, Sharee Hamilton, after OUR RIVER DANCER’s all the way win in the Class 4, 13oo metre event on the Penang track Christmas Day.

Drawn barrier 9 of 1o runners, OUR RIVER DANCER, was quickly into stride and went to the lead as he usually does – setting a solid tempo in the hands of rider S SALEE, he was still leading turning for home but being pressured by race rival, TAFFETAS, who went up to him at the 200 metre mark and briefly headed the grey 6yo Gelding. Indeed, the commentator declared before the runners hit the line that TAFFETAS “was home”, but in his gritty indefatigable style, OUR RIVER DANCER, fought back and went to the line half a length in front of his challenger. Click HERE to see race replay Video.

Our River Dancer victorious  in Penang Christmas Day 2016

Our River Dancer victorious in Penang Christmas Day 2016

Hamilton, based in Malaysia since the mid 90’s, is an expat Kiwi, who served as assistant trainer to fellow Kiwi Trainer, John Sargent, during his very successful training stint in Malaysia. It was a family affair for Hamilton as her husband, S SALEE was the winning rider. Christmas Day racing was the last day of the Malaysian racing season with Hamilton finished in 2nd place on the Trainer’s premiership for 2016 season with 56 winners.

OUR RIVER DANCER, who boasts a stout European pedigree (Danehill Dancer – Distinctly – by Sadlers Wells) has now had five career wins, two in Singapore (trained by Mark Walker) and three in Malaysia. He was acquired by David Ellis on behalf of Fortuna Ltd at the 2012 Karaka Premier Sale for the sum of NZ$105,000 and is raced by a NZ based Syndicate of nineteen individuals.



Dame Margo Fonteyn does it again

The classy Fortuna 3yo Filly, DAME MARGO FONTEYN, proved her 1st December win in Maiden company at New Plymouth was no fluke, backing up in the Rating 65 1600 event at Matamata just 13 days later and saluted the judge again after winning in a very emphatic fashion. Drawn nicely at Barrier 3, she showed her customary gate speed in the hands of leading jockey, Matt Cameron, who held the rail nicely in the lead with another horse on her outside during the run. Maintaining a strong gallop as they turned, the Dame waltzed clear of the field, opening up a two length gap, but the swoopers were coming fast. However under a typical bustling ride by rider Cameron, she went to the line strongly, holding off the challengers nicely, winning by a neck on the line. Click HERE to see the  Video Replay

Dame Margo Fonteyn walking clear of the field Matamata 14th December 2016 - Click to enlarge

Dame Margo Fonteyn waltzing clear of the field Matamata 14th December 2016 – Click to enlarge. Picture courtesy of Race Images

Fortuna Director, John Galvin, expressed satisfaction with his charge’s run,“We have always had a lot of time for this girl, not many 3yo’s can win a Maiden race and then back up for another win in Rating 65 company against older horses just two weeks later – she exhibits a lot of class, is a genuine staying type and whatever she does as a 3yo, she will improve on that significantly as a 4yo and 5yo,” he said.

Bred by Sir Patrick Hogan and Sir Michael Fay, Dame Margo Fonteyn was acquired out of the Cambridge Stud draft by David Ellis on behalf of Fortuna at the 2015 Karaka premier Sale for $80,000

100 Not out – A Winning Partnership

Fortuna Syndications, managed by John Galvin, and Te Akau Racing, directed by David Ellis, celebrated their 100th success together when Dame Margo Fonteyn (High Chaparral) won on 1 December at New Plymouth. 


The combination, which share the love of thoroughbred racing, have experienced Group One wins, stallion success, many stakes’ victories, and most importantly given owners some enormous thrills.

“It’s been a great ongoing relationship and a pleasure to buy horses for John and the Fortuna owners,” Ellis said.

“John is a great man to have any dealings with. He’s upfront, loyal, works very hard for his syndicate members, and he’s also a lucky owner. He’s extremely well organised, has an excellent structure, and been successful in the commercial field of business in his own right,” he said. 

Most recently, Melody Belle (Commands), trained by Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards, followed her debut win with a third in the $100,000 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (Gr. 2, 1100m) on 3 December at Trentham.



Melody Belle winning at Ruakaka Oct 2016

“We had sixteen owners there on Saturday, from all over the country,” Galvin said.

“People flew down from Auckland, there were locals there as well, people that live in the Wellington region. The biggest kick I get is from the pleasure on these people’s faces. 

“Naturally I was disappointed that she didn’t win, because that’s what they’re there for – I’m a winner and want to see people win – but when I turned around to face the team that had come down to the birdcage, there wasn’t an unhappy face amongst them.   They were all so excited that they were there and participating in a big occasion and let’s face it, that’s what it’s all about,” he said. 

Both fillies (Dame Margo Fonteyn & Meldody Belle) were purchased by Ellis, for $80,000 and $57,500 respectively.



Dame Margo Fonteyn winning at New Plymouth December 2016

Galvin went on to explain the history of Fortuna, incorporated in 2007, and the relationship with Te Akau (est. 1981).

“On the 13 September 2003, Kapsdan (Kaapstad) won her first race and although not my first winner in racing it was my first trained by Te Akau, and when Dame Margo Fonteyn won that was the hundredth winner trained by Te Akau for either me, personally, with horses I’ve had shares in, or syndicates managed by me via Fortuna.

Galvin suggested the split was 23 and 77, illustrated by pictures he has on a wall.

“I think the split is twenty-three winners for me, being in the Mandalay Bay Syndicate, which raced Kapsdan, Lady Classique, Comical Ali, etc. I shared ownership of Darci Brahma and Saperavi in Te Akau Syndicates, plus seventy-seven Fortuna winners,” he said.

It was his success with horses that triggered Galvin to thinking he would like to involve as many people in racing at he could.

“So, David (Ellis) and I had a chat and he said ‘why don’t you become an authorised syndicator’”, Galvin said.

“I’d had a lot of experience in capital-raising in my business career, so I was familiar with the process of how to go about raising capital. And, obviously, with Te Akau having trained my winners, and being at the top of their game, with Mark (Walker) being Champion Trainer etc, it seemed a pretty logical move,” he said.

Galvin had looked at a model used by another syndicator that used three or four different trainers, which they still do, but after working things through he could see no real advantage and decided to go with the number one training team in New Zealand.

So to the sales they went, with the objective of buying ‘nicely bred horses at around average Premier Sale prices’.

“Buying these horses that have appealing pedigrees, at reasonable prices, means that there is a good take up from the market place for that type of horse,” Galvin said.

“It’s never missed a beat,” said Galvin, of the ten year relationship between Fortuna and Te Akau.

“There has never been an issue in terms of how things are managed. We rely on David (Ellis), Mark (Walker), and more recently Jamie (Richards) to select horses for us and we sit down before the sales and work out how many we want to buy and what we are looking for.  And, obviously you’re in the best hands when you’ve got a selection team like that.

“Jamie has bought a lot of skill to the table, as well, and I’m sure David would be the first to agree with that. He is multi skilled, has a good eye, he’s a good trainer, good with the people, and he’s a bloody hard worker.”

Five years ago saw a degree of change when Mark Walker set up stables for Te Akau in Singapore.

“It was huge for us (Fortuna) with the other opportunities it presented,” Galvin said.

“It’s been pretty dynamic and also opened the doors to a few international clients. 

“It meant we could buy horses specifically to race in Singapore. It meant we could send horses to Singapore that looked as though they would only be average here (NZ), yet be able to return good prize money to the clients even though they didn’t reach any dizzy heights in Singapore.


Ready Fortune winning at Kranji – Singapore

“We’ve had several over there: Ready Fortune is one that comes to mind, as a horse that has won four races and hasn’t won above Class 5 but still won about $180,000 in his career which is probably seven or eight times what he could have won here winning the same number of races.  Of course, we have to mention Eatons Gold, now an eight year old, he has been in Singapore since a 2yo, and while he is no champion, he is just a solid workman like type horse who never runs a bad race; has won seven times, had many minor placings and over $400k in prizemoney.”

EATONS GOLD wins for 7th time in Singapore 27th March 2016. Click to enlarge

EATONS GOLD wins for 7th time in Singapore 27th March 2016. Click to enlarge

There have been plenty of fond memories for Fortuna Syndications and Galvin had an opportunity to reflect on a few.

“Well, obviously you can’t go past Tell A Tale,” said Galvin, a son of Tale of the Cat (Storm Cat) purchased by Ellis at the Magic Millions Sale on the Gold Coast for A$125,000.


Tell A Tale winning his first race Hawera Jan 2008 -Troy Harris aboard

“He was a fabulous racehorse, won three Guineas’ races, including the million dollar race at Riccarton, ran third in a $2.2 million NZ Derby, and second in a $1.3 million Singapore Gold Cup. W
hile he didn’t win a weight-for-age race as a four-year-old, he was consistently in the money: Coupland Stakes, Air New Zealand Stakes, Darci Brahma International Stakes etc.

“We also had a bit of time for Rio Fortune, who won the Castletown Stakes as a two-year-old, the Mr Tiz at three, and won a Class 3 race in Singapore, before going unsound.  And he was probably a horse that was similar in class to the other good Te Akau horse over there at the time, Flying Fulton who won over a million in prize money, and he beat Flying Fulton in one race before he was relegated from first after a Stewards’ inquiry.


Rio Fortune winning in Singapore

“Zabene always stands out in our memory, because we bought him as an older horse – the first time we’d done that – and set him to win the New Zealand Cup.   He won the Metropolitan Trophy the week before and then we had a Heavy10 track on New Zealand Cup Day and had to late scratch. 

“And more recently the two Darci Brahma sisters, Darci’s Dream and Windborne, which were both stakes winners that David selected and gave the owners many occasions to be thrilled about their performances,” he said.

DARCI'S DREAM Tuapo R C 20-8-2014

Darci’s Dream winning at Taupo

Galvin intimated that the vision for the future of Fortuna and Te Akau has probably changed over the past three to four years.

“We have a focus on buying more fillies, like Darci’s Dream and Windborne, who since racing have been sold for very good six figure sums,” Galvin said.

“So that has been a distinct change of strategy for us, as up to four or five years ago Fortuna had only bought a couple of fillies.


Windborne winning the (Listed) Canterbury Belle Stakes with rider Rosie Myers grinning ear to ear.

“In the stable at the moment, we have Its Our Showtime, out of a Zabeel mare, who’s only won one race but shows promise. We have Leonessa, by Pour Moi out of Lioness, and unraced as yet but if she was able to perform then, unquestionably, she would have significant broodmare value.

“And with Dame Margo Fonteyn and Melody Belle, who have been recent winners, it’s still all in front of them, but you can see the pattern there.

“Another significant change we made this year was to put a syndicate together to take a decent share in one of David’s well bred colts, that could become a stallion proposition,” he said.

“So there have been some definite changes,” said Galvin, with regards ongoing plans for Fortuna.

“More focus on fillies, buying male horse to go to Singapore, although we have sent a couple of fillies as well, and taking shares in high quality colts that David buys to race under the Te Akau banner.  Racing geldings in New Zealand, unless they’re really top notch geldings, is a bit of waste of time, given the prize money. Whereas the goal with the fillies is to win black type races in New Zealand, so that they have residual value,” he said.

As a result of the changing strategy, Galvin said that he is seeing a lot more reinvestment from clients. 

“We have a lot of clients that buy small shares, some in up to thirteen or fourteen horses,” he said.

Galvin is ably assisted in the administrative side of the business by his wife, Jessica. “Jessica does a great job with the admin and financial side of our (27) current syndicates and is also proving to be a bit of a whiz with social media and our frequent YouTube updates,” he said.

Jessica is also Mother to the couple’s three children: James (6), Jasmine (4), and 18-month old Joshua.

“They’re all great kids and we’re having a great life together, and we all love the horses,” Galvin said.


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